Steelers Betting Odds: Could Pittsburgh Overtake Bengals In AFC North?
As the 2023 NFL regular season gets underway, one team flying under the radar is Mike Tomlin‘s Steelers. They currently slot in as the longest shot in AFC North odds. Pittsburgh could be primed for ascension. So let’s examine Steelers betting odds to see if the price matches the range of outcomes.
Click on any of the Steelers betting odds below to place a wager from the best sports betting sites.
POTENTIAL PICKETt LEAP
Despite fans begging for offensive coordinator Matt Canada to be fired, Steelers brass let him stay on for a third season as the play-caller. The team finished 26th in points per game with 18.1 and 22nd in redzone offense a year ago.
Mitch Trubisky struggled the first month of the season and was eventually benched at halftime of their Week 4 loss to the Jets. He would only see action down the stretch when Pickett was injured. Pickett suffered a concussion early in the first quarter against Baltimore in Week 14, a Steelers loss. A healthy Pickett and a second year in the offense should give Steelers fans optimism.
After their Week 9 bye last season, the Steelers offense logged a top-four offensive EPA during their impressive 7-2 closeout to the season. During the stretch, Pickett led game-winning drives in the 4th quarter against the Colts, Raiders, and Ravens. Stretches of game-winning drives like that are rare — even more so from rookie quarterbacks. If Pickett repeats his performance from late last season, perhaps he’s an intriguing longshot in NFL MVP odds at .
For what it’s worth, Pickett posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the preseason.
Second-year receiver Calvin Austin III had foot surgery, causing him to miss most of his rookie campaign. Austin enters a crowded receiver room in Pittsburgh but has one thing the other receivers don’t have — elite speed. Diontae Johnson and George Pickens are fantastic talents, but neither possesses Austin’s speed to take the top of a defense. They also added Allen Robinson, who doesn’t have any separation speed whatsoever but does provide a red-zone target for Pickett.
To address an offensive line that ranked bottom 10 in pass blocking (via PFF), the Steelers drafted OT Broderick Jones. Jones slots in as the backup left tackle to begin the season, but starter Dan Moore Jr. allowed 39 pressures (tied for 13th most) a year ago.
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DEFENSE PRIMED TO TAKE OVER AFC NORTH
From a defensive standpoint, the Steelers should take a natural leap back to a top unit if T.J. Watt can stay healthy. Watt missed seven games a year ago with a torn pec. The Steelers defense ranked 31st in EPA with Watt out. Furthermore, the pass rush was putrid, accumulating a bottom-three pressure rate in 2022. Before last season, they had not finished outside the top 10 in pressure rate since Watt was drafted. Alex Highsmith notched a team-high 14.5 sacks, but he’s viewed as the beneficiary of Watt facing double teams, as 11 of his sacks came when Watt played.
Pittsburgh revamped their secondary by adding veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson in free agency and drafting Joey Porter Jr. in round two. While Peterson is on the back end of his career, Porter enters the fray with a chance to bolster a defense that finished bottom-12 in coverage last season (via PFF). The rookie from Penn State is unlikely to have a campaign like Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner had, but he can stabilize a unit that yielded 17 touchdowns to wide receivers a year ago (fourth most).
FINAL THOUGHTS ON STEELERS ODDS
Catapulting in front of Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson in the AFC North is a tall task, but the Steelers have Tomlin at the helm, who has never had a losing season. Combine an ascending quarterback with a healthy pass rusher in Watt — the Steelers are poised to make the AFC North a nightmare for their opponents once again.
If you think winning the AFC North is too steep a hill for Tomlin’s squad to climb, perhaps a bet on the Steelers to make the playoffs at is the better route. Best of luck with Steelers betting odds!
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