With football season now fully underway, a special Saturday night pre-season affair takes place in Pittsburgh. Two teams with high aspirations for the upcoming season square off as the Giants travel to Steeltown to do battle with the Steelers. Like all sports, betting in the pre-season isn’t always the easiest thing, but edges can be found with good research. We’re here to help with that. Analyzing quarterback depth, coaching trends, and overall camp morale are vital to gaining an edge in the NFL’s exhibition season. Heading into tonight’s affair, both teams have significant areas they’ll look to improve upon. Pittsburgh was great on defense in 2012, but struggled mightily with their offense, ranking 22nd in total scoring. And with the Giants, there problems were on the defensive side, as that unit was a total liability. Both have been areas of true focus throughout August and into September. Read on below for tonight’s thoughts and official selection.
Giants at Steelers Betting Odds:
New York Giants +3 (-125)
@ Pittsburgh Steelers -3 (+105)
Over 35.5 (-110)
Under 35.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Giants at Steelers Pick:
With it being so early in the pre-season, don’t expect the big-time starters from both teams to see very much game action. That said, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has already come out and said that his first-stringers will receive a full quarter of action. That’s typically a little more than most teams give out in Week 1 and hopefully no key Giants players go down to injury in this meaningless affair. On the injury front, the G-Men will likely be without fullback Henry Hynoski, and first round offensive-lineman Justin Pugh. One thing that has stood out this exhibition season in the Giants’ camp has been their great quarterback depth. Eli Manning of course is a world-class talent, but having former starters in David Carr and Curtis Painter behind him, as well as highly touted youngster, Ryan Nassib, bodes well for winning pre-season games. Those are four fairly solid options behind centre, and that should bode well for tonight’s clash.
For the Steelers, head coach Mike Tomlin has said his first-team players will likely play between 10-12 snaps. One player to really watch in tonight’s game will be running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell is from Michigan State and was taken in the 2nd round by Pittsburgh in this past year’s draft. It seems like the Steelers are giving the rookie every opportunity to crack the starting line-up but he needs to prove he deserves it. He’s slated to start the game and stay out with the second-stringers into the second half. There’s also Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer to deal with in the backfield too. Expect that running back depth to be a real test for a Giants’ defense that struggled in 2012. That said, Pittsburgh is currently dealing with a rash of injuries that could linger into Week 1 of the regular season. At cornerback, four of their top five players at the position have battled injuries, with starter Cortez Allen now unlikely to begin the season alongside Ike Taylor in the secondary. Plaxico Burress is also lost for the season with a torn rotator cuff, and tight end Matt Spaeth is now out for up to 10 weeks. These injuries are really testing the organizational depth of the Steelers, and this early in the pre-season it remains to be seen if others can pick up the slack.
Though Pittsburgh and Mike Tomlin have defended their home-field quite well in recent years during the pre-season, the depth and motivation with the Giants should be greater. Their four solid quarterbacks, and position battles on defense will propel this group to a solid outing, and the fact that the first-teamers are staying in for a full quarter should also help. Getting three points on the road seems like a fine wager on the G-Men tonight.
PICK = Giants +3 (-125)