It would be easy for the Pittsburgh Steelers to take the opponent lightly when they host the Detriot Lions at 1 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field.
After all, the Steelers (5-3) are on a four-game winning streak, and the Lions (0-8) are the last winless team in the NFL. Detroit hasn’t won in Pittsburgh since 1955 when they beat the Steelers 31-28 – at Forbes Field – the second-to-last season they called the venerable baseball park home.
Update: Saturday evening, Steelers starting QB Ben Roethlisberger was added to the NFL COVID protocol.
However, nothing has come easy for the Steelers during their win streak. None of their victories have been by more than eight points, and the average winning margin is 4.5 points.
The Steelers also blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter Monday night before rallying to beat the lowly Chicago Bears 29-27 at Heinz Field.
The Lions had their bye last week after being routed by the Philadelphia Eagles 44-6 at home.
Here are the lines for Lions-Steelers at Barstool Sports Book:
Spread: Lions +8.5 (-110), Steelers -8.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Lions +300, Steelers -400
Over/Under: 43 O (-107), U (-114)
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Lions-Steelers Betting Preview
Part of the Steelers’ turnaround from a 1-3 start has been the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
In the first four games of the season, Roethlisberger completed 64.2% of his passes for 1,033 yards and four touchdowns with four interceptions and 10 sacks. During the winning streak, he has connected on 67.4% of his attempts for 953 yards with six TDs and no picks.
The 39-year-old has benefitted from better play by a young and revamped offensive line. However, the emergence of 6-foot-5 rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth has given Roethlisberger a prime red-zone target.
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Freiermuth, a second-round draft from Penn State, has 18 of his 27 receptions and 152 of his 245 receiving yards during the last four games. He has caught three touchdown passes in the last two games, including two against the Bears.
Freiermuth is one of four rookie starters on offense along with running back Najee Harris, tackle Dan Moore and center Kendrick Green.
First-year Dan Campbell says the Lions will take more deep shots in the passing game Sunday by splitting Amon-Ra St. Brown out wide. The rookie has 27 catches for 250 yards in his rookie season.
Quarterback Jared Goff has averaged just 9.7 yards a completion, tied for 31st in the NFL, in his first season with the Lions. He was acquired from the Los Angeles Rams in an offseason trade for QB Matthew Stafford, who has emerged as a strong candidate for NFL Most Valuable Player.
Steelers Bets We Like
Steelers -8.5 (-110) Barstool
Yes, the Steelers haven’t won a game by at least nine points since Week 11 of last season when they blasted the Jaguars 27-3 in Jacksonville.
However, the Steelers also haven’t played a team as bad as the Lions since that game. The Jaguars were 1-15 in 2020, losing their last 15 games.
Najee Harris to score a TD (-225) BetMGM
The odds don’t provide as much value as one might like but Harris continues to show a knack for reaching the end zone in his first professional season. He has a touchdown in five consecutive games.
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Steelers Betting Prediction
Life has been difficult for the 2021 Steelers, even in the good times of a four-game win streak. However, that figures to change Sunday as they should win comfortably over a Lions team that seems intent on matching their 2008 team that finished the season 0-16.
Prediction: Steelers 27, Lions 13
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