Kansas City Chiefs (1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date/Time: Monday, November 12th, 2012, 8:30 p.m. EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.
TV: ESPN/DirecTV 206
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: KC +12.5/PIT -12.5
Over/Under Total: 42.5
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The Pittsburgh Steelers have won three straight and will try and continue their climb up the ladder in the AFC playoff picture when they host the disappointing Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field on Monday Night Football.
The Steelers won their third straight with an impressive, 24-20, victory over the New York Giants on the road last weekend. The ole Steel Curtain defense held the Giants to 182 yards of total offense and Big Ben and the Pittsburgh offense rallied with 14 unanswered points in the final quarter to beat the defending champs in their own building.
Now Pittsburgh will welcome ESPN's Monday Night crew to Heinz Field in hopes of keeping their momentum going against the Chiefs.
If Kansas City isn't the most disappointing team in the NFL this season, then they're certainly close to it. The Chiefs fell apart (again) in the fourth quarter of their, 31-13, loss at San Diego last Thursday, as the Chargers turned back-to-back Chiefs possessions with a turnover in the fourth quarter into two defensive touchdowns and a 31-6 blowout.
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But the Steelers will face a desperate team on Monday in the Chiefs. When you cut your high-priced free agent CB Stanford Routt just because, and then head coach Romeo Crennell takes the defensive coordinator duties away from himself just for change sake, you're searching for answers.
But it's all lipstick on a pig if you look at the point spread, because the oddsmakers set the original line with Pittsburgh as 11.5-point favorites. With almost 70 percent of the early money on the Steelers, the number has climbed to minus -12.5 at most online sportsbooks and as high as -13 at some books to stop the run on Pittsburgh.
The over/under total opened at 43 and can still be found at that number at a few properties in Las Vegas, but just about every offshore sportsbook is down to 42.5 and there are a few that are down to 42.
The Chiefs have eliminated a little bit of doubt going into this game by announcing right away on Monday that Brady Quinn still wasn't cleared to play on Monday, so for at least one more week Matt Cassel will be the Chiefs starter and there's no quarterback controversy. But the Chiefs are a run-first offense (149.9 ypg rushing - 3rd in NFL) going against one of the stiffest run defenses in league (Pitt allows 88.6 ypg - 7th), so Cassel will have his hands full no doubt.
The Pittsburgh defense has shown it can cope without safety Troy Polamalu, and the offense has coped with the loss of just about every running back on the roster, but the hits keep coming because this week Ben Roethlisberger will likely have to do without Antonio Brown and Chris Rainey. Ironically both Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall are questionable this week, so don't be surprised if the Steelers try and attack the Chiefs 22nd-ranked run defense (126 ypg) instead of relying on Big Ben to throw it to win.
These two teams did play last year in a bloody-knuckle game in Arrowhead the Steelers walked away with, 13-9, but the Chiefs-Steelers series over the years has been surprisingly even on the field (5-5 SU since 1994). Kansas City has covered in the last two meetings, both times as 10.5-point underdogs in Arrowhead, so the Chiefs are accustomed to big numbers as dogs.
Other than the fact the home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between these two, there really aren't too many betting trends to either follow or fade. The under has a few solid trends (4-0 for KC on MNF; 6-0 for Pitt at home), but over the years the series has gone over the total at a 5-1 clip.
Badger's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is a really tough game to pick, despite the fact that I almost never consider taking double digit favs, especially on MNF. KC has looked pathetic at times this season. Even +12 on a MNF game doesn't excite me. I think the only play here is the UNDER, because it's possible that KC might put up less than 10 points. This isn't really a strong play by any means. In fact, I wouldn't recommend putting anymore than a lunch money bet on it! Good luck!
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