Monday NFL Betting – Steelers Go Without Brown vs. Lowly Texans
The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered a bitter loss last week at the hands of the New England Patriots, but they still have the opportunity to gain a home field advantage in the playoffs with a little help. So they will go on the road on Monday afternoon to face the Houston Texans in a game that will begin at 4:30 PM ET at NRG Stadium in Houston. This one will be televised in two different places – NBC and NFL Network, and while BetAnySports customers are watching it, they can place wagers in real time using the mechanism provided by Live Betting Ultra.
Pittsburgh took an eight-game winning streak into last week’s home game against the Patriots, and they led by eight points going into the fourth quarter. But New England rallied for 11 unanswered points, and Pittsburgh had a touchdown called back on a replay call at the very end, which is still controversial among Steelers fans. The result: a 27-24 loss, which became more costly because it looks like Antonio Brown will not be able to play either of the final two games of the season, having suffered a calf injury.
The Texans are playing out the string, and they look like they had already quit for the season as they faced the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. The Texans compiled only 186 yards and nine first downs in the 45-7 defeat. Quarterback TJ Yates was pressed into service due to a concussion suffered by Tom Savage and he went only 12-31 on the day. This season began with so much hope, and that was even more of it as rookie DeShaun Watson was leading this team to a lot of points. But when Watson went down with an injury, joining JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus on the injured reserve, it was pretty much the end of Houston season.
The Steelers are still champions of the AFC North, and they take a record of 11-3 straight-up (6-8 against the points) into this matchup. Houston is now 4-10 straight-up, having lost seven of its last eight games, and they are 7-7 against the number.
In the Monday NFL betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Steelers are laying a considerable number on the road:
Pittsburgh Steelers -9
Houston Texans +9
Over 46 points -110
Under 46 points -110
Yates is slated to get the start once again for the Texans, and maybe he will improve this time around. After all, he was the first quarterback ever to win a playoff game for this franchise. The Texans have some weapons to offer, if he can find some time to throw. DeAndre Hopkins has caught 88 passes for 1233 yards and 11 touchdowns, and no matter what kind of coverage Pittsburgh puts on him, it is still going to be difficult to shut him down. One of the keys will be whether RB Lamar Miller can get going. He’s got 764 yards, but only 32 of them came last week against the Jaguars.
There have been a lot of words on the part of Jadeveon Clowney this week, although it’s generally been toward Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles, who he has referred to as “trash.” Maybe that’s just a warning shot in advance of a possible playoff matchup, but Clowney will definitely be someone Houston relies on to put some pressure on Ben Roethlisberger. He has nine sacks for the season, but no one else on the roster has more than three. That’s the impact of losing guys like Watt and Mercilus.
The absence of Brown is big for Pittsburgh, because here was a guy with 99 catches for 1509 yards. So now it would appear that Juju Smith-Schuster (15.8 yds./catch), the rookie out of USC, will become the first option for Roethlisberger, with Le’Veon Bell getting his usual heavy dose of action out of the backfield. Bell has accounted for almost 1700 yards from scrimmage this season.
Pittsburgh has forced only two turnovers over the past four games, although with 41 sacks, they will have the pressure on. Is Texans’ coach Bill O’Brien in danger of losing his job? Games like last week are embarrassing, and Houston has scored only 52 points in the last four games it has played. From a psychological standpoint, it’s probably easier for Pittsburgh to rebound, so a double-digit victory on the road isn’t much of a stretch.
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