Chargers Steelers Odds
The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) host the San Diego Chargers (4-8) Sunday at 1:00 PM ET in AFC non-division action. Oddsmakers have listed the Steelers as a 7.5-point favorite and have set the total at 42.5.
Why Pittsburgh Covers
The Steelers got a much-needed boost of confidence last week. They ended a two-game slide with a 23-20 win in Baltimore that got them within two games of the first-place Ravens in the AFC North. They should receive another boost Sunday with starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expected to return after missing three consecutive games with a sprained right shoulder and dislocated rib.
Pittsburgh, which currently owns the AFC’s final wild-card slot, will be in good shape if Big Ben can pick up where he left off. Roethlisberger has completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 2,287 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. His stats add up to a passer rating of 100.0.
Roethlisberger is 3-1 with a 97.7 passer rating against the Chargers.
The Chargers have yet to beat a team with a winning record this season and have lost each of their last four games. They will have a difficult time ending this skid in Pittsburgh, where they are 0-14 all-time.
Norv Turner has had no answer for the Steelers. He’s 0-6 all-time against them.
Pittsburgh has won each of the last three and eight of the last nine meetings in the series overall. It has gone 7-2 against the spread in the last nine contests.
Why San Diego Covers
San Diego hasn’t quit. It has lost by seven points or fewer in each of its last three games and has led in the fourth quarter in each of its last two.
I expect the Chargers to leave it all on the field again this week as they try to avoid their first losing season since 2003.
The Steelers have not been a good investment against losing teams. They are typically overvalued by oddsmakers against such opponents and are just 1-5 against the spread in their last six games versus a team with a losing record as a result. They are even 1-4 against the number in their last five home games versus a team with a losing road record.
The Steelers have also been a poor bet when checking in off a victory. They are only 5-15-1 against the spread in their last 21 games following a win. It is also worth noting that they are 3-10 against the spread in their last 13 games following an against the spread win.
It should also be mentioned that the Steelers are 3-8-1 against the spread in their last 12 versus AFC opponents while the Chargers are 9-4 against the spread in their last 13 versus the AFC.
The Pittsburgh offense has been far from explosive this season. It ranks 20th in the league in both scoring and total offense with 21.2 points and 342.0 yards per game. While the offense shouldn’t be any worse with Roethlisberger stepping back in, there is no guarantee that it will be any better. Big Ben has missed several weeks, and it will likely take him some time to get back in rhythm.
The San Diego stop unit won’t make life easy on the Steelers either. The Chargers rank a respectable ninth in the league in total defense with 335.2 yards allowed per game.