Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Betting Predictions, Odds and Expert Best Bets
Best Bet – Pittsburgh Steelers Under 9 wins (-105)
Worst Bet – Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl 54 (+2000)
The Steelers had a frustrating year in 2018, missing the playoffs with a record of 9-6-1. They saw their franchise running back, LeVeon Bell, basically boycott the season and then leave afterwards to go to the New York Jets. Luckily for them, the Steelers had James Connor step up, and the Pittsburgh product had a very solid season. Conner ended up rushing for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns. With an aging Big Ben under center, I can easily see Conner surpassing this total in 2019. He probably will have to if the Steelers are going to be any kind of threat. We know Big Ben can still sling the ball, but a strong running game is key to the future success of this team.
As for their receiving corp, the Steelers lost top option Antonio Brown. This was a similar situation to Bell, in that Brown did not seem to get along with Pittsburgh management. Also, the rise of JuJu Smith-Schuster caused Brown to get fewer touches, something he could not handle. JuJu proved himself in 2018, racking up 1,426 yards and 7 touchdowns. He needs to take an even bigger step in 2019 now that Brown is gone. JuJu is poised to take on the role as the number one receiving option, but whether he can truly replace Brown or not remains to be seen.
Perhaps the biggest addition in terms of the draft was the selection of Benny Snell Jr. Snell excelled at the University of Kentucky and put up some great numbers. Snell Jr. gives this running back group some depth, and he can be a guy that comes in to give Conner a break. Considering the Steelers were 31st in the NFL in rushing yards per game (96.1), Snell Jr. will be a welcome addition to this backfield.
The defense returns most of the starters in 2019. The Steelers’ defense aka “The Steel Curtain”, allowed an average of 22.5 points per game, which ranked 17th in the NFL. As for their rushing defense, they allowed 96.1 yards per game (6th), while their pass defense allowed 231.1 yards per game (10th). Those are some decent defensive numbers, so it is strange that they struggled as much as they did. Part of the reason was the Steelers had a turnover ratio of -11, so their defense worked with a short field quite often. If the offense can correct these turnover issues, the defense will likely play much better.
Pittsburgh Steelers Win Total: O/U 9 Wins
The Steelers ended the year with 9 wins exactly in 2018. They could have easily had more but failed to close out a few games. The total is set at 9 wins again and I think that’s a very fair number. With both Brown and Bell gone, the Steelers lost a ton of offensive production. JuJu is their best receiver, but they no longer have that one-two combo in their receiving corp. Big Ben is aging and is still prone to throwing way too many interceptions. Their defense is solid, but I feel they will be on the field way too often and will start to break down.
As for their schedule, they open on the road against the Patriots, host the Rams in Week 10, and travel to LA to play the Chargers in Week 6. They are prone to struggles in their division, so several losses to the Ravens, Browns and Bengals are likely. Their schedule does not look like the hardest, but I do not trust them to improve on last year’s season.
My lean would be the under for this prop as I just do not think they will be as good on the offensive end.
Odds to make the playoffs: Yes -115, No -115
The Steelers missed the playoffs last year and I do not see them making it again in 2019. I just cannot see who will fill the role of Brown. Yes, JuJu will get his numbers, but after that, who will be the guy that steps up? Donte Moncrief? Not likely.
As for the running game, Conner proved he can play at a high level, but even he had games where he really struggled. If they cannot get the running game going, it will lead to Big Ben throwing far too many passes. The problem with that is Big Ben has issues with throwing interceptions, which will only get worse with increased volume.
My lean would be on the ‘No’ in terms of making the playoffs. At best I think the Steelers will be competing for a wild card spot, and I think there are much better teams in the AFC that can take this spot from them.
Odds to win AFC North: +195
The Steelers finished second in the AFC North last season behind the Baltimore Ravens, and that was with Brown playing. Now the Browns have added some big pieces and the Ravens have improved their defense with guys like Earl Thomas. Even the Bengals could prove to be an issue now that their guys are coming back healthy. I do not believe the Steelers will have enough offensive firepower to hang around in this division.
Even though the Steelers have the second-best odds to win the AFC North, I do not see much value here with some of their biggest playmakers having left the team.
Odds to win AFC Championship: +1100
I must assume the Patriots will be the same ole Patriots. The Steelers might’ve finally beat them in the regular season last year, but I don’t see them getting past them in the playoffs if they’re fortunate enough to make it.
Picking the Steelers to win the AFC Championship would be like giving money away. Stay away from this prop.
Odds to win Super Bowl 54: +2000
Knowing that Bell and Brown are gone convinces me to stay away from this prop.
I would never recommend taking the Steelers to win the Super Bowl given the state they are in, as 20/1 just doesn’t provide any value.