July 19, 2021
2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Odds, Predictions, Preview
The Pittsburgh Steelers were rolling along with an 11-0 SU/8-3 ATS mark through 11 games last season, finding ways to get wins, especially tough ones, with several schedule amendments due to COVID, injury concerns and an aging quarterback. But they were able to defy the odds, and looked to be on track for something rather special.
It all came crashing down on Monday game against the Washington Football Team, just five days after a reschedule, hard-fought win over the Baltimore Ravens, again, due to COVID issues. WFT came in and won 23-17, and that kicked off a three-game losing streak. Suddenly, the Steelers were not looking to special. They pieced together a 28-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts to get on track, but lost to the Cleveland Browns in the regular-season finale at home, and again in the wild-card to the Browns, also at home, in the next game, causing panic among all Yinzers.
The offseason came with some upgrades, as you would expect. James Conner is now paid to carry the football in Arizona, and rookie Najee Harris out of Alabama was selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft to be his replacement. All indications this summer are that Harris is the real deal, and Pittsburgh has a potential star on its hands. They tried to upgrade the offensive line, grabbing OG Trai Turner, and jettisoning David DeCastro, and they did lose OT Alejandro Villanueva to the enemy Ravens, a tough loss.
C Maurkice Pouncey and TE Vance McDonald announced their retirement in the offseason, so those were positions of need, too. TE Pat Freiermuth was nabbed in the second round of the draft to help out on offense, both catching and blocking, while O-line improvements were also drafted in the third and fourth round with Kendrick Green and Dan Moore Jr.
Ben Roethlisberger is back for one more year under center, after some speculated he might hang up the spikes after last season. He has a solid cadre of receivers in JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool to help him turn back the clock a little bit. He completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 3,803 yards, 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2020, so he still has it, although Father Time is knocking.
Like their rivals, the Browns, the Steelers open with a marquee battle against a fellow Super Bowl contender in Buffalo. Cleveland opens in Kansas City. The schedule lightens after that, with four games in five weeks, and then they get two weeks to prepare for a showdown in Cleveland on Halloween. After decades, really, of being one-sided, this is a rivalry again.
The Steelers get more home cooking early in November to pad the win column, but it gets really ugly late. Their final six games are all against teams who were either in the postseason in 2020, or are expected to be in the playoffs in 2021. No easy games, no cupcake games in the cold months. Playoff football for the Steelers, for all intents and purposes, starts in December.
Based on the win totals, I think the Steelers at OVER 8.5 (+105) is criminally low, and it's plus-money to boot! This team has the potential to win 10 games in 2021, and a few games folks might be counting for losses could easily go another way. I expect they go 4-2 inside the division, and that leaves just five wins to be had elsewhere. Although they better get there before that gauntlet in December.
2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule
Win Total Odds
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds to Win AFC North
The Steelers have longer odds to win the AFC North than the Browns or Baltimore Ravens, but it should be a three-horse race with the Steelers right there. I do not like them as much as the others, but I think Pittsburgh is tempting at this price. If anyone gets more out of his players, it's head coach Mike Tomlin, and they'll be right there in the end.
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds to Win AFC Championship
This isn't a Super Bowl contender, although they certainly have the tools on offense to hang with most anybody. I think their defense will be a little suspect at times, and the schedule is certainly daunting, especially late. Another early exit in the playoffs, most likely on the road, will be the case.
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds to Win Super Bowl 56
The Steelers aren't adding a seventh Lombardi Trophy to the case, as Big Ben isn't getting any younger. But man, at 40-to-1? I've certainly made worse bets in my life.
Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 MVP Contenders & Odds
Ben Roethlisberger +10000
Najee Harris +15000
The days of Big Ben being MVP caliber are in the rear-view mirror. While it would make for a tremendous story in what is more than likely his final NFL season barring a change of heart, he isn't in the same neighborhood as Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, etc. This is a young man's game, and Roethlisberger is a Grandpa compared to them. Harris isn't MVP caliber yet, but he has potential. In 2021? Rookie of the Year, maybe. But not MVP.
Pittsburgh Steelers Preseason Betting Odds & Markets
Make Playoff?: Yes +170 No -210
I find it extremely, extremely hard to believe that Mike Tomlin has never been named The Associated Press Coach of the Year. Marvin Lewis and Lovie Smith have won the award. Jason Garrett has won the award. Dick Jauron has won the award. Wayne Fontes once won the award, as did Jim Fassel. But no Tomlin? I don't know if he wins it this season, but if he works this team into a double-digit win and AFC North title, he damn well should win it. I'd take a shot on it. I also think the Steelers at +170 to make the playoffs is a steal. They'll be right there contending for a spot in December.
2020 Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Results