Two teams with sky high aspirations for 2017 will take the field Friday evening as the Pittsburgh Steelers head to the Big Apple to take on the New York Giants. Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning have had many epic battles over each of their successful careers, though tonight’s contest won’t be one of those. As is often the case in pre-season NFL action, especially in the opener – starters see very little field time.
For New York, it’s already been reported that both Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. will sit this game out entirely. For the Steelers, they got good news on star wideout Martavis Bryant earlier this week when the NFL head office allowed him to play in pre-season games and work out with the team. Bryant is currently under conditional league reinstatement due to multiple drug violations and has yet to be cleared for the regular season.
The Steelers are also expected to give Big Ben a full night off, and with primary backup Landry Jones dealing with an abdominal injury, the bulk of the workload for Friday night will fall to rookie quarterback Josh Dobbs. It is also worth noting that Pittsburgh’s star running back, Le’Veon Bell is still holding out due to his contract and has yet to join the team.
Please continue to read on below the odds for a specific breakdown of Friday night’s match-up. Even though many of the stars are out, there’s money still to be made and we’ll try and navigate you through that to further fill your pockets!
Steelers vs. Giants Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5 (-115)
@ New York Giants -3.5 (-105)
Over 37 (-110)
Under 37 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Steelers vs. Giants Pick:
It is odd to see such a decisive favourite in a pre-season opener, but that’s just what the G-Men are for Friday night’s contest against the visiting Steelers. Even more odd is the fact that head coach Ben McAdoo has shown a knack for not caring at all about the outcome in these season opening match-ups. Like last year, almost all of the starters and bigger stars will be resting on the sidelines, and it’s believed that they’ll be leaning heavily on rookie quarterback Davis Webb to fill the void. Josh Johnson, a former Tampa starter, and the much-maligned Geno Smith are also in camp and should get reps as well.
In addition to Roethlisberger sitting out, Antonio Brown, Mike Mitchell, Stephon Tuitt, Maurkice Pouncey, and Ryan Shazier are also all dealing with minor bumps and bruises and will sit out. Even though Mike Tomlin did come out and say he likes the NFL’s pre-season format and sees value in their games – it doesn’t mean he’s going to play all of his starters in the opening contest.
One area the Steelers seem weak in for Friday night is under centre – with only unproven rookies Josh Dobbs and Bart Houston in camp, behind a hurt Landry Jones. That could make all the difference against the Giants, as the G-Men are expected to roll with former starters Josh Johnson and Geno Smith for much of the opening half. It is rare to see a team as heavy favourites in a pre-season encounter, but looking at the depth chart says a lot in this one. New York has good depth beyond Eli Manning at the QB position, and enter the healthier group, at home with something to prove. Pittsburgh is badly banged up and with Roethlisberger and Landry Jones both ruled out, it’s going to be problematic for young rookies to move the chains with consistency against NFL defenses for the first time.
I am not a big proponent in laying points in pre-season Week 1 games, but this seems like a decent spot to lay just over the field goal price with the home team, New York Giants. They’re deeper at the skill positions, and with some new faces in camp they’ll be eager to make a lasting first impression. Giants by a touchdown seems fitting for this one.