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Vikings vs Steelers Odds - Minny can't pierce revived Steel Curtain

Posted by Stan Simmons on 10/19/2009 1:54:28 PM
football linesVikings vs Steelers odds pit two great offenses and two somewhat underachieving defense against each other this week. But with redemption on the line for Minnesota's "D" and the Steelers flying high after Troy Polamalu returned from injury, who's the better pick at the sportsbook?

Vikings vs Steelers odds: Steelers -4 (Totals 45.5)

  • WHAT: NFL Week 7 betting
  • WHEN: Sunday, October 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • WHERE: Heinz Field
  • KEY STAT: Pittsburgh is 2-0 with Polamalu in the lineup this year
  • PICK: Steelers -4

Vikings vs Steelers odds maker breakdown: The Storyline
Minnesota improved to 6-0 with an impressive win over the Ravens. The Vikings' balanced offense was once again on display, but the defense showed some chinks in the armor after allowing 21 points in the third quarter. In fact, if not for a missed field goal at the end of the game, the Vikings would have lost.

The Steelers, meanwhile, are regaining their swagger. They've won three straight after a 27-14 win over Cleveland last weekend. The return of Troy Polamalu is a big addition to the defense, even if he'll be slowed by the lingering effects of a knee injury.

Vikings vs Steelers odds maker breakdown: Offense
Minnesota can kill you with big plays. Adrian Peterson had his first huge game in weeks with 143 yards on 22 carries. Brett Favre's is still going strong, throwing for 278 yards and three scores. His favorite target was Sidney Rice, who busted out for 176 yards on six catches. Rice is very talented; it's almost unfair if he's ready to become a regular playmaker for this already loaded team.

Pittsburgh is averaging 31 points per game in its past three wins. While it hasn't exactly faced tough competition (Chargers, Lions, Browns), it's been very positive to see signs of life from the running game. Second-year back Rashard Mendenhall has 304 yards, four touchdowns and a 4.9 yard average per carry during that stretch. Ben Roethlisberger, meanwhile, is on pace to smash his career record for passing yards.

Betting Edge: Minnesota

Vikings vs Steelers odds maker breakdown: Defense
A case could be made that Minny's defense is living off its reputation. The Vikings are allowing 20 points per game, hardly an elite number. It's a little alarming, even, since Cleveland, Detroit, San Fran and St. Louis - hardly offensive juggernauts - contributed to that number. It all culminated in a near collapse against the Ravens. Despite that, you can't dispute the talent or results, at least in terms of wins and losses.

Pittsburgh's defense hasn't been as dominant as expected, but the return of Troy Polamalu should pay big dividends. The safety is one of the NFL's greatest playmakers, and he proved it by intercepting a pass in his return. Even if he's less than 100 percent, Polamalu allows the Steelers to be more flexible on "D." After creating four takeaways and two sacks against the Browns, expect this unit to keep stepping up.

Betting Edge: Pittsburgh

Vikings vs Steelers odds maker breakdown: Notable Injuries
Bumps and bruises aside, Pittsburgh is relatively healthy. Polamalu was seen limping during the Browns game but said he's fine. Minnesota has some minor scrapes but nothing serious. Dangerous rookie Percy Harvin has a shoulder injury, though, and he had just seven touches last Sunday.

Betting Edge: Pittsburgh

Vikings vs Steelers odds maker: Totals (45.5)
Both teams can score, but Minny and Pittsburgh each have something to prove on defense. The Vikings want to show last week's scare was a fluke, while the Steelers are keen on regaining their status as the league's best defensive unit. Go under if you're betting totals.

Pick: UNDER 45.5

Vikings vs Steelers betting breakdown: Outlook and Pick
Finally, Minnesota's undefeated streak comes to an end. It's tough to win in Pittsburgh, especially with the Steel Curtain rounding into form. Yes, the Vikings have a better record, but the Steelers are flying now, especially with their star defender back. Look for Pittsburgh to pound the football, Polamalu to make a few big plays, and the Steelers to cover.

STAN’S PICK: Steelers -4

Get the breakdowns on Vikings vs Steelers odds and other great NFL odds in the Betting Edge every week.

Stan Simmons is one of's NFL experts.



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