The Pittsburgh Steelers entered the 2021 NFL season with some of the biggest question marks of any team in the league. There are doubts about the team, such as how Ben Roethlisberger will perform in what many think is his last year.
With that in mind, the Steelers are still one of the most respected organizations in the league. The team has made some moves in the offseason to fix some of their issues. So, how does this affect their NFL betting odds?
Here are three predictions for the rest of the 2021 season.
1. Expect Low Scoring Games
In the 2020 season, the Steelers’ defense was elite, only allowing 19.5 points per game in the regular season. That was the third-fewest points per game in the league.
This year, the Steelers’ defense should be as dominant, if not more so.
T.J. Watt might be the most dominant defensive player in the league. After signing a $112 million dollar contract, Watt is now the highest-paid defensive player in the league. In Week 1, he showed that he’s worth every penny, with 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 5 hits on the quarterback.
After losing the Defensive Player of the Year award to Aaron Donald, Watt could feel like he has something to prove this year, making him more dangerous.
The problem for offenses is that they can’t over-commit to Watt because of the talent surrounding him. Newly signed Melvin Ingram, alongside Alex Highsmith, will punish any team that overlooks them.
Cameron Heyward and Tyson Alualu on the defensive line make it possible for the Steelers to only rush four players in passing downs and still put pressure on the offense. They can also blitz and force a rushed decision. On defense, Pittsburgh’s flexibility makes them unpredictable.
Even against elite offenses, it would be unwise to bet against their defense.
2. Big Ben, Big Concerns
There were concerns at the end of last season that Ben Roethlisberger’s best days were behind him.
The good news for Big Ben is that he has excellent wide receivers to throw the ball to. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and company can pick apart defenses and bring down contested throws consistently.
Drafting Najee Harris could help the running game later in the season, but it will take a while for them to figure out the best way to use the rookie back.
The biggest question mark for Pittsburgh is the offensive line. In Week 1, the Steelers had four new starters on the line. They showed some promise, but other moments showed their inexperience. Big Ben was sacked twice and hit four times in the game.
Expect the Steelers to compete in low-scoring games where the offense focuses on controlling the tempo. The offensive line should improve over the course of the season, but for now, don’t expect Pittsburgh to compete in many shootouts.
3. Play it Safe When Making ATS Bets
The Steelers have not been under .500 since the 2003 season. Pittsburgh is in a tough spot because of an aging quarterback and young offensive line, but their defense should keep them in most games.
Mike Tomlin is one of the most respected coaches in the NFL, but can he keep Pittsburgh in playoff contention?
Because of their style of play, it’s difficult to predict what their record will be against the spread. In my opinion, any ATS line that’s more than +/- 6 is a red flag. It’s safer to assume that they will be in close contests this year.
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Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021, are you ready to place your bets on where you think they’ll finish for the year?
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