In a critical AFC matchup in Week 11, the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) will face the Los Angeles Chargers (5-4) on Sunday Night Football. NFL betting lines favor the home team.
Which team do you think can cover the spread in the Steelers at Chargers game?
Let’s find out.
Steelers at Chargers in Week 11
Last week, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sat out at home versus the Detroit Lions. (He’d tested positive for COVID-19.) The game ended as a tie.
On Tuesday, head coach Mike Tomlin said it was too early to tell if Roethlisberger would be available for Sunday’s game. Linebacker T.J. Watt, who suffered injuries in the ugly tie against the Lions, might also be out.
So, that leaves the Chargers as a -6.5 home favorite in Week 11.
This week, Los Angeles has two defensive players (Joey Bosa and Jerry Tillery) on the COVID-19 list, too, although they’re hopeful that Bosa can return Saturday night and play Sunday. The Chargers remain one game behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
In the AFC North (another highly competitive division), the Steelers are in second place behind the Baltimore Ravens.
After their home loss last week to the Minnesota Vikings, the Chargers fell four spots in the AFC playoff picture. It was their third defeat out of their previous four matchups.
Pittsburgh rose one spot even after a tie last week. So, there are significant playoff implications for the Steelers at Chargers.
Which Team Can Cover the Spread?
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has looked solid this season. He has 2,545 passing yards, with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Chargers have the eighth-best passing attack based on total yards.
The Chargers started the season 4-1 but have since gone 1-3. They are now 2-3 ATS at home.
Pittsburgh is an abysmal 0-3 ATS as the away team. Does that mean the Chargers have the best chance to cover the spread?
After nine games, the Chargers have averaged about 24 points per matchup. However, their defense has given up slightly more than that. In comparison, the Steelers have averaged just under 20 points per game. Pittsburgh’s greatest strength is its defense, which gives up the eighth-fewest points (20.6/game).
This line is tough and could come down to individual breakout performances.
Which Player Has the Best Odds to Do Well?
It might come down to how well either quarterback performs on Sunday night. Without Roethlisberger last week, the Steelers couldn’t even beat the Lions.
Against Minnesota, Herbert went 20-for-34, throwing for 195 yards with one touchdown pass and an interception. However, the Vikings ran the ball very well during their 27-20 victory against the Chargers.
So, the Steelers might cover the spread if they can successfully lean on running back Najee Harris. The Chargers are the worst in the NFL at stopping the run.
Last week against the Lions, Harris carried the ball 26 times for 105 yards, but he couldn’t score.
This week, the running game could be the difference for the Steelers at Chargers matchup, especially if Roethlisberger doesn’t play.
On the other side of the ball, the Steelers defense has given up the sixth-fewest passing yards in the NFL. As a result, points could come at a premium for the Chargers.
A Tough Test for Both Teams
The Steelers haven’t had this tough of a test on the road since Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers thew for 248 yards and two scores in that matchup.
The Steelers lost to the Packers, 27-17.
I believe that this game could see a similar result. If Herbert can throw for more than 250 yards, the Chargers have a great chance of winning this game.
But don’t sleep on the Steelers on the road. Harris could have a breakout game against a lackluster Chargers run defense.
It’s going to be close.
What do you think? Which team in the Steelers at Chargers matchup has the best chance to cover the spread? Sign up for an account with BetMGM’s Pennsylvania sports betting site to place your bets on this game and all of this season’s NFL action.