Patriots vs. Steelers Betting Odds & Angles: Will Brady Start Hot?
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers at Patriots Betting Odds
- Odds: Patriots -5.5
- Total: 49
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: NBC
All odds above are as of Sunday afternoon and via PointsBet.
The first Sunday Night Football game of the season features two very public teams quarterbacked by future Hall of Famers. What better way to end the first full-day marathon of regular-season NFL action?
Our experts break down this showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots from every angle, offering their picks for the latest edition of Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger.
Steelers-Patriots Injury Report
Both teams appeared healthy for this game, until Patriots starting OLB Kyle Van Noy got scratched 90 minutes before kick.
One other injury of note is Demaryius Thomas (hamstring), who just recently signed a one-year contract with the Patriots a few days ago. However, he’s a low-floor fantasy option working behind Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon, along with fighting for No. 3 duties with Phillip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Patriots -6
- Projected Total: 51.5
This total has been bet down from 51.5 to 49, but I actually agree with the opening number.
The Patriots looked like they were going to head into 2019 pretty thin at wide receiver, but were able to get Gordon reinstated in time to suit up Week 1.
Since this is a matchup between two public teams in the first Sunday Night Football game of the season, I have zero doubt this number will creep back up to 51 or higher, so the time to nibble on the over would be now. — Sean Koerner
Patriots’ Defensive Scheme vs. Antonio Brown-Less Steelers Receiving Corps
Big Ben and the Steelers escaped with a 17-10 win in Week 15 last season, but sans AB, they have their work cut out for the against a Patriots defense that did a great job shutting down top WRs last season:
- Adam Thielen: 10-5-28-1 (season average: 9.6-7.1-86-0.6)
- Stefon Diggs: 5-5-49-0 (9.9-6.8-68-0.6)
- Antonio Brown: 7-4-49-1 (11.2-6.9-87-1.0)
- JuJu Smith-Schuster: 10-4-40-0 (10.4-6.9-89-0.4)
- Tyreek Hill: 3-1-42-0 (8.5-5.3-89-0.7)
- Travis Kelce: 5-3-23-1 (9.2-6.3-82-0.6)
Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty and JC Jackson ranked No. 1, 8 and 32 respectively in Pro Football Focus’ corner cover grades, but the real mismatch is Bill Belichick’s brain vs. that of any other human being on the planet.
The Pats held a Steelers team that ranked fourth with 26.8 points per game to just third-lowest point total of the season, and with the Steelers defense also improving, I’m expecting a lower-scoring game than you might expect given the big names at QB. — Chris Raybon
Stuckey: Steelers +6; Under 49
Brady and Belichick have dominated Roethlisberger and Tomlin for years. Look no further than Brady’s 7-2 record against Tomlin (24 touchdowns and two interceptions). And in Foxboro? Brady is even more dominant at 5-0 with 18 TDs to zero INTs and a completion percentage above 70%.
One reason was the Steelers’ zone scheme, which Brady could pick apart in his sleep. For the most part, you need to play man and pressure Brady to have a shot at slowing him down.
Well, that’s exactly what the Steelers have started to do. They were actually the third-heaviest man team in the league last season! That’s one reason they were able to finally beat Brady and the Pats, 17-10, late last season. And the season prior, the Steelers actually should’ve won if not for the Jesse James “fumble.”
I’m not a big trend player, but there are a handful I always keep in mind. One involves Tomlin, who has some of the most glaring road results: The Steelers have been one of the most profitable NFL teams as road underdogs, especially against teams better than .500.
This is a classic “Tomlin spot.”
Tomlin is 22-13 against the spread as a road underdog during his tenure in the Steel City for a gaudy 24.3% Return On Investment, making him fourth-best of 118 coaches as a road underdog since 2003 — and the third-most profitable among active coaches behind only Andy Reid and Belichick.
And as a road underdog against teams better than .500, he’s 14-5 ATS, making him the most profitable among 115 coaches since 2003. Even more impressive, he’s 13-6 straight-up on the moneyline for a silly 71.4% ROI.
On the flip side, Tomlin is 13-27 ATS (-32.8% ROI) as a road favorite against teams worse than .500. That’s dead last among 97 coaches since 2005. He’s also dead last on the ML at 23-18 -22.8% ROI. That means Tomlin has a higher winning percentage on the road against winning teams than he does losing teams.
So, what does it mean?
Well, I don’t regard Tomlin as the best Xs and Os coach, but he’s an excellent motivator and can fire up a locker room with the “us against the world” mantra.
The Steelers, now rid of Brown and Le’Veon Bell, should come in as fired up and unified as they’ve been in quite some time. And they have the scheme to compete and generate pressure against Brady. (They were No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate last season and had more sacks than any team the past two years.)
It also doesn’t hurt that the Patriots lost center David Andrews for the season and are shorthanded at tight end with Rob Gronkowski’s departure and the suspensions of Ben Watson and Lance Kendricks. The Steelers have struggled to cover TEs in recent years, so that will be a big help.
Finally, I expect the Steelers to run the ball a ton, which they had a lot of success doing in that win last season. The Patriots have one of the NFL’s best secondaries that features three plus corners who can match up and play effective man (they play more man than any team) on the Steelers receivers.
I think this game is close throughout and lower scoring than most think.