If you’re a bettor and you made money on Sunday, raise your hand. If you had the Cowboys being upset by the Broncos, the Titans holding the Rams to only one touchdown, or Kansas City covering the spread (kidding… sort of), take a bow.
If you had Jacksonville topping the Bills in a defensive battle and a game total of under 16—walk away slowly, count your money and don’t look back.
It was a tough day for most, myself included, but here comes Monday Night Football!
Week 9’s final tilt features a Chicago team that has put up an average of 15.4 points per game headed to Heinz Field to face a Pittsburgh team averaging 18.9 points per game. The game total of 39.5 says we should get a real barn-burner (insert eye-roll here).
The public is nearly evenly split, with 51% of the bets and 50% of the money on PIttsburgh. Most of the sharps (62%) are backing the Steelers, according to SharpRank.
The Steelers are 4-3. The Bears are 3-5.
An aging Big Ben faces rookie QB Justin Fields coming off his best start of the year.
David Montgomery returns (maybe).
I like the Steelers at home in prime time, but can they cover the 7-point spread? After Sunday, maybe I should just take my gut feelings and just do the opposite.
To help me decide, I asked Sports Illustrated’s betting experts where they’re placing their money on Monday night.
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Gary Gramling’s take:
A touchdown favorite in a game where the total is sub-40 should make anyone queasy (and remember, the Steelers are 3-6 ATS as 7-plus point favorites since 2018).
That said, I’m staying away from the sides since Matt Nagy’s group hasn’t shown any signs they can cover against a quality team on the road without the defense standing on its head, and the absence of Khalil Mack will loom large. I’m more interested in the total.
Indeed, these are two teams that seem content to wear their punters down and wait for a play from their defense. But I think the absence of Mack gives the Steelers a chance to generate some offense, and keep in mind that it might only take a bad turnover (say, from a rookie QB desperate to make a play) and resulting short field to push it to the over with the number this low.
OKBET Betting & Fantasy Director Bill Enright’s take:
The Steelers are riding a three-game winning streak, but perhaps even more impressive is their dominance on Monday Night Football under Mike Tomlin.
Pittsburgh is 16-3 on MNF since Tomlin began his tenure in 2007. The easy bet is taking them straight-up, but not worth it at -333.
Can they win by a touchdown and cover the spread? Sure.
Am I willing to bet on that? No.
Instead, I’ll be banking on the total staying Under 39.5 which is five points more than the Steelers and Bears combine on a per game basis (34)
The Steelers are as consistent as they come in the NFL. When they should win, they usually lose. When they’re doubted to win, they win most of the time—but on Monday Night Football, they ALWAYS win.
The Steelers have two things going for them tonight.
First, their color rush uniforms. Not only are they 6-1 in them, with their only loss coming with Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges at quarterback, but there’s always a little extra spark at Heinz Field when they’re on.
Second, as I mentioned before, they always win on Monday night. The Steelers have won 19 consecutive Monday Night Football games. At some point, you stop waiting for that first loss and just accept they’re that good in that situation.
The negative for the Steelers is that Mike Tomlin is 0-3 against the Bears. But in the matchup of 0-3 versus 19-straight wins with a 6-1 boost, take the ladder.
Steelers win, probably don’t cover a touchdown spread, and until proven otherwise, are not a team you bet the over on.
Dave Scipione’s take:
This game comes down to who you trust under center and on the sidelines. Nagy and Fields, or Tomlin and Roethlisberger. I think Pittsburgh finds a way to get the win, but I’m taking Chicago and the points. Justin Fields will do enough to keep it close, and with an over/under of 39.5, expect a low-scoring game where the Bears will always be within striking distance.
Kyle Wood’s take:
This was the lowest O/U of the week, right? I don’t have the old OKBET Sportsbook numbers in front of me but it seems that it is.
Justin Fields is coming off the best game of his young career and the Steelers are riding a three-game winning streak. This game still has the lowest Over/Under of the week, and for good reason.
Pittsburgh and Chicago are both bottom-10 scoring offenses in the NFL. The Bears no longer can rely on their vaunted defensive unit like they did for so many years, but the Steelers still boast a dominant defensive front capable of stifling Fields.
For those reasons, I like the total staying under 39.5.
Matt Ehalt’s take:
An over/under of 39?!?! What is this: Iowa vs. Wisconsin?
I understand the concern, but I’m going to take the over here. I think Justin Fields took a step forward last week and can carry that momentum into this game. I also don’t trust Chicago’s defense to make many stops. A once-proud unit has been de-clawed (get it?).
I think Fields can backdoor cover or manage a push, so that’s why I’m on the Bears +7 and the over here.
One prop I’m looking to smash, though, is the over on Najee Harris’ rushing yards (79.5). Harris has topped that in three straight games and, as mentioned before, the Bears’ defense is about as ferocious as a house cat. Harris should safely top that number.
Prop: Harris over 79.5 rushing yards
Conor Orr’s take:
I like the over here for a few reasons.
I think the Steelers’ offense is finally maturing into Matt Canada’s vision for the team, which was a stop-gap, mid-range offense based around a dynamic young running back.
Najee Harris is coming into his own, the offensive line is maturing together, especially on the right side, and Ben Roethlisberger has turned in three of his best games of the season of late. Combine that with the fact that Justin Fields will need to scramble for some late garbage points and we have ourselves the making of a combined score of 56 or more.