Today's Free Picks for
Regular Season Win Total Wager
Posted September 7, 2021 before Week 1
Pittsburgh u8½ wins -120
No team in the NFL has more Lombardi trophies in their cabinet than the Pittsburgh Steelers. For decades, they have been one of the class organizations in this league and they command a loyal following from coast to coast to coast. With that loyalty and success comes market credibility, which can lead to inflated and unwarranted expectations.
Oddsmakers have posted a season win total of 8½ for the Steelers, depending on where you shop and at first glance, that might look like a very attainable goal. It might be tempting to trust that Pittsburgh will be at full throttle with Ben Roethlisberger back on board and highly touted rookie runner Najee Harris in the fold. Harris is a first-round draft pick and is expected to take the lead role in a ground game that has traditionally carried a heavy workload. Harris has much hyper in fantasy circles as well, which cannot be ignored. Harris has seen his average draft position steadily rise leading up to this season. The point is, dude's stock is high. We've read much on the Steelers potential this offseason and more often than not, the narrative is, this year will be different, with Harris being named as the X-factor. That's all nice on paper, but are we to believe that the Steelers’ running backs were to blame for the offense's impotence in 2020?
Roethlisberger was mediocre, at best, throwing for just 3,803 yards (16th), while the offense as a whole was good for a paltry 347.5 yards per game (22nd). As with just about every offense in football, success or failure usually depends on the underappreciated offensive linemen. For the Steelers, that's where the foundation of this fade lies. Pittsburgh has been pegged to have one of the weaker units up front in 2021. This group is a motley crew that is anchored by a rookie fourth-round pick in Dan Moore Jr. at left tackle. Moore Jr. has created some hype for himself in the preseason, but forgive us if we cannot get excited about him blocking backups. When the Ravens have their ears pinned back and the man you're protecting is the broken, immobile franchise quarterback, then we can talk about finding a draft day steal. Let's consider the worst possible scenario, in that Roethlisberger gets smashed and forced to the sidelines. Do you know who the Steelers have at QB2? Captain Stripclub himself, Dwayne Haskins who has somehow failed upward and is now just a big hit away from being the starting quarterback of the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers. Take that Riverboat Ron.
We cannot discuss the Steelers without discussing their coach, Mike Tomlin. Every year, Tomlin breaks mini-camp with a talk that features one of his more popular catchphrases: “Don’t be that guy.” “Don’t sexually assault people unless you’re our franchise quarterback.”
This year “don’t be that guy” has a slightly altered meaning. Players have been getting an earful from Tomlin since reporting to training camp about not being that guy to bring the coronavirus to the Steelers. Look, we’re not going to go into some political rant here. The point is that Mike Tomlin is a meathead in highly specific ways and will never win the Steelers a game because of his acute decisions. However, in a good year, he’ll cost the Steelers two games. In a bad year, he’ll cost them four games.
As for Big Ben, well, the only thing he’s going to lead the league in is threatening to retire once more. It’s going to be fun to watch the least charming man in the world get hurt again, blame it on his line, fund more police attack dogs, and then do it all over again the following week. Ben is done while the Steelers are the last remaining NFL team to operate like a clock repair shop from 1952.
We will move on from the players that will suit up for the Steelers in 2021 and look at a schedule that even the best teams in this league would cock an eye at. For Pittsburgh to reach nine wins and have us rip up this ticket, it is going to need a lot of help. The first six weeks of the Steelers' schedule plays out like this. At Buffalo, Vegas, Cincinnati, at Green Bay, Denver, Seattle. How many wins do you see there? At best, maybe two? If everything goes perfect, three? 0-6 is not out of the question and neither is 1-5. After the bye, the Steelers have 11 more games that will feature the Ravens (2x), Browns (2x), Chargers, Titans and Chiefs. That could potentially be six or seven more losses and five for sure. Games against the Bears, Lions, Vikings and Bengals may look winnable today, but if the Steelers' season goes south early, they are going to be much less likely to dig themselves out of that hole. While we are not ones for bold predictions, the likelihood of the Steelers picking in the top five in 2022 is far greater than their chances to go over this season win total. They are a football team made almost entirely of muscle memory.
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Pittsburgh u8½ -120 (Risking 2.4 units - To Win: 2.00)