Who would have thought at the outset of this current season that the Pittsburgh Steelers would enter Week 3 winless, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be well-positioned for a playoff run with their flawless 2-0 record. Even without Jameis Winston at the helm, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been elite so far, and has connected well with his talented group of receivers. Not much was expected from the Bucs in 2018, but in a weakened division, their recent string of play has many thinking this is a squad that is better than most initially thought.
On the other side of the spectrum exists the current mess that is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Key wideout Antonio Brown is reportedly unhappy, and we all know about Le’Veon Bell’s contract situation. With star talent sidelined, the Steelers haven’t been as good as many figured they’d be. It’s still early but their current form is not inspiring. For Pittsburgh to have a shot at another Super Bowl, they need to get it going sooner rather than later. Week 3 against an upstart Tampa Bay group on Monday Night Football seems to be as good of a time as ever.
This is really a fascinating match-up, and one in which the current spread would seem insane just a couple of weeks ago. Can the Steelers rebound or will the high-flying Bucs keep it rolling? Read on below for a full betting breakdown and official selection to end Week 3 off on a high note.
Steelers vs. Buccaneers Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers +1 (-115)
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1 (-105)
Over 54.5 (-110)
Under 54.5 (-110)
Steelers vs. Buccaneers Pick:
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers can and should be much better. They’ve endured some tough luck in their opening weeks, but have had enough time to regroup before Week 3’s Monday nighter.
Against the Bucs, look for the Steelers’ potent aerial attack to rediscover its form. This game has a very high posted total, and I’d anticipate quite the shootout in Tampa Bay. One of the main reasons for that is the fact that the Bucs do have a very weak secondary, and one that Roethlisberger should be able to pick apart if he gets the necessary time and space. There is nobody within that secondary group that can cover the likes of Antonio Brown or JuJu Smith-Schuster. That duo will be key to getting Pittsburgh back on track.
Much of the pre-game hype before this contest will surround Ryan Fitzpatrick and his dominant play so far. The journeyman QB has been electric in the early parts of this season, and though the Steelers have shown severe defensive weaknesses – this is a group that has a lot more to show. Pittsburgh is expected to welcome back top cornerback Joe Haden, and he should do a good job of limiting Mike Evans. I’d also expect Pittsburgh to mount a significant pass rush since that’s really all there is to this Tampa attack. They’re explosive through the air, but have very little to speak of on the ground. If the Steelers can have effective blitz schemes – it could be a much different outing if Fitzpatrick’s time and space is limited.
It seems crazy that the Steelers enter this game as underdogs. Ask yourself what the line would’ve been a couple of weeks ago before making a wager. The Bucs have over-performed through the first two weeks, and the Steelers surely don’t appreciate the disrespect entering this Monday night primetime showdown. Pittsburgh’s defense will be solidified with the addition of Haden, and I trust the Steelers’ multi-faceted offensive attack to shred the Bucs’ defense. In a classic overreaction spot, I like the Steelers to silence the doubters in Florida.
PICK = Steelers +1 (-115)