Steelers vs. Cardinals Betting Predictions & Odds: The Matchup That Will Define This Game

Steelers vs. Cardinals Betting Predictions & Odds: The Matchup That Will Define This Game article feature image

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James Washington

  • Our experts preview the Week 14 NFL matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals.
  • Find their analysis of the betting odds below, complete with a comparison to Sean Koerner's projected spread.

Steelers at Cardinals Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Steelers -2.5
  • Over/Under: 43.5
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Odds as of Thursday evening and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

The Pittsburgh Steelers sit on the edge of the AFC playoff picture after regaining the sixth spot with a win over Cleveland last week. The Arizona Cardinals, meanwhile, have officially been eliminated from playoff contention.

But is Steelers -2.5 really a safe (and valuable) bet?

Our experts preview this matchup, complete with a comparison to Sean Koerner’s projected odds.

Steelers-Cardinals Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Cardinals

The most noteworthy player on the Cardinals’ injury report is offensive lineman J.R Sweezy, who is dealing with an illness. But if he returns to practice on Thursday or Friday, I’d expect him to play. He grades out as their second-best pass-blocking lineman per Pro Football Focus.

The Steelers, meanwhile, are a disaster right now.

James Conner (shoulder) already ruled himself out and JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) is reportedly unlikely to play, leaving their offense without two of its best pieces. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Steelers vs. Cardinals In the Trenches

The Steelers defensive line should really dominate the line of scrimmage all game long.

The Cardinals offensive line has been an area of weakness, ranking 26th in adjusted sack rate and 28th in the NFL with 3.5 sacks allowed per game — not ideal against a Steelers defense that averages 3.6 sacks per game (third in league) and ranks second overall in adjusted sack rate.

And as you might expect with a rookie quarterback, Kyler Murray hasn’t been great when under pressure. First of all, he’s been sacked at a 28.2% rate while under pressure, the highest percentage among the 30 quarterbacks with at least 225 drop backs this season. He’s also completing only 43% of his passes (25th) with three touchdowns and three picks when under pressure. Sack numbers are not all on the offensive line as the quarterback also has a major say.

Expect the Steelers (one of the NFL’s best when it comes to converting pressure into sacks) to put the Cardinals (one of the worst offenses in that same category) behind the sticks to kill a few key drives. Keep in mind that from the perspective of Football Outsiders’ DOVA, the Steelers are now the only team in the NFL to rank in the top five in both rush and pass defense.

And on the other side of the ball, Steelers offensive tackles are playing at a high enough level to contain the pass rush of Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs off the edge. Overall, the Pitt offensive line ranks third in adjusted sack rate.

Devlin Hodges should have much more time to work in the pocket on Sunday. Now, the question is can Mike Tomlin actually get his team motivated for a road game against a sub .500 team — something he’s failed to do consistently throughout his career? That remains to be seen, but history suggests the Cardinals may be a live dog after the Steelers’ emotional win last week when they exacted revenge against Cleveland to take over the sixth spot in the AFC playoff picture.

Just take a look at these splits:

  • Tomlin as a road favorite against a sub .500 team: 14-27-1 (34.7%) against the spread for a 29.7% ROI — He’s failing to cover by more than a field goal per game in this spot, making him the least profitable coach among 99 active or former coaches in this situation since 2003.
  • Tomlin as an underdog: 34-18-2 (65.3%) ATS with a 26.7% ROI, covering by almost a field goal per game on average. The only active coach more profitable as an underdog than Tomlin is Sean Payton. Tomlin is also 9-3-2 ATS as a home underdog.

That’s 34.7% vs. 65.3% — exact percentage opposites based on the two described situations. With a date with Buffalo on deck, it wouldn’t shock me to see Pitt come out flat, but the advantage in the trenches could make up for an uninspired and unprepared effort. Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Steelers -1.5
  • Projected Total: 44

These two teams have been going in opposite directions with the Steelers winning six of their last seven and the Cardinals losing five straight. I’m actually surprised we aren’t seeing more action — 58% of tickets and 71% of money — on the Steelers here (see live public betting data here), especially with how badly the Cardinals lost to the Rams last week.

Pittsburgh should be a slight favorite here, but reaching the key number of -3 on the road may be a bit too high. In fact, it appears sharper books have been meeting resistance anytime the line gets up to -3, effectively having to bring it back down to -2.5. While softer books seem much more comfortable offering Steelers -3 to attract at least some Arizona action, Cardinals +3 is only a lean until we get more clarity on Smith-Schuster’s and Conner’s availability.  — Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Our staff doesn’t see value on this game right now, but that could change as lines move, so download our app to follow specific experts and action around this game.

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