NFL Week 9 Best Bets: Bears vs. Steelers Monday Night Football Picks

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Diontae Johnson #18 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nick Cammett/Getty Images/AFP.

The Chicago Bears (3-5) will take their 31st-ranked scoring offense to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers (4-3) and their No. 7 scoring defense led by T.J. Watt. Pittsburgh has won three in a row after starting 1-3. The Bears have lost three in a row, but no one plays down to the competition quite like Mike Tomlin’s Steelers. With that said, let’s get into the NFL odds.

Chicago Bears vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Monday, November 08, 2021 – 08:15 PM EST at Heinz Field

The Steelers (3-4 ATS) are a 6-point favorite at many of BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. The over is 2-6 in Chicago games and 1-5-1 in Pittsburgh games this season, so it could be a low-scoring night with a projected total of 40 points. Pittsburgh has won its last 18 home games that kick off on a Monday night. Can the Bears end that streak and improve to 4-0 against Tomlin?

Chicago Offense vs. Pittsburgh Defense

This is the biggest weakness vs. strength matchup in the game. The Bears have only been able to score a season-high 24 points against the lowly Lions. Chicago averages the fewest touchdowns per drive in the league and the second-fewest yards per drive this season.

Pittsburgh is one of the best defenses the Bears will see. The Steelers rank sixth in yards per drive, 11th in points, but they could be much better at takeaways where they currently rank 27th. But Pittsburgh has been strong in the red zone and on third down, two areas where the Bears rank 26th and 28th.

On the bright side, the Bears had a decent offensive showing in their 33-22 loss to the 49ers on Sunday. It was the defense that was the bigger letdown. But Justin Fields finally used his legs more and rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown. He needs to do more of that as his passing is still not developing fast enough.

Fields remains ranked last in QBR (23.1) and this could be a game for T.J. Watt to make his case for Defensive Player of the Year if the Bears don’t block him well.

It just does not look feasible for the Bears to hang in this game without winning the turnover battle. Chicago has as many games without a takeaway (four) as it does with takeaways this season. Pittsburgh has yet to get multiple takeaways in any game this season, but if there was a matchup for that to change, this would be the one.

Steelers: Safe and Steady

There are three teams in the NFL this season who have yet to have a game with 400 yards of offense. The Steelers and Bears are two of them, and it is hard to see this being the game where they suddenly get prolific on that side of the ball.

For the Steelers, they just have to be smart and steady with the offense in this matchup as the Bears will not be able to score much without the benefit of short fields from turnovers.

Pittsburgh only has two multi-turnover games this season, but the ideal number is no more than one here. Keep running the ball with Najee Harris behind an improving offensive line.

The use of two tight ends in Cleveland was successful, and Ben Roethlisberger has started to find rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth more now that JuJu Smith-Schuster is out for the season. This seems like the right plan for the offense going forward, but it remains to be seen if they’ll go back to more short throws to the wide receivers instead of going big with tight ends.

Kicker Chris Boswell suffered a concussion on a fake field goal on Sunday and remains in the concussion protocol. Pittsburgh has added a kicker (Josh Lambo) to the practice squad just in case Boswell can’t go on Monday night. That ludicrous call and injury likely cost the Steelers an extra five points in Cleveland on Sunday, so it is important to have a capable kicker.

Chris Boswell #9 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP.

Despite the Bears having a defensive reputation, this year’s unit ranks 27th in yards and 25th in points per drive allowed. The Steelers are simply better on both sides of the ball than Chicago right now, but crazier things have happened before in Pittsburgh.

Prediction

Make no mistake about it, the Steelers are going to give their fanbase a heart attack or two in these upcoming home matchups with the Bears and Lions. It looks like a huge opportunity to go to 6-3, but as fans of the team know, they usually blow one of these games each year.

But my gut says this is one for the defense to shine against a bad offense and a rookie quarterback who cannot shred them with his arm. Fields holding the ball long against Watt and company should spell bad news for the Bears in this matchup.

I like the Steelers to cover for your NFL picks, then we can worry about them blowing it at home against the winless Lions in Week 10.

NFL Pick: Steelers -6 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Steelers -6 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.