Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos. Sunday, December 20, 4.25pm. Heinz Field.
THERE wasn’t much doubt in people’s minds that Broncos ‘fill-in’ quarterback Brock Osweiler was going to take over from the injured Peyton Manning, but doubt was cast after a poor performance last week.
Denver came up against the Oakland Raiders and after leading 12-0 at halftime thanks for four field goals, Osweiler and the Broncos were unable to find anything in the second half, losing 12-15.
Osweiler was more than disappointing after looking good earlier in the season and things don’t get any easier for the 10-3 Broncos as they come up against one of the form teams in the competition.
The Steelers have a record of 8-5 which is good in a tough AFC South conference and with Ben Roethlisberger at the quarterback position, their play has improved significantly. ‘Big Ben’ is a key to the Steelers success and after a strong win over Cincinnati last weekend, the Steelers have firmed in on the NFL title markets.
This shapes up to be one of the most important NFL games this season as the Broncos can’t afford another loss with AFC West rival Kansas City sitting right on their bumper. The Steelers also need to keep up with the Bengals and a win here would take them to within one game.
It all goes down this Sunday at Heinz Field so sign up to Bovada and be apart of the great NFL action.
Steelers vs. Broncos betting odds and history
The Steelers have played the Broncos only four times in the last six years and have an inferior record. They have lost three of four, but all three losses came at Mile High Stadium. In fact, all four games have been played in Denver so the Steelers will enjoy welcoming Denver to some home town hospitality.
Entering this important game, the Steelers have won four of their last five with their only loss coming to the Seattle Seahawks 39-30. They have rebounded well with a 45-10 win against the Colts, followed by an upset win over the Bengals last week.
Bookmakers have opened the Steelers up as -280 favourites with a -6.5 spread which is better than the -7 being offered offshore.
Steelers -280 (-6.5)
Broncos +230 (+6.5)
The Steelers are favoured to win by just less than a touchdown which is important for bettors. If the line was -7 and the Steelers won by seven points exactly, then the bet would become a push. If you’re going to bet on the Steelers, it’s best to get the -6.5 while it lasts.
Pittsburgh have done well against the spread this season with a 7-4-2 record having won four games ATS at home. The Broncos have a similar record of 7-5-1, but they are undefeated ATS as an underdog which bettors should make note of.
There are some teams that play better as the underdog and it appears the Broncos are one of those teams. If Brock Osweiler can put together some lengthy drives and keep the Steelers defence on the field, then they could steal an away win at a crucial time of the season.
Team stats and injury report
This is a classic offence vs. defence match-up with the Steelers offence putting up big numbers and the Broncos defence keeping teams to under 18 points per game.
Denver have a number of injury problems, none more so than Peyton Manning, and this is where the Steelers could hold the deciding advantage.
Pittsburgh team stats and injury list:
Points per game: 26.5
Points allowed: 20.0
Total yards: 418.0
Yards passing: 297.9
Yards rushing: 120.1
Yards allowed: 384.5
Pass yards allowed: 296.2
Rush yards allowed: 88.3
Ben Roethlisberger stats: 231-344. 2989 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 intercepts.
Steelers injury list: William Gay (Cornerback, probable), Heath Miller (Tight end, questionable).
Denver team stats and injury list:
Points per game: 21.6
Points allowed: 17.3
Total yards: 354.7
Yards passing: 255.4
Yards rushing: 99.3
Yards allowed: 294.8
Pass yards allowed: 201.5
Rush yards allowed: 84.3
Brock Osweiler stats: 125-200. 1299 yards with six touchdowns and three intercepts.
Denver injury report: Vernon Davis (Tight end, probable), Ronnie Hillman (running back, probable), Peyton Manning (quarterback, questionable), C.J Anderson (running back, questionable), Owen Daniels (tight end, questionable).
Steelers vs. Broncos – who will win?
We think the Steelers will continue on their winning way, but the Broncos love to play the underdog as they have already shown three times this season.
That makes them very dangerous against the Steelers, but young Brock Osweiler will have to be much more efficient than he was last week against Oakland.
This Steelers defence might not be as good as it has been in past years, but they can still rush the passer so Osweiler will need a quick release.
The Steelers are trending positively and the Broncos are heading in the other direction. Based on that, we’ll stick with the Steelers -6.5 (-101) at Bovada.