Carolina Panthers (+3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: Total – 51
A big big matchup for both of these team and their final records.
The Steelers come in on a four game winning streak having dealt with the Ravens last week, the Panthers have 3 in a row now, but are much better at home, 5-0 there as opposed to 1-2 on the road, it’s always tough going on the road on a Thursday night matchup and that’s pretty much why I think the Steelers will win this tonight, and I think they’re a bet now it’s shortened to just the 3 points. If it was in Carolina I would probably have leant to the Panthers by 3 points as well.
Carolina Panthers –
Most of us laughed over the off-season when Norv Turner said he’d get Cam Newton the best completion percentage of his career, but here we are, week 10 and he’s at 67.3%, quite considerably the highest he’s ever had, and it’s not all just dump offs… well, most of it is, to McCaffery, Samuel, DJ Moore are YAC monsters and are capable of changing games in instants. The Panthers haven’t given up a turnover in 3 games now.
Cam is of course basically a tight end who can run and throw, his physical abilities have always been there and they’re what make him an exciting QB to watch week to week, he’s averaging 43 rush yards per game with a high of 58 in the opener and a low of 29 yards, the line of 39.5 yards is too close to the mean for me tonight, it probably helps that the Steelers are good against the RB, especially pass catching RBs, so he may need to scramble a little more, but still, it’s a no go for me. The anytime of 15/8 isn’t awful, but he hasn’t really shone in primetime in his career, so it’s also a worry! He has had 2+ TD passes in all but 1 of their games this year, that’s available at 8/11 on Skybet. His yards are too much of a risk for me as well, they range from 234.5 to 247.5. – Oh, he has been carrying a shoulder injury and playing off 4 days rest probably isn’t going to help things.
Christian McCaffery is another who’s been changed by Norv Turner joining the team, he’s played a ridiculous 99% of the teams snaps this year, that won’t stop tonight despite the fact that the Steelers are good vs pass catching backs, which could mean more rush yards rather than passing/combined yards for him tonight, he’s been very good there in all honesty. CJ Anderson is the only other guy there, he’s scored once this season and frankly barely gets on the field, but 14/1 (Betfred) is still a little tempting! They even gave the full back Alex Armah a TD last week. The bastards.
The passing game… Well here’s where it gets a little more complicated, Greg Olsen is back and seemingly the main target again which has killed off Devin Funchess a bit, they’ve also been using Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore a lot, well, a lot Moore than they had done. They’re amazing to watch in the passing game if they break a tackle or two they’re gone. The TD that Samuel scored last week he ran 105 yards to complete his 33 yard score on the ground. DJ Moore broke out 2 games ago but didn’t get a whole lot, 1 rush, 1 pass. They use a lot of jet sweeps, reverses and play action these days. We’ve got 40.5 yards for DJ Moore at 1/2, or more reasonable 42.5 at 5/6 on Skybet. It’s risky. In fact all of the receiving yards bets are risky. I’d lean towards Olsen at 43.5 yards at 5/6 on Skybet, in fact I think I’ll go on that one.
Defensively they’re very good, organised by one of the best players in the league, Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke Kuechly. The guy is amazing. They’ve also got some very good cornerbacks providing turnovers.
It’s my site, I’ll do what I want… I don’t like the Steelers. I really don’t. But I am neutral enough to know that they’re going to win the North and have been very very good in recent weeks. The bastards.
I watched the whole game against the Bengals, who have a fairly decent defensive line and they couldn’t get near Big Ben, like, couldn’t even touch him let alone get near to hitting him. I’m not sure they even skimmed his uniform in the whole game and that seems to be something that’s regular for them, unsurprisingly PFF has the Steelers ranked as the top offensive line this year.
The fact the Ben has barely been touched has obviously helped their improvement in recent weeks, he has hours back there for 2 of the best route runners in the league to get open and he’s got the arm to find them, still. He’s still an over-dramatic drama queen. I, along with everyone else watching held our breaths when he was landed on by a Raven defender last week, we all prayed he’d avoided the seemingly inevitable broken collarbone, only for him to stroll back onto the field after missing one play. Wanker.
Their run game is great, James Conner (He survived cancer don’t you know) has looked great this year in place of Lev Bell, and hopefully he’ll keep the role once that nobber comes back. He’s topped 100 yards rushing in the last 4 games, the game last week against the Ravens especially impressive, and scored 10 TDs this season already, capable in the pass game as well as on the ground.
The passing game has leant back around to Antonio Brown (87.5) recently after Juju Prick-Schuster (74.5) was targeted heavily in the first few games of the season – AB has in fact scored in all but one game this season so at 4/5 I think he’s got to be a must bet. I have no idea how they’ll be used tonight so won’t be taking either on their yards. I’d assume Brown will get more of the ball as it’s primetime so you trust the best guy, but honestly. No idea. Outside of those two it’s Conner, or… er… well, I thought it would be James Washington but 2 catches from 5 targets last week after being a healthy scratch isn’t exactly convincing work. Ryan Switzer has made a few catches on the year, 3 for 21 yards last week, but again, not trustworthy in the slightest. The tight ends are a bit of a ball ache as well, Vance McDonald is a gigantic freak of a man who’s got the talent to break off big runs and literally run over people, but Jesse James gets quite a lot of targets as well. Vance is 38.5 on Skybet at 5/6, James at 20.5 on RedzoneSports.
Their defense has stepped up in recent weeks which has definitely helped them as a whole. TJ Watt (he’s got a famous brother so needs the be mentioned everywhere all the time) has done well this year and should provide pressure against a relatively poor offensive line, he’s had at least one sack in every game this year.
So, as I said at the start, I’d expect this to be a tight but entertaining affair. I think the Steelers will win and cover, but from the podcasts I listen to I’m not entirely confident on that right now!
Right. I’ve actually got quite a few I like after having a look through tonight, nothing at big odds unfortunately, I usually like to throw one in, if you really want big odds then CJ Anderson anytime would be my choice.
- Big Ben o0.5 interceptions – 5/9 (RZSports)
- Cam Newton o1.5 passing TDs – 8/11 (Skybet)
- Antonio Brown anytime TD – 4/5 (Skybet)
- Vance McDonald o38.5 rec. yards – 5/6 (Skybet)
2 points on each of the above – 8 in total.
Skybet have their bet £10 on RaB get a free £5 to spend, I took some stupid high odds markets on there, 150 and 250/1…
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JOIN THE DRAFTKINGS LEAGUE – https://www.draftkings.co.uk/draft/contest/63747218 – If it fills this week I’ll consider opening it up for 30 participants!
And have a read of Ben Burke’s guest post – Guest post by Ben Burke – Mid-season statistical review – He’s a top bloke and does some good work, more stats based than myself, less hatred of the Steelers too, I’d imagine.