With still five days to go until the start of the 2018 season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the betting lines continue to change as we get closer to the first game of the year. Thanks to changes in U.S gambling laws that have made sports betting legal in a number of states, many fans will have better access to sportsbooks across the country this year, and the range of options for betting has increased significantly this offseason with some online providers.
As of Monday, most bookmakers generally have the Steelers listed as the third favorite to win Super Bowl LIII at odds ranging from 8/1 to 12/1, depending upon where you look. The New England Patriots are the favorites, priced between 4/1 and 6/1, with the Philadelphia Eagles second favorites at 7/1 to 10/1, and the Green Bay Packers are fourth in the betting at between 9/1 and 15/1.
With the exception of the few times the Steelers have actually managed to go undefeated during the early stages of the year and then played convincingly over the course of the season, rarely have you not been able to find better odds on Pittsburgh to win the Super Bowl after the start of the season. While the first four games of the year do not look especially challenging on paper, divisional games can be tricky, and anyone looking to back the Steelers to win their seventh championship in 2018 might be better served waiting a few weeks to place their bets in hopes of a bigger price.
Second favorites to win the AFC at a best price of 9/2, only New England (2/1) has shorter odds. Unsurprisingly, they are significant favorites to win the AFC North at around 1/3 (-330), with the Baltimore Ravens listed at 7/2, the Cincinnati Bengals around 10/1 and the Cleveland Browns around 14/1.
In practical terms, greater profits can be earned on an AFC Championship victory by simply betting on the Steelers to win each of their playoff games than waiting all year to collect on a 9/2 futures bet, and this is one to avoid until the price has drifted significantly. An AFC North title bet only has value for those looking to do parlays, and even then the price might be too skinny to warrant the risk.
Oddsmakers have set the Steelers line for regular season wins at 10.5 this season, with the under currently the slight favorite with most sportsbooks. If you fancy Pittsburgh to have a strong year, beating 10 wins seems like an achievable target. Certainly a good play for big singles bettors or an addition to a futures parlay.
The range of proposition bets available is too long to list them all individually here, but some of the more popular markets include league MVP, passing and rushing leaders and several individual season player performance bets.
Ben Roethlisberger can be backed at a price of 30/1 to win the league MVP title, although Antonio Brown is actually better value as more realistic candidate for the award at 40/1. If you liked the look of James Washington in preseason, you can bet on him to win offensive rookie of the year at 60/1.
Fifth favorite among starting quarterbacks to throw for the the most yards this season, Roethlisberger can be backed at a price of 10/1 for anyone who fancies a big year from No.7. Antonio Brown is the obvious favorite to lead the league in receiving at 3/1, while JuJu Smith-Schuster can be backed at 150/1 for anyone optimistic 2018 will be “lit”. Le’Veon Bell is second favorite to claim the rushing title at 4/1 behind Ezekiel Elliott at just under 3/1.
At 125/1 to lead the NFL in sacks, T.J. Watt is a great value bet for anyone expecting big things from the young outside linebacker this season and Chris Boswell is well priced to lead all kickers in points at 10/1. It would seem the bookmakers don’t have too much faith in an especially memorable season for Mike Tomlin after listing him as the 18th favorite to be named coach of the year at around 22/1 and the Steelers are 3/1 to miss the playoff altogether.
With some of these markets set to close when first game of the year kicks off between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons, you will need to gets your bets on before Thursday if you want to grab a few of these prices.