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Steelers vs Chargers Odds - Lack of pressure will let Big Ben, Steelers scrape by

Posted by Stan Simmons on 9/28/2009 11:14:46 AM
NFL betSteelers vs Chargers odds feature a pair of teams that have struggled this season with varying results. While both are scraping by, the Chargers are 2-1 to Pittsburgh's 1-2. Both trail in their respective divisions and could use sportsbook wins, though the Steelers are especially desperate after losing 23-20 to Cincinnati last week.

Steelers vs Chargers odds: Steelers -6; total 41.5

  • WHAT: NFL betting
  • WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 4 @ 8:20 p.m. ET
  • WHERE: Heinz Field
  • PICK: Steelers -6

Steelers vs Chargers odds maker breakdown: The Storyline
The defending Super Bowl Champions are reeling after a stunning loss to the Bengals last week. Suddenly, the Steelers are 1-2 and trailing the undefeated Ravens in the AFC North by two full games. By no means is Pittsburgh buried, but Baltimore has looked incredibly strong so far and while the Steelers have struggled to finish the job, losing their past two outings by a combined six points. They're desperate.

San Diego improved to 2-1 with a convincing win over the Dolphins last weekend. The Chargers trail 3-0 Denver in the AFC West and, while that's not a major concern for bettors—the Broncos are bound to collapse eventually—San Diego's piling injuries and inability to run the football are cause for concern moving forward.

Steelers vs Chargers odds maker breakdown: Offense
The Steelers' offense has been underwhelming at best thus far, scoring 13, 14 and 20 points. The running game, ranked 27th in the league, has been a nightmare. "Fast" Willie Parker looks anything but and he's averaging just 3.1 yards per carry this season. Against the Bengals last week he at least showed some signs of life, carrying 25 times for 93 yards. Until things get sorted out on the ground the Steelers will turn to Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben has been solid this season but he was hung out to dry last week by Santanio Holmes, his No. 1 receiver, after the speedster caught just one pass for 18 yards. Regardless, more balance is needed.

If anyone can emphasize with Pittsburgh's offensive woes, it's San Diego. The Chargers own the second-worst running game in the league. It's easy to blame it on LaDainian Tomlinson's injury, but even when the former Pro Bowler played there were few signs of explosiveness. Philip Rivers is carrying this team, averaging an incredible 330 yards per game. Rivers really came into his own during the stretch run last season and he's obviously picked up where things left off. Despite some issues, the Bolts are averaging a respectable 24.3 points per game.

Betting Edge: Chargers

Steelers vs Chargers odds maker breakdown: Defense
The Steel Curtain has held up its end of the bargain, ranking eighth in yardage while allowing just 16.7 points per game. Pittsburgh held the Bengals to less than 300 yards of total offense in last week's loss, largely because it suffocated Cincy on third down (the Bengals were just 3-12). The Steelers didn't create any turnovers, however, which is partly (and maybe largely) a product of Troy Polamalu's absence. There's no doubt this team misses its play-making safety.

The Chargers haven't delivered on defense as online betting fans expected. Once known for their great pressure, the Bolts have recorded a pitiful three sacks this season. They at least produced two takeaways against Miami, including a 31-yard interception for a touchdown by safety Eric Weddle, so perhaps they'll carry some momentum into NFL Week 4 odds.

Betting Edge: Steelers

Steelers vs Chargers odds maker breakdown: Notable Injuries
Both teams have been bitten by the injury bug. The Steelers would obviously love to have Polamalu back sooner than later, though he's still a few weeks away. Shawne Merriman left the Dolphins game with a groin injury; add him to the pile of Tomlinson, center Nick Hardwick and defensive tackle Jamal Williams.

Betting Edge: Steelers

Steelers vs Chargers odds for total: 41.5
Don't expect much explosiveness on offense from these squads—it's tough to rack up a ton of points when there's little balance between running and passing. Inefficiency in the red zone isn't helping other—the Steelers and Chargers combined to go 2-9 inside the 20 last week.

Pick: under 41.5

Steelers vs Chargers odds maker breakdown: Outlook and Pick
Neither team can run right now, meaning point-scoring falls on each quarterback's shoulders. While it favors Rivers and the Chargers on paper, they face a tough task against the Steelers defense, even without Polamalu. And considering San Diego can't get to the quarterback, Big Ben will have all day to pick apart the Chargers. Bet on Pittsburgh.

STAN'S PICK: Pittsburgh -6

Check in regularly with the Betting Edge to stay updated on Steelers vs Chargers odds and other NFL betting analysis.

Stan Simmons is one of's NFL experts.



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