Ben Roethlisberger Distraction Not Impacting Odds
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 7/31/2009
At Harvey’s Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada a bettor can walk in and lay money down on the Pittsburgh Steelers to win a second consecutive Super Bowl. But something that allegedly happened across the street at Harrah’s in Tahoe that might have you thinking twice about taking the +650 odds at Harvey’s set for the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger.
Even if the allegations of sexual assault brought upon Roethlisberger in a civil lawsuit last week are proven false the distraction from a legal battle that can linger into training camp and throughout the season can affect not only Big Ben but the entire Steelers team as well. Distractions have easily derailed many teams’ championship aspirations in different sports and distractions and championship off-seasons seem to go hand in hand with Big Ben. After helping lead the Steelers to a title in February of 2006, he was involved in a life-threatening Motorcycle Accident in early June. That season Roethlisberger and the Steelers started slow and never recovered missing the playoffs as questions about how the motorcycle accident may have affected Ben’s play throughout the season continued to come up.
This season with a media focus strongly on Roethlisberger and the allegations against him the Steelers are still viewed as one of the favorites to compete for a top spot in the AFC. Bodog has the Steelers’ Super Bowl odds at +900 and BetUS has them at +850. Only the New England Patriots at +300 have been given a better chance to bring home to Lombardi Trophy. To win the AFC North the Steelers’ are heavy favorites at -240 on Bodog and to at least reach the Super Bowl the odds are at +450 on BetUS.
The legal battle that is facing Roethlisberger has had little or no affect on the Steelers’ odds this season and perhaps with good reason. The last time the Steelers’ faced a distraction like this Roethlisberger was 24 years old and no player on the roster had much experience dealing with distractions or a season as defending champions. This year Big Ben is 27 years old, has two Super Bowl rings and his teammates nearly all have the experience of dealing with adversity and playing with a big target on their backs.
Another big difference is in the distraction itself. Three years ago after the motorcycle accident Roethlisberger was publicly criticized by NFL officials, his coach Bill Cowher and his teammates. It was a result mostly from the fact that it was an irresponsible action not only riding a motorcycle without a valid license during his playing career but also because he was not wearing a helmet. The distraction here has come from the outside and when Roethlisberger addressed the media at a recent press conference he did with Steelers’ officials and coach Mike Tomlin at his side.
When the Steelers report to training camp at Latrobe, Pennsylvania this week, Roethlisberger can likely expect his teammates to rally around him in the face of the accusations against him. The distraction in this situation may actually help bring the team closer to together as the Pittsburgh Steelers try for an unprecedented Seventh Super Bowl.
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