New England Patriots-Pittsburgh Steelers Against the Spread

Senior analyst Larry Hartstein breaks down this AFC matchup from a betting angle and shares his recommendation.

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-7, O/U 47), Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET

This was supposed to be a showdown for AFC supremacy. Instead it looks like another lopsided Patriots win -- at least to the betting public.

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Sun 10/23 4:25 PM EDT
New England -325 O/U 49.5
Pittsburgh +265 +7
C
B
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PIT
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With Ben Roethlisberger recovering from knee surgery, the Steelers will put their 3-0 home record on the line behind backup Landry Jones. He came off the bench to beat Arizona 25-13 a year ago but since then he's 26 of 49 for 356 yards with one TD, five INTs and a 43.8 passer rating.

Pittsburgh also be without defensive end Cameron Heyward (17 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 3 sacks, fumble recovery).

New England's offensive juggernaut is clicking as Tom Brady has thrown for 782 yards and six TDs -- with no turnovers -- in his two starts. He could have another field day; Pittsburgh mustered two QB hits on 32 pass attempts in last week's 30-15 loss at Miami.

The Pats will focus most of their defensive attention on Le'Veon Bell (5.5 ypc). He needs a monster game after not scoring a touchdown in his first three games back from suspension.

LINE MOVEMENT

Most books opened at Pats -7 and haven't moved, but a few opened higher. If you like Pittsburgh as a gritty home dog, you can easily find 7.5s by shopping around.

An astounding 89 percent of the bets were on New England as of early Friday, per SportsInsights.

The total opened at 46 and has climbed one point.

LAST WEEK

Closing as a 7-point favorite at Miami, Pittsburgh lost Big Ben and then its second straight road game in lopsided fashion, 30-15, and fell to 4-2 ATS. The Under improved to 4-2 in Steelers' games.

New England (-7.5) started slowly but rolled past Cincinnati, 35-17, for its fifth cover in six games. It was the Pats' second Over this year.

TRENDS

The Pats are 10-4 ATS in the last 14 meetings, including 6-2 ATS in their last eight visits to Pittsburgh. The Over is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings.

Pittsburgh is 5-1 ATS in its past six home games and 14-5-2 ATS in its last 21 vs. winning teams.

SELECTION

I've released an official play on this game, and so has the Sports Cheetah, Vegas handicapper Preston Johsnon. Get all SportsLine expert picks on Pats-Steelers here.

A former lead writer for Covers and The Linemakers, Larry combines a vast network of Vegas and offshore sources with an analytical approach he honed during his years working for Pro Football Focus. Larry specializes in the NFL. In 2015 he went 35-25-2 (58 percent) on NFL game picks, 3-1 on season win total plays and 4-1 on Super Bowl props. Larry correctly predicted Joe Philbin would be the first NFL coach fired -- at 15/1 odds -- and even nailed the week he'd be dismissed.