New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

New York Jets (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: Sunday, September 16th, 2012/4:25 p.m. EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.
TV: CBS
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: NYJ +6/Pitt. -6
Over/Under Total: 41.5

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The New York Jets will try and keep their offensive juggernaut rolling in week two of the National Football League, but this Sunday the competition will be a little stiffer when they travel to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the afternoons best game on CBS.

After not scoring a single touchdown in the all four games of the preseason (1st team), quarterback Mark Sanchez and Jets exploded for a league-high 48 points in week one when they destroyed the Buffalo Bills at home, 48-28. Sanchez threw for 266 yards and three scores and the Jets ran out to a, 41-7, lead just minutes into the third quarter to turn their opener into a laugher in a hurry.

While the Jets finished last Sunday giggling on the sidelines, the Steelers walked away frustrated when Peyton Manning and the new-look Denver Broncos hung a tough loss on them late Sunday night, 31-19. The final score is deceiving, as Pittsburgh had a chance and was trying to rally in the final two minutes trailing only 25-19, but Ben Roethlisberger threw a pick-six interception that killed the Steelers hopes at the opening week comeback.

One thing you should expect Sunday is a close game, as the Jets and Steelers have played four times since the 2005 season and two of the games went into overtime and all four games have an average margin of victory of four points.

Im sure all of the sportsbook oddsmakers are aware of that tidbit, but they still set the opening point spread for the game with the Steelers as sizable 6-point favorites. So far the number has held at minus -6 all almost all of the sportsbooks, but 5Dimes (Bet on games at -105 there instead of -110 - Saves you HUGE $$$!) and a few other offshore sportsbooks have gone up to minus -7 points with a little extra juice (-115) to get people to wager on the Jets.

The over/under total opened at 41.5 and has yet to move in either direction.

At first glance youd expect both of the offenses in this game to struggle. Theres no way the Jets are going to score 40 points every week, so theres nowhere to go but down. Plus, the Steelers have so many issues with injury at running back (Rashard Mendenhall is questionable) and offensive line (David DeCastro out till Dec., both Marcus Gilbert and Ramon Foster were hurt in week 1 probable for week 2), that theyve become almost a pass-only team. The O-line problems hurt the passing game as well, since the Steelers also gave up five sacks to Denver in the opener.

Both teams also have two of the best defenses in the NFL, although both didnt play as expected in the openers. Pittsburgh, who played without LB James Harrison and S Ryan Clark, gave up 334 yards to Manning and Denver and only forced one turnover and two sacks in the loss. But that uncharacteristic defensive game will likely improve this week when they get Clark back and possibly Harrison (questionable).

The Jets defense was solid in the Bills game, however, they did allow a surprising 195 yards rushing to Buffalo. A large chunk came on C.J. Spillers 56-yard TD run and they were ahead 34 points in the third quarter, but even still, the 7.5 yards per carry average is something they will need to improve on for week two. Corner Darrelle Revis was dinged and suffered a mild concussion last week, but he is listed as probable so its not likely to be a factor come Sunday.

Historically the Steelers have enjoyed their matchups with the Jets, since they are 7-3 SU (6-4 ATS) in the last 10 games dating back to the 1990 season. That record includes a 5-1 SU mark (4-2 ATS) at home in the six games in the series played in Pittsburgh.

Most of the other betting trends for this matchup are conflicting, as theyll look good in one context (Jets are 8-3 ATS in L11 in Sept.) but completely the opposite (Jets are 2-7 ATS on the road) when you dig deeper. The same this happens when you look at Pittsburgh trends (8-0 ATS following a SU loss, but 4-9 in L13 in Sept.), so following any trends plays this week will have to be a gut feeling.

The over/under trends are all over the board as well, with no clear signal on either side of the total.

Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Knowing that these two always play one another tough, the 6-point opening line smells a little fishy to me. I expect the public to pound the Jets at the window based on last weeks breakout a game. Keep in mind that they were playing the Bills though. I like Pit to win the game by 7 and get the money.

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