NFL Predictions: Steelers at Broncos Betting Odds and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 8/28/2010
Sunday night’s game between Pittsburgh and Denver is the lone game on the schedule that day and because it is nationally televised by FOX there will be live betting on Bodog, if you are so inclined.
This is a “rematch” of Week 9 in Denver last season when the Steelers won, 28-10. The rushing attacks were the difference in that one as Pittsburgh’s Rashard Mendenhall ran for 155 yards, becoming the fourth player since 1970 to top 150 yards rushing in a win at Denver. Meanwhile, Denver rushed for just 27 yards, its fourth-lowest total since the merger.
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But in reality that game has little bearing on this one, although it being the third preseason game for both most starters will play into the third quarter so it’s the closest simulation to a regular-season game you will see.
NFL Predictions: Quarterback Matchup
There is no question that each team knows who its starting quarterback is in the regular season: Denver’s Kyle Orton, who surprisingly just got a near $9 million extension through 2011, and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger.
That’s not to say Orton and Big Ben aren’t in different boats. Orton was expected to be pushed by Tim Tebow but that extension (even more odd because 2011 could be a lockout year) seemed to signal the Broncos will let Tebow sit a while. It also didn’t help that Tebow hurt his ribs at the end of the first preseason game and missed the second one. Coach Josh McDaniels still hasn’t said whether Tebow, who resumed practicing Wednesday after missing the past week with bruised ribs, would play Sunday (the home fans still haven’t seen him on the field). But he remains No. 3 on the depth chart behind Orton and Brady Quinn and apparently will stay there entering the season.
McDaniels did say his starters would play into the third quarter because he wanted them to be able to simulate going through adjustments, etc., during halftime. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said much of the same.
Roethlisberger sat out the first preseason game but returned last week against the Giants. Big Ben completed six of eight passes for 76 yards and led the Steelers on a 13-play, 58-yard field goal drive in his three series. He also threw a pick. Byron Leftwich, the presumed starter to start the season while Roethlisberger serves his likely four-game suspension, was in second against New York but apparently won’t be in this one. Dennis Dixon, who has looked very good this preseason, will replace Big Ben in the second quarter because coach Mike Tomlin wants to take a longer look at him with the first-team offense. Dixon has completed 13-of-15 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns in two games for a perfect passer rating of 158.3. He also has directed four touchdown drives.
"I intend to give Dennis Dixon some looks with the first group against some good people," Tomlin said. "I think he's earned that likewise.”
Steelers vs. Broncos Betting Odds and Line Movement
Pittsburgh is one of three road favorites this weekend at -2 with a total of 36. This line opened as a ‘pick’em’ at some books. Totals never move much in the preseason. The Steelers are currently getting about a 57 percent lean.
Steelers vs. Broncos Betting Trends
Pittsburgh is 2-0 in the preseason, covering both in a 23-7 home win against Detroit (the ‘under’ a winner there) and a 24-17 win at the Giants (‘over’ the total) when New York didn’t have an injured Eli Manning. Denver is 0-2 in the preseason and hasn’t yet covered. The Broncos lost, 33-24, at Cincinnati and, 25-20, at home against the Lions. The ‘over’ has hit in both Denver losses.
Steelers vs. Broncos Injuries, Other News
Denver’s other first-round pick this year, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, continues to have problems with his left foot and is out for the preseason and at least the opener. Left tackle Ryan Clady, who tore up his knee this winter playing hoops, returned to practice this week but isn’t ready to play yet. Running backs Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno remain out, and it appears LenDale White is iffy as well.
Pittsburgh is making a change at center as rookie Maurkice Pouncey has gotten the first-team snaps at center this week and has moved ahead of Justin Hartwig on the depth chart. Therefore Pouncey will run with the starters against Denver. Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden is doubtful. Safety Ryan Clark won’t play because of a rare blood condition that can be dangerous in altitude.
NFL Predictions: Steelers vs. Broncos Picks and Predictions
In my mind, all you need to know is that Denver’s running back situation on Sunday is that someone named Lance Ball might be the starter. White has a hammy problem but did practice some this week and might get a few carries.
Plus McDaniels has practically no receivers healthy and will be shuffling his offensive line for this game. And wouldn’t you rather have a combination of Roethlisberger/Dixon than Orton/Quinn? Take Pittsburgh and the ‘over’.
Allen Eastman is back with his 99 System for NFL picks in 2010 and before he even came across this system he was considered one of the best NFL handicappers in the business – now he is just unstoppable. Last season the 99 System was 27-13 ATS and this system not only helped his clients make a boatload of money, but also helped Eastman to third place in the prestigious Las Vegas Hilton NFL Contest.
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