Chicago Bears (2-0 SU, 0-1-1 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date and Time: Sunday, September 22nd, 2014, 8:30 pm EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Chi -2/PIT +2
Over/Under Total: 42
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in unprecedented territory
to start off the 2013 season, sitting at 0-2 for the first time ever since
Mike Tomlin has been head coach, but theyre in danger of falling even deeper
in the early season hole when they host the 2-0 Chicago Bears
at Heinz Field on Sunday Night Football on NBC.
For the first time in I dont remember how long, the Steelers actually looked bad on Monday Night Football last week in a, 20-10, fizzle against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pittsburghs issues on the offensive line are well documented, but the offense as a whole just looked uncharacteristically sloppy on Monday night where they are something like 25-1 lifetime (not actual stat, embellished to drive point), so you know its bad when they struggle in primetime.
Chicago comes to the Steel City fresh off an exciting, 31-30, come-from-behind win over the rival Minnesota Vikings on Sunday to keep the Bears and coach Marc Trestmans record perfect so far. Although it is a small sample of two games, it appears Trestman has done exactly what he was brought in to do which is spark life into Jay Cutler and the offense, an offense thats (gasp) suddenly top-10 worthy scoring 27.5 points a game (6th in NFL).
With the Steelers game on Monday night still less than eight hours old its hard to find an early line on this game, but it appears that most of the sportsbooks already listing this game on their boards are opening it up with the Bears as 2-point favorites on the road.
The over/under total is also hard to find this early, with the number listed all over right now from 40.5 to 42.
Normally this section of the preview would talk about how this game features two of the NFLs top defenses and how, on paper at least, this game stands to be a low-scoring affair in primetime on Sunday Night. It still does feature two stellar defenses, but with the Bears and Cutler hitting on all cylinders and Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers stepping on their own feet on offense, Pittsburgh will need their defense to step it up double-time on Sunday to hang around.
Pittsburgh and Roethlisberger desperately need to find a way to be less one-dimensional, and with 44 yards rushing on Monday (after 32 in week one) behind a rag-tag line, that might be wishful thinking.
Chicago and Cutler continue to rely too heavily on Brandon Marshall in the passing game, so they can expect to see Steelers corner Ike Taylor lined up across from him all night to try and make the Bears beat them some other way.
These two storied franchises last met in 2009, in what turned into a 17-14 Bears victory in Soldier Field in Chicago. Since the 1986 season the series between these two is slightly in Chicagos favor (4-3 SU and ATS), but the Steelers have held their own at home winning the last two (21-9 in 2005, 17-12 in 1998).
If you like to play based on betting trends, then you might want to steer away from this game entirely, especially since neither team is exactly a bettors go-to team. Chicago is 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven overall, while the Steelers are 1-5 ATS in their last six overall and 1-4-1 ATS in their last six at home in Heinz Field.
The over/under trends are pretty sketchy too, with the over looking solid on the Chicago side (4-0 in L4, 6-1 in L7 road games) while the under is the play for the Steelers side (14-3 in L17 at home, 7-2 vs. teams with winning records).
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Call me crazy, but I think the Steelers and Big Ben figure out a way to keep this one close somehow. Ill take the home dog, give me Pittsburgh plus the deuce.