Ben Roethlisberger under center.

Can the Pittsburgh Steelers cash as a road favorite on Monday Night Football? Photo by SteelCityHobbies (Flickr)

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers will visit the New York Giants for the first Monday Night Football game of the season.
  • The Steelers led the NFL in takeaways and quarterback sacks last season.
  • Which side or total is the best bet for Monday’s game?

The Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants are set meet for the first Monday Night Football of 2020. They’ll get the party started for the initial double-header when they square off at 7:15 PM ET at MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. We’re looking at a warm day with temperatures in the mid 70’s.

Taking a look at the spread, moneyline and total for this contest, what’s the best bet for this showdown?

Steelers vs Giants Odds

Player Moneyline Odds Spread Total at FanDuel
Pittsburgh Steelers -250 -5.5 (-115) Over 45.5 (-115)
New York Giants +205 +5.5 (-105) Under 45.5 (-105)

Odds as of September 13th

Action Has Been Steady On Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers opened up as a 3.5-point favorite but the line has steadily climbed to where it sits now, which is 5.5. The total opened at 47.5 and has trickled down to 45.5, so it seems like bettors like the Steelers for this contest. The Steelers vs Giants money percentage seems to back that up.

Big Ben Is Back

The Steelers offense ranked second in the NFL in 2018 but fell all the way down to 31st (second-worst) last season. Much of that had to do with the departures of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, but the more significant issue was the loss of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben was injured in Week 2 and the Steelers struggled mightily with Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges under center.

What’s interesting about the Steelers is that they had been an offense-oriented team with a defense that lagged behind, but that script flipped in 2019. The Steelers ended up leading the league in takeaways and sacks, and finishing sixth in points-per-game allowed.

If the Steelers offense is, in fact, more effective now that Big Ben is back and the defense can maintain its status as one of the elite units, the Steelers should again be a playoff contender. The good news is the Steelers start off with a defense that ranked 30th in points per game allowed last season and might not be markedly improved.

How Much Have The Giants Developed?

As we enter Year 2 of the Daniel Jones era in New York, all eyes are on the young quarterback to see how much he’s developed. He’s surrounded by a young cast and typically, we would have seen some inklings from preseason and mini camps but without that, we’ll have to wait until Week 1 to find out.

The Giants offense was brutal last season, averaging just 338.5 yards per game, which ranked them 23rd in the NFL. The parts are in place to be better, though, as Jones has weapons like Sterling Shepard, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Golden Tate around him. If Jones takes a step forward in his development, this could be an effective offense.

What’s The Best Bet?

We’re going to find out very quickly just how much the Giants have developed – if at all. This is a team that finished with the third-most giveaways last season and is facing a defense that led the league in takeaways. Jones was also sacked 38 times in 13 games and he’s going up against a team that had more sacks than anyone else last season.

The key to this game will be for the Giants to get their ground game going but it’s unclear if their offensive line has improved. They added first-round pick Andrew Thomas to the front five but if this unit can’t protect Jones any better and can’t open up running lanes for Saquon Barkley, this game could get ugly.

That’s probably how this showdown will go, though, as the Steelers have a very stout front seven. They’ll cut off Barkley early, put the game on Jones’ shoulders and he won’t be able to pick apart what has now become one of the better defenses in the NFL. Look for the Steelers to win and cover.

Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5 (-115)

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