Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)
Opening Spread: Steelers +8.5.
Opening Game Total: 42.5.
Team Totals: Steelers (17), Buccaneers (25.5)
Weather: Outdoors, no current concerns.
The Line Report
- This line opened as Steelers +8.5.
- This line remains at Steelers +8.5 as of Thursday night.
- DraftKings Pick’Em has the Steelers +7.5.
- Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Steelers +8.
- This total opened at 42.5 points.
- This total has moved up to 43.5 points as of Thursday night.
Steelers: IR: Edge T.J. Watt. Out: TE Pat Freiermuth, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Cameron Sutton, CB Levi Wallace, S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Questionable: C Mason Cole, DL Larry Ogunjobi, S Terrell Edmunds.
Buccaneers: Questionable: WR Chris Godwin, WR Julio Jones, TE Cameron Brate, LT Donovan Smith, DL Akiem Hicks, CB Sean Murphy-Bunting, S Mike Edwards.
The Steelers Offense vs. Buccaneers Defense
The Buccaneers have a fringe top-10 front, and they’ll be facing a bottom-tier Steelers offensive line. The Buccaneers have a significant edge in the trenches in this matchup.
- The Steelers are 1-3-1 against the spread this season.
- The Steelers are 2-3 on overs this season.
- Kenny Pickett is 0-1 against the spread in his career.
- Kenny Pickett is 0-1 on overs in his career.
- Mike Tomlin is 124-117-5 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
- Mike Tomlin is 108-135-3 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.
- The Steelers are scoring 15.4 points per game, which is 30th in the league.
- Pittsburgh is 22nd in the league in yards passing per game and 29th in yards rushing.
- Per the Edge, among running backs, Najee Harris is 30th in yards rushing and 36th in yards receiving.
- Diontae Johnson leads the Steelers with a 28.1% target share and a 35.5% air yards share.
- George Pickens has a 16.3% target share and a 27.6% air yards share.
- Chase Claypool has a 16.3% target share and an 18.2% air yards share.
- Pat Freiermuth has an 18% target share and a 14.1% air yards share.
- Per TruMedia, Diontae Johnson has played 252 snaps on the perimeter and 21 in the slot.
- George Pickens has played 207 snaps on the perimeter and 22 in the slot.
- Chase Claypool has played 52 snaps on the perimeter, four as an inline tight end, and 214 in the slot.
- Pat Freiermuth has played 164 snaps as an inline tight end, seven on the perimeter and 49 in the slot.
- The Buccaneers have allowed 16.6 points per game, which is sixth in the league.
- Per The Edge, the Buccaneers have allowed the 16th-most yards rushing and the fewest yards receiving to running backs this season.
- Tampa Bay has allowed the 19th-most yards receiving on the 17th-most receptions to wide receivers this year.
- Tampa Bay has allowed the ninth-most PPR points to wide receivers lined up in the slot.
- The Buccaneers have given up the ninth-most yards receiving on the third-most receptions to tight ends this season.
- The Buccaneers have given up the fifth-most PPR points to tight ends lined up in the slot.
The Buccaneers Offense vs. the Steelers Defense
With Donovan Smith back at left tackle, the Buccaneers have a top-10 caliber offensive line with vulnerabilities at left guard and center. Even without T.J. Watt, the Steelers have a fringe top-10 front. From a macro sense, this is a relative draw in the trenches, though the Steelers interior could be a problem for Buccaneers left guard Luke Goedeke and center Robert Hainsey.
- The Buccaneers are 2-3 against the spread this season.
- The Buccaneers are 1-4 on overs this season.
- Tom Brady is 186-124-11 against the spread in his career.
- Tom Brady is 167-152-2 on overs in his career.
- Todd Bowles is 34-34-4 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
- Todd Bowles is 36-36 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.
- The Buccaneers are scoring 20.6 points per game, which is tied for 19th in the league.
- Tampa Bay is third in the league in yards passing per game and 31st in yards rushing.
- Per the Edge, Leonard Fournette has the 21st-most yards rushing and the third-most yards receiving among running backs this year.
- Rookie running back Rachaad White has nine total targets over the last two games.
- Five Buccaneers wide receivers have at least 100 snaps this season, and Julio Jones isn’t one of them.
- Mike Evans has a team-leading 17.8% target share with a 30% air yards share.
- Chris Godwin has a 14.7% target share with an 11% air yards share. Godwin has played limited snaps in multiple games this season.
- Russell Gage has a 15.7% target share, but a 13-target game largely drove that against the Packers in Week 3.
- Cameron Brate has a 13% target share with a 14.1% air yards share.
- Per TruMedia, Mike Evans has played 150 snaps on the perimeter and 51 in the slot.
- Chris Godwin has played 31 snaps on the perimeter, one as an inline tight end, and 72 in the slot.
- Russell Gage has played 98 snaps on the perimeter and 107 in the slot.
- The Steelers have allowed 25.6 points per game, tied for 26th in the league.
- Per The Edge, the Steelers have allowed the 11th-most yards rushing and the 16th-most yards receiving to running backs this season.
- Pittsburgh has allowed the most yards receiving on the fourth-most receptions to wide receivers this year.
- Pittsburgh has allowed the third-most PPR points to perimeter wide receivers and the most to wide receivers lined up in the slot this year.
- The Steelers have given up the 15th-most yards receiving on the 22nd-most receptions.
This is What You’re Betting On in Steelers vs. Buccaneers
A bet on the Steelers is a bet on a rebuilding Pittsburgh team. The Steelers offense has a talented skill group but a bottom-tier offensive line. Kenny Pickett has already shown some promise in his first two games, but this is a less-than-ideal situation for a rookie quarterback. Even the Steelers defense has not played particularly well over the last three games. If you’re betting on the Steelers, you’re betting on more consistency from virtually every aspect of their football operation. The biggest issue there is you’re making that kind of bet against Tom Brady, who has torched the Steelers more often than not throughout his career.
A bet on the Buccaneers is a bet on Tampa Bay’s defense limiting a struggling Steelers offense. You couldn’t have really asked for much more out of the Buccaneers defense through the first five games. Outside of their shelling by the Chiefs, which could happen to anyone, the Buccaneers haven’t let anyone else score more than 15 points in their other four games.
Tampa Bay’s offense has been an average group to this point in the season, and they are getting back their key skill position players, so there is a path to improvement even though they are significantly worse at left guard and center than they were last season. Including the postseason, Tom Brady is 12-3 against the Steelers in his career. Pittsburgh’s secondary is banged up, which makes this a potential get-well spot for the Buccaneers passing attack. If they underwhelm like they did last week against Atlanta, that may be the new reality for this offense.
On a DFS slate where the Chiefs vs. Bills will be the natural chalk, Steelers vs. Buccaneers presents some exciting options. Brady is well positioned to exceed expectations against a struggling, injury-ravaged Steelers pass defense. On the other side of things, you generally have to throw on the Buccaneers to beat them. Pittsburgh has a good group of young skill players with above-average ceilings in this contest. The inconsistency of both teams is why I’d rather play this game in DFS than betting the over.
Buccaneers vs. Steelers Pool Picks
Awards Market Ramifications: Tom Brady is a fading longshot candidate in the MVP race. Kenny Pickett has a path in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race, but a narrow one.
Winner/ Confidence Pool: The Steelers would be a very aggressive differentiator option in winner pools with weekly payouts. The Buccaneers will be toward the top of confidence pool rankings.
Spread Pool: Right now, I’m going to avoid this game in ATS tournaments, but I will play this game in DFS this week and keep my eye out for some props once those open. I’m going to specifically look at Chris Godwin overs, and potentially Najee Harris rushing unders.
Survivor Pool: If you didn’t use the Buccaneers last week, they are among the stronger options in Survivor Pools on this slate.
Ryan’s recent betting record:
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 17-8
Props 2022: 16-10
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