The Pittsburgh Steelers will once again be without Troy Polamalu Thursday night when they visit the Tennessee Titans and they are a risky bet as 5.5-point road favorites.
Pitt has been a disaster against the spread on the road in recent years, going 2-10 ATS in 12 recent games. But Tennessee has been ugly as well, getting crushed a week ago and riding a 1-5 ATS mark in six recent home games, according to the Week 6 NFL trends at OddsShark.com.
But if the Steelers were lucky to win last week, they may find themselves in a trap here in Week 6.
"The Titans have won eight of 10 meetings here in Tennessee and getting 5.5 points at home is tempting for Vegas bettors," said Scott Winstone of online sportsbook TopBet.
Pittsburgh got a trio of key starters back for its game last week against the Philadelphia Eagles in safeties Polamalu and James Harrison and running back Rashard Mendenhall. Polamalu's return to action didn't last long, however, as he left the game with an aggravated calf.
Still, the defense turned in a strong performance allowing only 14 points, and Mendenhall led the Steelers to their first game with over 100 rushing yards of the season. The 16-14 win over Philadelphia brought Pittsburgh's SU record to 2-2, but the Steelers are just 1-3 ATS.
The nightmare season on both sides of the ball continued last week for Tennessee on the road against Minnesota. One week after having his best performance of the season against Houston, Chris Johnson was back to being completely ineffective rushing for a measly 24 yards on 15 carries.
The defense gave up 30 points, which was sadly its best performance of the season. Jake Locker will still be out in Week 6, so Matt Hasselbeck will once again be under center. Tennessee is 1-4 both SU and ATS.
Neither team has inspired much confidence from a betting perspective as both have only covered the spread once this season. Pittsburgh is 0-2 SU and ATS on the road this year while Tennessee is 1-1 SU and ATS at home.
Nothing in the way that Pittsburgh has played makes the Steelers a very comfortable play at -5.5, especially with a 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS record in its last five games. But Tennessee is just 1-8 ATS in its last nine games, and the defense has been horrendous in allowing 36.2 points per game.
With Mendenhall back and Roethlisberger under center, are the Steelers the offense that Tennessee figures it all out against? Probably not. We don't love either side of this game, but we like Tennessee at home against a depleted Steelers roster to cover the number at home.
PICK: Tennessee +5.5 (courtesy of PickShark.com)