NFL Week 1 Betting – Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

Tom Brady is back for another season leading the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, and as long as he’s at the helm the Pats are a favorite to win it all again.  Brady won’t have his favorite target to throw to now that Rob Gronkowski has retired, and there are questions surrounding the Pats’ pass-catchers. But this is New England we’re talking about, a team that’s won 10 straight AFC East titles, 10 or more games in 16 straight seasons, and three Super Bowls in the last five years. The Pats will look to make it four straight home wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers when the teams collide in Foxboro on Sunday Night Football.  *Note: This is not an official Gambling911 pick

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Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

Date and Time: Sunday, September 8, 2019, 8:20 p.m. ET

Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA

Opening NFL Odds: New England -6, O/U 51.5

Steelers at Patriots TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

The Pats are a big public play getting over 70 percent of the early action. They opened -6 and the line has seen very little movement dropping to its current -5.5. It could be that sharps are waiting a little longer before throwing down, but it looks like oddsmakers nailed this line. There are unknowns entering a new season and while both teams are favorites in the AFC they have some concerns. The Pats need a few pass catchers to step up and support Brady while the Steelers are looking to replace the lost production of Antonio Brown. The total opened at 51.5 and has steadily declined since hitting the board. With a majority of public money on the under, the total currently sits at 49.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger won’t miss Brown, but he will miss the numbers AB amassed during his time with the club. It’s clear the Steelers locker room will be a much happier place now that the venomous receiver has taken his schtick to the Raiders. But can someone emerge opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster to give Big Ben enough targets? JuJu was the top threat last year even though he wasn’t the No. 1 receiver, posting team-highs of 111 receptions and 1,426 yards. He’ll be marked more closely by opposing defenses this year.

That gives players like Donte Moncrief and Ryan Switzer a chance to catch a lot of balls since Roethlisberger won’t be shy about putting it in the air. Big Ben topped the NFL in completions, attempts and yards last year while tossing 34 touchdown passes. One drawback to all the attempts was the increased chance of disaster. Roethlisberger was intercepted a league-high 16 times.

Running the football effectively is a good way to keep Brady off the field. James Conner amassed 973 yards in 13 games and Jaylen Samuels had a monster game against the Pats last season, scooting for 142 yards on 19 carries in the Steelers 17-10 victory. The D was strong in that game and will look to harass Brady with a group that tied for the league-lead in sacks last year. The unit is faster this season, but it takes more than speed to outwit Brady.

New England Patriots

There are a number of new faces on the Patriots this year, but the goal remains the same. And as long as Brady is leading the offense, the Pats are a threat. The retirement of Gronk was huge, as was the loss of first-round pick N’Keal Harry to injury. But the most impactful absence will be that of center David Andrews, who is out indefinitely with blood clots in his lungs. The Pats have been down this road before with players coming and going, and they’ve been at or near the top of the AFC despite the turnover in personnel. That’s because the duo of Brady and Bill Belichick is the best in the business.

Protecting home field has been part of New England’s success. Over the least three seasons, which resulted in three Super Bowl appearances and two world titles, and including playoffs the Pats are 25-4 straight up and 21-8 against the line. They were a perfect 9-0 SU at Gillette Stadium last season and 7-2 ATS.

Without their leader on the offensive line, the Pats might have problems establishing the ground game against a team that ranked sixth against the rush last year. That will give Brady more opportunities to flourish through the air and a benefactor is Josh Gordon, who snared 40 balls before leaving the squad last season. Also, look for Sony Michel and James White to have big receiving games out of the backfield.

Bet Steelers at Patriots at

The one thing about the Pats under Brady is their ability to adapt, be it to their personnel or whatever opponents throw at them. The Steelers feel this is a winnable game with a defense that has the potential to be among the league’s best. But beating Brady at home is hard to do. I like the Steelers to cover the line, but as we’ve seen time after time over the last 18 years, Brady comes up big on the big stage. It’s only Week 1, but Sunday night is a big stage.

NFL Score Prediction: New England 24, Pittsburgh 20

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