Even a broken Big Ben is not right two times a day

Posted by: Charlie Smith
Patriots vs. Steelers Odds to Bet

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger picked the worse time possible to get injured. Though if you think about it, if he could choose, he would have chosen not to get hurt at all. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, the New England Patriots are the online NFL betting favorites against the Steelers on Sunday, October 23rd at Heinz Field.

Patriots -7 (-110) 47½ (-110) -290
Steelers +7 (-110) 47½ (-110) +230

The Patriots (5-1) enjoyed a festive day last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tom Brady made his first start at Gillette Stadium since his suspension and completed 29 of 35 passes to go over 5,000 career completions, including three TD passes – one to tight end Rob Gronkowski, and two to running back James White. In addition to that, LeGarrette Blount ran for 50 yards on 13 carries for a score. The Pats had some sluggish drives early on – like, erosion actually moves faster – but made up for that with a few big plays in the third quarter.

The Steelers (4-2) lost their second game of the season, a 15-30 defeat to the Miami Dolphins. Roethlisberger missed one series late in the second quarter due to an injured left knee during a play that resulted in one of his two interceptions, and finished 19 of 34 for 189 yards and one TD pass to wide receiver Cobi Hamilton. Pittsburgh only scored another touchdown, a 60-yard run by Darrius Heyward-Bey in the first quarter. Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, who leads the league with 486 yards on 41 catches with five scores, was limited to 39 yards on four receptions. Pittsburgh had scored 74 points in the past four games, but the Dolphins outgained them 474-297. The Miami heat (weather-wise, not the NBA team) also took a toll on two Steelers defensive players, who became sick to their stomachs late in the first half.

Now, the Patriots probably may or may not have been the online NFL betting favorites even with a healthy Roethlisberger, but his absence on Sunday does the Steelers no favors either. Big Ben underwent surgery on Monday to fix the meniscus in his left knee, and could be out for 2-6 weeks – a prognosis that his history with injuries could complicate. Whether Roethlisberger comes back sooner or later than expected, that doesn’t change the fact that Landry Jones will start under center against the Pats. Jones completed 32 of 55 passes (58.2%) for 513 yards with three TDs and four interceptions in seven games – two of which he started – with Pittsburgh in 2015.

This could have been a gunslingers’ showdown had Big Ben not been injured, but as it is, it does make a football betting site’s job a lot easier. The Steelers offensive ranks 9th in points (25.7), passing yards (265.5), and total yards (371.8) per game, but those numbers are bound to spiral downward with the still-wet-behind-the-ear Jones. Pittsburg will rely on defense to try and contain Brady, but try as they might, the online NFL betting odds will continue firmly on the Patriots’ side.