Bettors, like fantasy players, are an interesting bunch. They'll sit through a game featuring the most boring teams imaginable, just to see if their wager pans out. Enter the Chiefs and the Steelers, a likely blowout that should have the average fan tuned out by halftime. But for the rest of us, the fantasy diehards and those who love the action, there's enough props and interesting sub-storylines to make the game truly must see TV. Let's dig into a few of the juicier ones.
Combined with a spread of -13, Vegas seems to like a final score of something in the range of 27-14. On the surface, this one feels pretty close, doesn't it? You have to figure that the Steelers are going to move the ball effectively, putting up points early and then salting away the win late with some long, plodding drives that feature a heavy dose of Isaac Redman. Combine that with a garbage time score and you've got a pretty difficult game in terms of totals, right?
We don't think so. In fact, we've got the total bet at three-star confidence, with an estimated ROI of +13.6%. Without giving away too much about what specific side we're taking - you'd have to be a premium subscriber for that - let's just say that Vegas is overrating more than a few factors in this game. Strangely enough, three of the top five predictors for the game take one side of the bet... and it stops there, as five of the next seven predictors all take the other side. Over the top 25, 14 agree with us, 9 disagree, with two pushes. That's enough for us to feel pretty good about our side of the bet, hence the +13.6% ROI across the predictors.
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Passing TDs: Ben Roethlisberger +2.0
Found at Sports Interaction, this player prop essentially boils down to one thing: how much will the Steelers step off the gas once the game is in hand? If the Chiefs can keep this game relatively close, this seems like a sure over in our book. We've projected Ben at 296.17 yards for the night mostly due to his very strong comparables: Brett Favre, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees all make appearances.
Of course, this is about TDs though and not yards - and strangely enough, Ben's predictors seem to point to a disproportionately high TD total in relation to yards. Take a look at the top predictors:
||Miami vs. St. Louis, 2008
||13-23, 165 yards, 0 TDs
||Green Bay vs. Indianapolis, 2004
||30-44, 360 yards, 4 TDs
||San Diego vs. Buffalo, 2011
||24-33, 240 yards, 3 TDs
||Atlanta vs. New Orleans, 2011
||29-52, 349 yards, 2 TDs
||Miami vs. Kansas City, 2008
||26-34, 235 yards, 3 TDs
Okay, let's dispense with the elephant in the room: it's weird seeing Chad Pennington there alongside Ben. Turns out, he's similar enough to Ben (low INT rate, very efficient, etc...) to mix in with how similar the 2008 Dolphins are to the 2012 Steelers. Either way, just looking at the numbers, we've got four out of five comparables above 2 TDs, and the one that isn't is a very typical Pennington-esque performance, which can almost be thrown out as an outlier. At even odds, taking the over at +2.0 seems like a great value play.
Rushing Yards: Matt Cassel +10.5
Also found at Sports Interaction, this one seems a little fishy. Over the past three weeks, here are Cassel's rushing stat lines: 4 carries for 14 yards, 7 carries for 35 yards, and 6 carries for 37 yards. Now, it's not like the Chiefs are running the wishbone or anything like that. No, their o-line (and offense, really) stinks, therefore he's dropping back a lot and is forced to scramble when the pocket collapses. Considering that the Steelers are likely to fall into a soft zone once they've got a lead, this seems like a great value prop as well. Matt's comparables agree: five out of the top six predictors come out over 10.5 rushing yards, and we've got him projected out with 6 carries for 29 yards, well clear of the prop.