Coming off back-to-back losses, the Pittsburgh Steelers have on opportunity to return to winning ways on Sunday with a game against the worst team in the NFL. However, while a matchup with a team sporting a 2-10 record should seem like a gift for the Steelers in Week 14, the fact that it comes on the road against the Oakland Raiders is far from inspiring.
Although an opening line of 11.5-points suggests the contest should be an easy win for Pittsburgh, trips to face teams on the West Coast have rarely gone well for Steelers as of late. Mike Tomlin is 1-3 in the Pacific time Zone, a record that includes two defeats against the Raiders in Oakland and both coming in years when the Raiders would end the season with a 4-12 record. Dating back to 2003, the Steelers are 2-7 on the West Coast and have not won a game in Oakland in since 1995.
As of Tuesday, most sportsbook are now offering a spread of 11-points and it is hard to recommend backing Pittsburgh at this level. Those looking to take the Raiders and the points are advised to bet early with the spread likely to fall as the week progresses.
An initial totals position of 49.5-points has quickly been replaced by a consensus line of 51.5-points at the time of writing and the over could be good value for this matchup with Oakland giving up an average of 30.6-points a game. From on early moneyline offering of -588, the best price currently available is -750. An unbackable price and not even worth adding to parlays given the history of these contests.
While a loss to Oakland should be unthinkable on Sunday, the fact that the Raiders own a 15-13 lifetime record over the Steelers and are 3-2 against them since Tomlin took charge in 2007 suggests otherwise. Cautious wagering on this game is advised.