Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)
The Steelers were blown out last week in Buffalo, losing the first down rate battle by 6.42% and the yards per play battle by 5.17 in a 38-3 defeat. That normally is a good thing for their chances of covering the spread this week though, as teams tend to bounce back after a blowout loss, covering the spread at a 58.4% rate after a loss by 35 points or more, with teams tending to be underrated, overlooked, and embarrassed in that spot.
We did see this line move from favoring the Buccaneers by 6.5 points on the early line to now favoring the Buccaneers by 9.5, but that’s not necessarily an overreaction to the Steelers getting blown out last week, as the Steelers are have significant injury concerns in their secondary now, with talented safety Minkah Fitzpatrick out, as well as their top-3 cornerbacks, Ahkello Witherspoon, Cameron Sutton, and Levi Wallace. This is on a defense that is already far from its best without top edge defender TJ Watt.
Given all of the Steelers’ injuries, my calculated line has the Buccaneers favored by 11 points. That may seem high, but the Buccaneers are one of the best teams in the league, while the Steelers have had a propensity to get blown out in recent years, with 10 of their 17 losses coming by double digits, including playoffs. There’s not nearly enough line value with the Buccaneers to take them confidently given that the Steelers are in the better spot, but the Buccaneers should still be the pick for pick ‘em purposes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30 Pittsburgh Steelers 20
Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -9.5