SNF Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, September 24, 8:20 PM EST
Where: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas
Point Spread: Pit +1/LV-1 (Did you know you can bet on games at -105 instead of -110 at BAS? Why the heck would anybody want to pay more for the very same product?)
Moneyline: Terrible Towels +100/Raidas -120
Over/Under Total: 44
How about a long-time NFL rivalry to close out the Sunday action in week 3 of the NFL season? That is what we get when the Black and Gold Steelers visit Vegas to take on the Silver and Black Raiders. BOVADA.LV is expecting a tight game, making the Raiders 1-point favorites and setting the game total at 44. Betting this game comes down to picking the winner, and as we still are not 100% sure who these teams are in 2023, the play is to take the Steelers and trust their experience to win the game and cover the number. Here is the handicap.
The Steelers Can Score Against The Raiders
Pittsburgh got behind early against the 49ers in Week 1, and their offense never got on track, but they played a little better last week against the Browns. They abandoned the run in Week 1, then struggled to get the run going against Cleveland. The offensive line doesn’t open any holes, and Najee Harris shows no burst when he has the ball. I think we start to see more of Jaylen Warren this week. Kenny Pickett will have to take better care of the ball this week, as he comes into the game with three interceptions. He had some moments last week, connecting often with George Pickens for 127 yards and a score, and I think the improvement continues this week. Pittsburgh’s struggles can at least partially be blamed on the high level of opponents they have lined up against. The 49ers and Browns have two of the strongest defensive units in the NFL and really are both strong at all three levels. This Raider defense they face on Sunday is ranked 28th against the run, giving up almost 5 yards per carry, and does not have an interception or a fumble recovery.
Vegas’ defense teased us in week 1, limiting the Broncos to 16 points on 260 total yards. Then, last Sunday against the Bills, they probably showed us their true colors. Buffalo ran up 38 points, 450 total yards, and possessed the ball over 40 minutes to completely dominate the LV stop unit. Buffalo imposed their will in both the running and passing games and pushed the ball into the endzone on 5 of 7 trips to the red zone. The Steeler offense is certainly not as talented as the Bills, but they are more talented than the Broncos. I think Pittsburgh copies the Buffalo game plan and has a lot of success against the Raider defense.
Jimmy G Is Just A Guy
Coach Josh McDaniels decided during the 2022 season that Derek Carr was not capable to run his offense, so he banished Carr and ended up with Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo has the Patriot history, so McDaniels feels he can trust him, but Garoppolo is probably a step down from Carr, and the Raider offense ranks 28th in points scored in the early going. Vegas boasts one of the best receivers in the league in Davante Adams, who has started strong in 2023. They also have one of the best runners in the league, Josh Jacobs. Jacobs held out through training camp and, in 2 games, has managed only 46 yards on 28 carries, and the whole offense is averaging just 2.6 yards per rush attempt. I look for the Raider offense to pick up where they left off last week. I don’t think their line can open up holes in the running game, and I don’t think Jimmy G can sustain drives to score points against the tough Steeler D. They have averaged 13 points per game so far, and I doubt they exceed that by very much.
Pittsburgh’s defense got a wake-up call in Week 1 against the 49ers. They couldn’t contain the offense that blended a strong running and passing game, but they were more competitive last week. They held Deshaun Watson to only 235 passing yards on 40 attempts, but they gave up multiple big plays in the running game. They are a very physical unit that lacks elite speed. That is one deficiency that won’t hurt them as bad against Vegas because of the Raiders’ lack of speed. T.J. Watt showed Monday night he is still capable of taking over a game in the 4th quarter and will look to do that again this week. I look for more struggles from the Silver and Black on the offensive side of the ball this week and for the Steelers D to turn in their best performance of the year.
Tomlin Over McDaniels
Both of these teams need major improvements to compete moving forward in the tough AFC, and that will boil down to coaching and team leadership. In this category, there is no debate about who has the advantage. Tomlin has proven over 16 years at the helm of the Black and Gold that he knows the buttons to push when his team needs an adjustment. The Steelers are a tight unit with strong leaders that will come together and compete for the team. McDaniels has only proved that he can find someone to blame. Adams and Jacobs are already showing signs of being disgruntled and losing patience with McDaniels. If Vegas had a strong home-field advantage, that might make a difference, but there will be more Steeler fans at Allegiant Stadium than Raider fans, so that advantage falls to the Steelers also.
Play The Steelers
Let’s count on Pittsburgh being the right side for this week’s Sunday Night Football game. Play them with the point or to win the game on the moneyline. Bet your Week 3 NFL predictions for FREE this week by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 when you use bonus promo code PREDICTEM at BetUS Sportsbok!