Oakland Raiders (4-3 SU, 4-3-0 ATS) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4 SU, 5-2-1 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: November 8, 2015 1:00PM EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA.
by WILSON, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OAK +4/PITT -4
Over/Under Total: 48
The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped to 4-4 after their loss at home last week to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers anticipated a stellar return from Big Ben but it was not to be. It looked good early on for the Steelers with Big Ben returning after missing four games but as the contest progressed it was obvious that Roethlisberger was a bit rusty based on his tendency to float and or overthrow his receivers. Then the worst happenedLeVeon Bell left the game with a turn MCL and has been declared out for the season! Ouch! The Steelers get one stud back and lose another one. Ironically, it was last season against these same Bengals when LeVeon was injured and also knocked out. Whats the deal with playing the Bengals and getting hurt? The good news for Steeler fans and the organization is that Bells ACL is intact which should be a decent indication hell be back on the field for 2016. Until then the Steelers will call on DeAngelo Williams to be the featured back. Williams averaged 102 yards rushing in the first two games of the season while Bell served a suspension for marijuana use. But what about those Raiders coming to town?
The Raiders have won their last two games where theyve scored a total of 71 points but have given up 49. Theyve just scored more points than the other teamisnt that how it works? Maybe, but if we look on paper we see they are 4 points better per game offensively than the Steelers yet the Steel-town boys only allow 18.4 points per game, so this will be a more challenging affair for the Raiders than in their past few contests. The young Steelers defense has grown up quickly and is a lot better than they were early on in the season. Although they have not finished games the way they would like (not entirely their fault) but they have been a tighter group who can now slow down the passing attack much more efficiently than before. Raider QB Derek Carr comes in to this contest with 15 TDs 1793 yards and a 65 percent pass completion tally that is impressive especially for what has been a QB deficient team over the past few years. Oakland will pose quite the threat through the air and the Steeler secondary will definitely be tested.
What will be the key factors in this contest of old rivals from back in the day? Well, it always begins with the QBs! Big Ben will be at home and likely more fine-tuned than last week now that hes had some game speed thrown at him and aired out his arm a bit. The Steelers will look for his leadership to get them above .500 and in the hunt for now what will likely be a wild card chase. The good news for Big Ben is he still has a ton of offensive weapons in his receiving corps including Brown, and go-to TE Miller. Williams will not be as dynamic as Bell at RB but he will get the job done just fine.
The Raiders QB Carr is having a decent year and he has WR Cooper as his main target with RB Murray in the backfield to carry the pigskin. Murray has 115 touches this season for 534 yards and 3 TDs. If the Raiders defense can step up and hold the Steelers to under 20 points they may have a shot at stealing a road win. The ESPN Football Power ranking has Pittsburgh as the 79.8 percent favorite to 20.1 percent for Oakland. The current Money Line is -225 Pitt and +185 Oakland. The Raiders are 4-2 ATS as underdogs and 2-1-0 ATS on the road. Pitt is 1-1 ATS as the favorite, and 2-1-1 ATS at home.
This should be a good football game as both teams matchup well considering the tale of the tape and the way these teams have shown sparks of potential post season prowess, but it will definitely come down to QB leadership and I have to go with the big boy here! Big Ben and the Steelers get back in the winning column this week as they hand the Raiders their 4th loss on the season 24-17! Luck to ya.
WILSONs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Pittsburgh gets the cover. Lay the points!
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