OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 01: Matt Giordano #27 of the Oakland Raiders is congratulated by Tyvon Branch #33 of the Oakland Raiders after he intercepted a pass during their game against the San Diego Chargers at O.co Coliseum on January 1, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh has injury woes, road woes and faces a team that has been very tough as an underdog. But can Oakland hang with a hungry Steelers team and cover a 4-point home spread?
The Raiders have earned a reputation as a tough underdog and a patsy favorite (they lost as chalk last week in Miami). And the Steelers are aware of this fact, having lost two of the past four meetings to Oakland when they were in this situation as a favorite.
"When you add the fact that the Steelers are just 2-8 ATS in their past 10 as a road team, you get another small handicapping factor to consider Oakland here on the Week 3 odds menu," explained Jeff Grant of Sportsbookreview.com.
After starting the season off with a disappointing 31-19 loss at Denver, Pittsburgh bounced back with a strong 27-10 win over the New York Jets as a 4.5-point favorite. That win was at home, however, and the Steelers will be looking for their first road win of the year Sunday.
Through two games, the Oakland Raiders couldn't look a whole lot worse. After botching three punts in a 22-14 loss at home to the San Diego Chargers, the Raiders were thoroughly dominated on both sides of the ball in a 35-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Losing Jacoby Ford for the season has had a clear impact on Oakland's offense as the Raiders can't seem to put together any sustained pressure.
This spread is actually a bit surprising considering how bad the Raiders have looked. Perhaps bettors are putting a lot of weight on Harrison and Polamalu being out or the fact that Oakland is 3-1 ATS (including two outright upsets) in its last four games against the Steelers.
But even if Oakland is able to get its offense going (after averaging just 13.5 points per game through the first two games of the season), will it be enough to keep up with Pittsburgh's? Oakland's secondary is very weak and even weaker with an injury keeping Ron Bartell out.
With Ben Roethlisberger and his fast and talented wide receivers coming to town, it is difficult to see the Steelers failing to put up plenty of points.
The Raiders may be 3-1 ATS in their last four games against Pittsburgh, but the most recent game in 2010 was a 35-3 Steelers win. It may not be that ugly Sunday, but it might not be far off.
PICK: Pittsburgh -4 (courtesy of PickShark.com)