After starting 11-0, the Steelers floundered and dropped five of their last six games, including the Wild Card game against the Cleveland Browns. It begins a tumultuous offseason for Pittsburgh, who is dealing with rumors of Ben Roethlisberger retiring. Mike Tomlin is heralded as the ultimate players’ coach and has seen more success than almost any coach his age, but the recent failings of the Steelers at the end of seasons and in the playoffs has become an issue that can no longer be ignored.
Defensive stars Bud Dupree and Avery Williamson (led the NFL in tackles) are set to become unrestricted free agents, but defensive talent in Pittsburgh usually stays in Pittsburgh. The real issue at hand is the age of key players like Maurkice Pouncey and Cameron Heyward. There’s plenty of young talent in town, namely rookie Kevin Dotson and T.J. Watt, but the Steelers have plenty to address this offseason.
Will Pittsburgh run it back one more time with their current crew? Or is it finally rebuild time in the Steel City?
Pittsburgh Steelers odds
Best Steelers betting sites
Steelers futures odds
Steelers Super Bowl odds
The Pittsburgh Steelers were eliminated from the AFC Playoffs in the Wild Card round by the Cleveland Browns.
AFC North odds
The Pittsburgh Steelers clinched their fourth AFC North title in the last seven seasons and 23rd overall.
Steelers Win total
Like 2019, DraftKings lists the Steelers win total at 9 (implied record of 9-7). The return of Ben Roethlisberger helped their case, accounting for an implied worth of a win.
- Over 9 wins (-121)
- Under 9 wins (+100)
If the Steelers improve by two wins or more from last season and finish 10-6 or better, the over would win. If the Steelers finish 8-8 or worse, the under would win. If the Steelers finish exactly 9-7, then all bettors would receive their money back (known as a “push”).
Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 schedule and betting odds
|1||Monday, Sep. 14||7:15 ET||at NY Giants||Steelers -3.5|
|2||Sunday, Sep. 20||1:00 ET||vs. Denver||Steelers -5.5|
|3||Sunday, Sep. 27||1:00 ET||vs. Houston||Steelers -4.5|
|4||Sunday, Oct. 4||1:00 ET||at Tennessee||Titans -1|
|5||Sunday, Oct. 11||1:00 ET||vs. Philadelphia||Steelers +.5|
|6||Sunday, Oct. 18||1:00 ET||vs. Cleveland||Steelers -3.5|
|7||Sunday, Oct. 25||1:00 ET||vs. Baltimore||Ravens -8|
|9||Sunday, Nov. 8||4:25 ET||at Dallas||Cowboys -3.5|
|10||Sunday, Nov. 15||1:00 ET||vs. Cincinnati||Steelers -10|
|11||Sunday, Nov. 22||1:00 ET||at Jacksonville||Steelers -8.5|
|12||Thursday, Nov. 26||8:20 ET||at Baltimore||Ravens -3.5|
|13||Sunday, Dec. 6||1:00 ET||vs. Washington||Steelers -10.5|
|14||Sunday, Dec. 13||8:20 ET||at Buffalo||Bills -2.5|
|15||Monday, Dec. 21||8:15 ET||at Cincinnati||Steelers -6.5|
|16||Sunday, Dec. 27||1:00 ET||vs. Indianapolis||Steelers -2.5|
|17||Sunday, Jan. 3||1:00 ET||at Cleveland||TBD|
How to bet on the Steelers
Futures are long-term bets that can range from an offseason to a full season (or beyond). Team win totals, draft order, and player performance are common futures. For example:
Defensive Player of the Year
- Aaron Donald +700
- Nick Bosa +1000
- Khalil Mack +1200
- TJ Watt +1200
Aaron Donald is considered the favorite for this award at +700 (meaning a $100 would profit $700 if it wins). If the Steelers’ TJ Watt wins the award, a $100 bet would pay out $,1200 (plus the original $100 wager) if it wins.
Futures betting can be beneficial because it allows bettors to take players at value before they become favorites and maximize their winnings. If the above example were the odds from the 2019 preseason, bettors who took Michael Thomas +410 would have won $410 on a $100 bet (plus the initial $100 bet).
Other future bets can include league MVP, first overall draft pick, and division winners.
The simplest of bets is moneyline betting, decided by the winner and loser of each game. For example:
- Steelers -120
- Chargers +145
The Steelers are favorites in this example, requiring a $120 bet to win $100 (plus the initial $120 bet). The Chargers are the underdogs, paying out $245 total for a $100 bet ($145 in profits). Either team could win by one or 30, and the payout is the same.
Betting on the point spread is determinant on how much a team is favored by. Consider the following example:
- Steelers -2 (-110)
- Seahawks +2 (-110)
The Steelers are favored by two points, indicated by “-2”. To win this bet, Pittsburgh would need to win by at least a field goal and would have a total payout of $19.09 on a $10 bet ($9.09 in winnings). However, if Seattle loses by one, ties, or wins outright, they cover the spread and Seahawks +3 would win the bet (cashing out the same as listed before). If the Steelers win by exactly two, all bettors would receive their money back, referred to as a “push.”
Betting on total points removes winners and losers from the equation and instead is determinant on the total amount of points scored by one or both of the teams. Take the following example:
Falcons @ Steelers point total:
- Over 33.5 (-110)
- Under 33.5 (-110)
The total amount of points between the two teams would need to add up to at least 34 in order for the over to win; this could be a 18-16 final score or a 34-0 final score. If the two teams fail to combine for 34 points, then bets on the under would win, with a $19.09 total payout on a $10 bet ($9.09 in winnings). Rarely are over/under totals whole numbers to avoid pushes.
Betting on totals can come in the form of individual teams, as well. For example:
Steelers point total (@ Dallas Cowboys)
- Over 20.5 (-110)
- Under 20.5 (-110)
If the Steelers score 21 or more points against the Cowboys, the over would win with a $19.09 total payout on a $10 bet ($9.09 in winnings). If they score less than 21, the under would win with the same payout listed above. In betting totals, neither the point spread nor the winner matters.
Prop bets can vary widely, but are commonly based on individual player or team performance. For example, take the following prop:
James Conner rushing attempts vs. Baltimore
- O 13.5 (-110)
- U 13.5 (-110)
If James Conner carries the ball 14 or more times against the Ravens, the over would win in this example. If he carries the ball 13 times or less, the under would win, with a $19.09 total payout on a $10 bet ($9.09 in winnings).
Other prop bets can include: Team receiving yards against an opponent (over/under), will a skill player attempt a pass (yes/no), and winner of the Offensive Rookie of the Year (multiple options). Prop betting can take the stress out of winners, losers, and touchdowns scored and instead allow bettors to get excited for performances.
Coming off an injury, 17-year veteran Ben Roethlisberger is projected to pass for around 4,000 yards, per DraftKings. He has passed the 4,000-yard mark six times in his career and has hit at least 3,800 yards every season since 2013 (exception: 2019, where he played just one full game). If Big Ben passes for 4,0001 or more yards, the over (-110) would win, and bettors would receive a payout of $19.09 ($9.09 in winnings). If he fails to reach 4,001 yards, bettors who bet the under (-110) would receive the same payout ($19.09, $9.09 in winnings). DraftKings projects Roethlisberger to pass for 27.5 touchdowns, a mark he has also hit six times in his career.
Additional player props will come out as the offseason progresses. Possible props could include James Conner rushing yards and touchdowns, Eric Ebron receiving touchdowns, and TJ Watt total sacks.
In-play betting is betting that occurs after a game has started and before it ends. A common usage of in-play betting can be to pivot off bets that look like they aren’t panning out or just a quick-reaction cash out for those looking for a thrill. For example, if a bettor took Jacksonville (+250) to beat the Steelers, but Pittsburgh leads 38-0 at the half, a bettor could recover some of the lost money by accepting the Steelers at -650 odds at half. They could also use in-play player props to recover the money that will be lost.
Another usage of live betting that can be beneficial for comebacks. On the other side of the previous example, if Pittsburgh is down 27-0 at the half, but a bettor sees opportunity for a comeback, putting $10 on the Steelers at +800 odds would result in a $90 total payout on $10 ($80 in winnings) as opposed to a $19.09 payout pregame (assuming Pittsburgh is valued at -110).
Steelers 2019 recap
The Steelers opened 2019 by being plastered by the New England Patriots 33-3 on national TV. The next week, Ben Roethlisberger was lost for the season with an elbow injury and James Conner went down with a knee injury and Pittsburgh lost to Seattle at home. The replacement quarterbacks, Duck Hodges and Mason Rudolph, combined for just 2,828 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions for the season. The team averaged just 18 points per game (27th)– eight fewer points than 2018. Despite all of that, Pittsburgh was in playoff contention all season long and finished 8-8.
Traditionally, the Steelers are backed by a nasty defense, and 2019 was no exception; five of their eight losses were within a touchdown. They lead the NFL in takeaways (38), ranked top-five in points allowed per game and passing yards per game and held NFL MVP Lamar Jackson to 230 total yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Pittsburgh was able to weed out their quarterbacks as not franchise ones and avoided any dramatics doing so.
The final word for 2019: astounding. Sure, it was one fans would like to leave behind, but the composure of a team playing with a skeleton offense and a quarterback named “Duck” was remarkable. With that season now firmly in the past, Steeler fans are looking to forget it.
Steelers 2020 offseason moves
Key re-signing: S Jordan Dangerfield (one year)
Key free agent losses: DT Javon Hargrave (to PHI); LB Tyler Matakevich (to BUF); OG B.J. Finney (to SEA); CB Sean Davis (to WAS); TE Nick Vannett (to DEN); CB Artie Burns (to CHI); FB Roosevelt Nix (released, subsequently signed by IND)
Key free agent signings: FB Derek Watt (from LAC); TE Eric Ebron (from IND); C Stefan Wisniewski (from KC); CB Breon Borders (from WAS)
Key draft picks: WR Chase Claypool (2nd round); RB Anthony McFarland, Jr. (4th round)
It was a quiet free agency for the Steelers, who maintained the status quo as much as they could. The loss of Javon Hargrave is tough on the interior, but that issue should be addressed in a draft class with ample interior defensive linemen. Adding Eric Ebron to the offense gives Ben Roethlisberger a capable target, the first pass-catching tight end since Heath Miller. If Ebron can stay healthy all season, he should prove to be a valuable red zone target who soaks up touchdowns.