2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Preview
The Steelers started last season by winning 11 straight games and then lost five of their last six, including a shocking playoff defeat to the Browns in a game they trailed 28-0 after the first quarter. Ben Roethlisberger may be nearing the end of his career as he enters his age 39 season. Still, he looks to be in great shape and is excited to be learning a reportedly brand new offense under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
Pittsburgh has a star-studded wide receiver group featuring Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. They ran for the fewest yards in the league last year, though, so they went out and got Najee Harris in the first round. The former Alabama running back should immediately help this team be much more difficult to predict.
Defensively, the Steelers have been one of the best teams in the NFL over the past few years with such elite talent as T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick, among others. Keith Butler returns as the defensive coordinator after the Steelers allowed the third-fewest points per game in the NFL, and Pittsburgh should have one of the best defenses in the league yet again.
2020 Pittsburgh Steelers Team Stats
Points For: 416 (26.0 per game), 12th of 32
Points Against: 312 (19.5 per game), 3rd of 32
Passing Yards Per Game: 250.2
Rushing Yards Per Game: 84.4
Passing Yards Allowed Per Game: 194.3
Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game: 111.4
Key Offseason Transactions
The Steelers had the worst rushing offense in the NFL last year, and they devoted their offseason to solving that problem. Najee Harris enters the fold after running for 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns in his senior season at Alabama as James Conner departed in free agency for the Cardinals. Harris is a tremendous athlete and will be a defining piece of this offense right away.
Pittsburgh also completely remade its offensive line over the offseason. Center Maurkice Pouncey retired while offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva and offensive guard Matt Feiler joined new teams in free agency. Offensive guard David DeCastro remains unsigned. That leaves Chukwuma Okorafor the only returning starter on the offensive line; he’ll switch from right tackle to the left side to replace Villanueva.
Pittsburgh signed Trai Turner in free agency, and he’s expected to start at offensive guard and second-year pro Kevin Dotson. Fellow free agency pickups B.J. Finney, Joe Haeg, Chaz Green, and Rashaad Coward will compete with the incumbents on the team for the other starting spots.
Bud Dupree left for greener pastures in free agency as he joined the Titans on a massive 5-year, $82 million contract. Melvin Ingram was brought in to replace Dupree, and he’ll compete for a starting spot with Alex Highsmith and Cassius Marsh. Additionally, the Steelers lost cornerback Mike Hilton in free agency and will look to replace him with incumbents Justin Layne, James Pierre, and Arthur Maulet.
In addition to Harris, the Steelers drafted tight end Pat Freiermeuth after Eric Ebron had a troubling season. Kendrick Green was an awesome pickup as a high-upside interior offensive lineman, while Buddy Johnson and Quincy Roche will help fill out the team’s front seven depth. In all, this was a pretty solid offseason for the Steelers.
2020 Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Stats
ATS +/-: 1.1
Total +/-: +2.7
2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Preview
The Steelers were an awesome team to bet on last season, particularly during their 11-0 start to the season. They finished with the sixth-best record overall and the sixth-best record against the spread. Pittsburgh plays in a tough division with the Ravens and Browns, both playoff teams last season, and the Bengals are expected to be much improved with a full season of health from second-year quarterback Joe Burrow.
Pittsburgh also has to face the unfortunate reality of the toughest schedule in the NFL based on cumulative win percentage from last season. That schedule includes matchups against several playoff teams from last season, including the Bills, Packers, Seahawks, Bears, Titans, and Chiefs, in addition to their tough division. That brutal schedule likely makes the Steelers a difficult team to rely on in betting this season.
The Steelers had one of the best defenses in the league last year, but it wasn’t reflected in their over-under record as they were about even in terms of the points total in their games. As their offense looks to become more balanced with the addition of Najee Harris, they likely won’t be a very high-scoring team this year, but there also won’t be a ton of variance, so they should be an easy team for Vegas to project.
Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl Odds
The Steelers have won six Super Bowls in their franchise history, including two with Ben Roethlisberger, and they will believe this roster has all of the pieces to make a championship push again this season. The Steelers currently have +4400 odds to win the Super Bowl, tied with the Cardinals and just behind the Broncos and Saints. Pittsburgh has a complete roster top-to-bottom and an excellent coaching staff led by Mike Tomlin. They play in a very tough division, but I believe there is a strong value at +4400 for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Steelers Playoff Odds
It’s going to be a difficult path to the playoffs for the Steelers in a division with the Ravens and Browns, especially given their schedule, which is the most difficult in the NFL. With all of that stacked against them, the Steelers currently have +170 odds to make the postseason. The Steelers had missed the playoffs in two straight seasons before last year, but they made it to the postseason four straight seasons before that. Pittsburgh’s defense is good enough to get it to 8 wins as we saw in 2019, and the veteran leadership of Roethlisberger should take this team over the top to make the postseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers Win Total Odds
The line for the Steelers wins total is set at 8.5 even though they’ve won 8 or more games in every season since 2003 and 9+ games in six of the last seven seasons. Pittsburgh does face an uphill battle with their schedule, but the likes of Minkah Fitzpatrick, T.J. Watt, and Cameron Heyward make this one of the best defenses in the NFL, and there is a ton of talent on offense. If the new-look offensive line comes together this season, it’s difficult to imagine the Steelers finishing under .500.
Pittsburgh Steelers Players Futures Odds
Ben Roethlisberger is 39 years old and certainly nearing the end of his career, but he’s fired up for this season and good reason with all of the elite talent at his disposal. Roethlisberger is listed at to win the MVP below players like Sam Darnold, Cam Newton, and Drew Lock, and I can’t help but feel like that’s phenomenal value. He’s never won the MVP award, but this could be the season for him to do it, and these odds are criminally low.
The most notable award candidate on the Steelers is Najee Harris, the first-round running back out of Alabama, whose odds to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award are . He’s the top running back in terms of odds for OROY and is only listed behind Trevor Lawrence and Kyle Pitts, while he’s tied with 49ers’ quarterback Trey Lance.
T.J. Watt is also a notable award candidate as he has odds to win Defensive Player of the Year behind only Aaron Donald and Myles Garrett. In just four NFL seasons, Watt has made three Pro Bowls and has two First-Team All-Pro nods. Watt racked up 15 sacks and 23 tackles for a loss, both career-highs, in just 15 games last year. He was a close runner-up for the award last season and could breakthrough this year.