Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (4-3 SU,
2-5 ATS), Week 8 NFL, 8:20 p.m. EST, Sunday, October 31, 2009,
Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La., TV: NBC
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Pit +1/N.O. -1
The Sunday Night Football game on NBC this Halloween night has all
the makings for a classic AFC-NFC grudge match, when the Pittsburgh
Steelers travel to the Superdome to take on the defending Super Bowl
Champion New Orleans Saints.
Pittsburgh, who stayed a half-game ahead of the Ravens in the AFC
North with their replay-reversal 23-22 victory over the Miami
Dolphins last Sunday, is taking on the look of an AFC favorite thanks
to the return of the Steelers fearsome defense under Dick LeBeau.
Sunday Nights primetime affair on Halloween is the perfect is time
for the Steelers to step to the front of the AFC line by knocking off
the defending champs.
The Saints have shown some vulnerability lately too, losing in spectacular fashion as 10-point favorites last week to the Cleveland
Browns, 30-17. Quarterback Drew Brees had four interceptions last
week versus Browns rookie Colt McCoy, showing him how to lose a game
quickly in the NFL.
But since they fell on their face already last week, you can bet the
house that coach Sean Peyton and Brees will be fully focused on
saving that face on national television on Halloween.
The oddsmakers out in Las Vegas are expecting a great one on Sunday
Night too, opening the game as a pick-em when the windows slid open
early Monday morning. With a few days of action at the window already
in the ledger the point spread has moved at a few offshore
sportsbooks, with the Saints listed as high as 1.5-point favorites at
a few places. However, the Saints can also be found as an underdog (+1), so this point spread is all over the place if you want
to shop around.
The over/under total opened at 44 and has hung on that number through early action, although there are a few books that have moved it up
the hook to 44.5.
The Steelers offense was held in check last week by the tough Dolphins defense, but they are still up over 5 points per game in the
two games since Ben Roethlisberger returned at quarterback.
Roethlisberger will be key in the play-action passing game this week
as the Steelers will likely try and find out if running back Rashard
Mendenhall can get loose on the Saints weak run defense (108.7 ypg
On the other sideline Peyton and Brees will have to do plenty of film
study and scheming to get around the Steelers top-ranked defense
(13.7 ppg allowed) this week, with the obvious plan of attack coming
through the air against the Steelers below-average pass defense
(235.7 ypg 24). The Saints threw 56 times for over 336 last week
against the Browns, but four picks by Brees killed any chance and
sparked the upset.
With two of the top five defenses in the league going head-to-head in this one (Pitt 4th 299.3 ypg; NO 3rd 288.4 ypg), points will be
at a premium and which ever defensive unit is able to impose their
will and play with a lead should be able to score the knockout blow
in the end.
Its been four seasons since these two last played on the gridiron, a
38-31 Pittsburgh victory at home and 6.5-point favorites. Over the
years (back through 1987) the Steelers are 3-2 SU against the Saints
and 3-1-1 ATS, but they did lose 32-29 in their last visit to New
Orleans in the one game that ended in a push (in 2002).
With a limited history between these two there are very few quality
betting trends to follow. The Steelers are 5-0 ATS in the last five
road games against a team with a winning record. The Saints are just
1-4 ATS in their last five games at the Superdome.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Saints will bounce back after last weeks
embarrassment against the Browns, so if you can get them as a pick or
even a home dog youd be wise to look around for the favorable line.
Take New Orleans as a pick.