One of the best rivalries in the AFC – at least back in the 1970s – is renewed on Sunday when the Raiders visit the Steelers. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Track Bets
Sunday, September 19, 2021 – 01:00 PM EDT at Heinz Field
It’s a pair of 1-0 teams facing off Sunday afternoon when the Las Vegas Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers meet for the 30th time in history. The Raiders lead the all-time series 16-13 with six of those coming in the postseason – the two franchises had a few incredibly memorable playoff games in the 1970s, including of course the Immaculate Reception on Dec. 23, 1972, by Steelers Hall of Famer Franco Harris at the old Three Rivers Stadium.
This will be the first time, though, that the “Las Vegas” Raiders face the Steelers. The most recent meeting was Week 14 of the 2018 season when the Raiders were still in Oakland and they won that day at home 24-21. Derek Carr threw a 6-yard TD pass with 21 seconds left. Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell slipped on a potential game-tying 40-yard field goal attempt on the final play.
The underdog is 4-0 ATS on NFL picks in the past four meetings – each time being the Raiders.
Raiders on Short Week
It’s a short week for the Silver & Black as they won a wild Monday night game over the visiting Baltimore Ravens, 33-27 in overtime. Baltimore led 14-0 in the second quarter and had never lost a regular-season game under John Harbaugh when leading by at least 14 points (had been 81-0).
Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson sent it to OT on a 55-yard field goal with two seconds in regulation. Vegas looked like it blew the game early in OT when Derek Carr was picked off on third-and-goal at the Baltimore 5, but Ravens QB Lamar Jackson fumbled on the ensuing possession and Carr won it on a 31-yard TD pass to Zay Jones.
Carr finished with 435 yards passing, the second-most on Monday Night Football over the past 10 seasons (Patrick Mahomes with 478 vs Rams in 2018), and his seventh career 400-yd game, tying Daryle Lamonica for the most such games in Raiders history. On passes of at least 10 yards downfield, Carr was 0-for-6 in the first quarter and 8-for-12 the rest of the game.
Las Vegas played without starting guard Richie Incognito due to a right calf injury and it’s not clear if he will play in this one. He was replaced by John Simpson, a 2020 fourth-round pick who appeared in seven games and started two last year. That Vegas offensive line featured four new starters when including Simpson. Right tackle Alex Leatherwood, the Raiders' 2021 first-round pick, made his NFL debut and looked a bit overwhelmed at times.
Defensively, tackle Gerald McCoy and end Yannick Ngakoue both left with injuries and it’s still too early to tell on them this Sunday. Ngakoue didn’t have a sack but was pressuring Jackson all night. The Raiders are 7-17 ATS on NFL picks in their past 24 after a win.
Steelers Not Great Offensively in Win
Nine betting underdogs won outright in Week 1. The Raiders were one and so were the Steelers, who were +6.5 at Buffalo and prevailed 23-16. Down 10-0 at the half, Pittsburgh scored 20 consecutive points. Chris Boswell essentially clinched the win with on a 45-yard field goal with 2:24 left.
In what was likely the final Week 1 game of his Hall of Fame career, Ben Roethlisberger was 18-for-32 for 188 yards and a TD. First-round rookie running back Najee Harris, among the Offensive Rookie of the Year betting favorites, was largely held in check with 45 yards on 16 carries.
Pittsburgh had just 252 yards so that’s a concern, but it didn’t turn the ball over and had a special teams touchdown. The Steelers started six rookies, including two on the offensive line in left tackle Dan Moore Jr. and center Kendrick Green.
Linebacker TJ Watt, among the NFL betting favorites for Defensive Player of the Year (after finishing second in 2020), had two sacks and five QB hits just a few days after getting the biggest contract by a defender in league history in terms of guaranteed money ($80 million).
It doesn’t appear the Steelers suffered any major injuries in Week 1. This is obviously Pittsburgh’s home opener. It has a 51-34-3 (.597) record in home openers, including an 11-3 (.786) mark under head coach Mike Tomlin.
The Steelers have played host to the Raiders three times for their home opener. Pittsburgh won in 2004 (24-21) and 1972 (34-28) but lost in 2002 (30-17). Since Heinz Field opened in 2001, the Steelers are 16-4 (.800) in their first home game of the season.
The Steelers are 5-1 ATS on the NFL odds in their past six in September and 8-3 ATS in their past 11 following a win. With the Raiders on a short week, I’m giving the points.
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