How to Bet the Steelers’ First Win and Loss in 2020
FanDuel Sportsbook is offering "local favorites" bets for certain teams, including odds on which week they will win and lose their first games of the 2020 season.
One of those teams is the Pittsburgh Steelers, and odds are offered up to Week 9 for their first win and loss, respectively, ranging from -195 to +25000 depending on the hype you have surrounding the Steelers.
Let's break down the Steelers' schedule starting with Monday Night Football in Week 1 versus the New York Giants and whether or not you should back the win or loss, in addition to the weeks that follow for the black and gold.
Week 1 at Giants
New York hasn't won an opening week game since 2016, and the last time they won a home game in Week 1 was 2010.
The Steelers are -195 favorites to earn their first win of the season versus the Giants as 4.0-point favorites. Since Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning were drafted in 2004, the two teams have met four times, with the Steelers winning three games by an average of 5.6 points. The last time the Giants beat Pittsburgh was 2008, and over the last three seasons, New York has gone an NFL-worst 12-36 while rebuilding, with four top-10 draft picks in five years. The Giants rank just 27th in numberFire's power rankings, while the Steelers are a solid 13th.
Pittsburgh welcomes back Roethlisberger after an amazing defensive season for the Steelers (third-best by numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics) with the hopes of going to the postseason for the first time since 2017. Book the Steelers to earn their first win of the season on the road in New York at -195 odds.
When Will Their First Loss Come?
The Steelers haven't started 3-0 or better since 2010, but this is a favorable schedule until Week 4 or 5. However, Pittsburgh has won its Week 2 matchups 6-of-10 times since 2010, gone 5-5 in Week 3 matchups, and 3-6 in Week 4 (with one bye week). Chances are Pittsburgh won't make it to Week 5 undefeated, so what team has the best odds to beat the Steelers?
The Broncos have completely reloaded through free agency and the draft, but is it enough versus that Steelers defense in Pittsburgh for +300 odds? Drew Lock went 4-1 as a starter in 2019 but threw just 7 touchdowns to 3 interceptions while averaging 204 passing yards per game. Although Denver has dominated Pittsburgh in recent years, winning four of the last five, and the Steelers are 3-6 versus Denver since 2006, keep in mind that seven of those nine games were in Denver. Pittsburgh will be a tougher out at home as 5.5-point favorites, and the Broncos rank a modest 19th in our power rankings.
Houston lost DeAndre Hopkins and has a lot of speculation surrounding Deshaun Watson and head coach Bill O'Brien entering 2020. Houston has lost its last two games to Pittsburgh and has gone 1-4 versus the Steelers during the Roethlisberger era. The Texans aren't going to be one of the better teams in the league this season, and the Steelers have the defense and enough offensive firepower with Big Ben back to handle the 4.5-point spread at home to Houston. The Texans are +480 to hand the Steelers their first loss of the 2020 season, but my money would be on Denver before Houston.
The Titans are the first favorite versus the Steelers at -2.5, and if you bet on Tennessee to hand Pittsburgh their first loss, it's at +460 odds. Pittsburgh is 6-3 versus Tennessee since 2005 and have won the past two meetings (2014, 2017), but the Titans will be the best all-around team the Steelers face up until this point. According to numberFire's metrics, Tennessee had the NFL's 12th-best offense and 11th-best defense last season, and they rank 12th in numberFire's power rankings. This will be a tough road test, and the likelihood of Pittsburgh losing here is greater than the following week versus Philadelphia (+1100).
The Steelers are a safe bet to earn their first victory of the season in the Meadowlands at -195, and their recent history versus the New York Giants make them a no-brainer road favorite.
Where Pittsburgh's first loss comes from, now that's the difficult pick. Denver provides an instant classic type of a game with two gunslinging quarterbacks and solid defenses. It is Pittsburgh's home opener and the return of Roethlisberger, so it won't be a walk in the park for the Broncos. There's a much better chance Denver walks away with a victory before Houston does, but my money is on Tennessee in Week 4.
The Steelers' defense was elite last season, but iRoethlisberger's early season injury prevented him from playing with them after acquiring Minkah Fitzpatrick. Entering 2020, Pittsburgh has a top-five defense, their future Hall of Fame quarterback back, multiple offensive weapons returning from injury, and a top-10 offensive line. A 3-0 start wouldn't be the least bit surprising to me, and for +460 odds to finally lose in Week 4, it's by far the best bet and most likely to happen.