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Betting the Black & Gold Week 1: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots

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The Steelers look to prevent the Patriots from covering the spread in Foxboro on Thursday night.

Without Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant, the Steelers may rely heavily on Markus Wheaton against the Patriots.
Without Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant, the Steelers may rely heavily on Markus Wheaton against the Patriots.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers will begin the 2015 season on the road as 7-point underdogs against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The line moved from -2.5 to -6.5 when it was announced that reigning Super Bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady had won his appeal to remove a four-game suspension issued by the NFL for his alleged role in the Deflategate scandal. As money trickled in on the Pats in the days leading up to Thursday, the line has settled at -7 at most sportsbooks.

Money Line

Steelers +255 ($10.00 wins $25.50)

Patriots -310 ($10.00 wins $3.22)

While I believe the Patriots will win the game, it’s far from a sure thing. If you’re betting the money line, take the Steelers at +255. There’s just not a lot of value in taking the Pats, whose offense will be without starting center Bryan Stork, starting running back LeGarrette Blount and starting wide receiver Brandon LaFell.

The Play :

Steelers +255

Spread

Steelers +7 (-110) ($10.00 wins $9.09)

Patriots -7 (-110) ($10.00 wins $9.09)

With the removal of Brady’s suspension, the Steelers now face a daunting task. Brady and Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick have a career record of 90-15 in Foxboro, where Brady has thrown for 190 touchdowns compared to just 53 interceptions.  The Steelers are 3-9 in their last 12 meetings with the Pats, and will be without suspended All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell, injured Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and suspended second-year wide receiver Martavis Bryant.

When the teams last met in Foxboro in November 2013, the Patriots cruised to a 55-31 victory. The Steelers’ defense, a unit that ranked 18th overall in 2014, is still a work in progress. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a similar result in this game.

The Play :

Patriots -7

Over/Under

52.5 (-110) ($10.00 wins $9.09)

This matchup, which features two elite quarterbacks and a pair of suspect defenses, has all the makings of a shootout. Both offenses will be without a few key pieces, but the Patriots boasted the No. 4-ranked scoring offense in the NFL last season, averaging 29.2 PPG, while the Steelers ranked No. 7, averaging 27.2 PPG. In their last meeting in 2013, the teams combined for 86 points.

The Patriots’ starting cornerbacks, Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan, have a combined three years of NFL experience. The Steelers’ secondary, meanwhile, surrendered a whopping 253.1 yards per game last season.

The Play : Over 52.5

Game Prop

Will BOTH teams make a field goal from 37-yards or longer?

Yes -125 ($10.00 wins $8.00)

No -105 ($10.00 wins $9.52)

Josh Scobee and Stephen Gostkowski are two of the best in the business. Scobee was 7/9 between 40-49 yards in 2014, while Gostkowski has made 73 of 78 field goal tries since 2013.

The Play : Yes -125

Player prop:

Markus Wheaton over 100 receiving yards +1200 ($10.00 wins $120.00)

Without Bell and Bryant, the Steelers will lean heavily on third-year receiver Markus Wheaton.  Look for Belichick to focus his efforts on trying to shut down Antonio Brown, which should leave Wheaton in single coverage most of the game.