September 9 2012; Denver, CO, USA;Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks to pass during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
The Steelers were surprise losers in Week 1 and the Jets were surprise winners. With the home spread at 4.5 points, many bettors are taking Pitt and the points at home to avoid an 0-2 season start.
Pittsburgh almost always beats the New York Jets at home and they don't have a huge Week 2 point spread to cover if they wanted to put cash in bettors' pockets as well.
The Jets are 1-6 SU in seven trips here since 1981 and get plenty of respect from oddsmakers after their big win last week. The Steelers stumbled a week ago and the opening line has actually been bet down to -4.5 at one shop tracked by OddsShark.com (the lines provider to SBNation),
Safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison did not practice on Friday and are questionable for Sunday.
In what could prove to be a key game in shaping the AFC playoff picture down the road, the New York Jets also bring a bevvy of OVER trends to Heinz Field. The OVER is 16-4 in the past 20 Jets road games and its 11-3 in 14 recent games with the Jets as an underdog.
Some believed that bringing in Tim Tebow might cause a quarterback controversy in New York, but through one week, Mark Sanchez's job doesn't appear to be in any danger. Sanchez was excellent (19/27 for 266 yards and three touchdowns) in leading the Jets to a 48-28 win over Buffalo last week as a 3-point favorite at home.
That score actually makes the game look closer than it was as the Jets pulled back a bit after taking a 41-7 lead in the third quarter.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a chance to exact some revenge on the Denver Broncos for knocking them out of the playoffs last season, but this wasn't the same Denver team as last year's; this year's squad had Peyton Manning, and the Steelers defense had no answer for him.
Pittsburgh lost 31-19 as a 2.5-point underdog at Denver Sunday night, and while the defensive struggles were concerning, they were against one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. This week will provide an interesting test at home.
A down year in 2011 has made a lot of people forget that the New York Jets advanced to the AFC Championship in both 2009 and 2010. The Jets would love to prove that they are going to be back among the AFC's elite this year, and a win at Pittsburgh would help make a case.
Pittsburgh knows it can't afford to fall to 0-2 in the brutal AFC North, and at home should be able to buckle down and find a way to win. But each of the last four games between these two teams has been decided by five points or less (NYJ is 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS).
That won't happen Sunday and we lay 4.5 points on the Steelers.
PICK: Steelers -4.5