Sunday Night Football Betting: Which Injured Team Can Come Out on Top?
While we have been treated to some absolutely delightful games on Sunday nights, due to a pile of injuries, tonight's iteration may not be so spicy.
The Seattle Seahawks, who recently had to place starting quarterback Russell Wilson and starting running back Chris Carson on Injured Reserve, will face what appears to be an aging-before-our-eyes Ben Roethlisberger, who's really struggled under center this season.
While our power rankings aren't exactly loving either team, we do have the Steelers as the 11th-best squad, and the Seahawks are 17th.
The home Steelers are 4.5-point favorites, and the game has a 43.5-point total, per NFL odds.
Let's dive into what we think could be some interesting betting angles for this contest.
What's Poppin' in Steel Town?
This low over/under has a very good reason: the quarterback play could be a bit suspect, and that's likely being generous.
Starting with the road 'Hawks, Geno Smith will take the snaps under center, and he hasn't seen consistent game action since the 2015 season for the New York Jets. Over the last six seasons, Smith has only thrown for a combined 800 yards, so it's fair to be a bit skeptical.
On the flip side, Roethlisberger could be seeing the close of his career come to fruition very quickly. Over 192 drop backs on the year, the veteran signal-caller has recorded a mark of only 0.01 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, which is well shy of the NFL average of 0.15. And, that number could be difficult to improve upon with JuJu Smith-Schuster out for the season with a dislocated shoulder.
While the Steelers rank third in pass-to-run ratio coming into the week, throwing on 67.1% of their offensive snaps, the Seahawks rank in the middle of the pack from a passing perspective.
Now in the running game, the Seahawks turn to Alex Collins, who's logged 4.4 yards per carry this season. Najee Harris has clearly been that dude in Steel Town. No other player has more than 8 rushes (Benny Snell Jr.), and Harris been a viable part of this pass game, recording a team-best 28 catches.
Overall, I wouldn't expect this to be a high-scoring affair, given the offensive issues. Our algorithm views things differently.
Bets to Consider
As aforementioned, the Steelers are 4.5-point favorites for this contest over at NFL odds.
We like the Seahawks' ability to cover the spread -- as we predict a narrow 24.94 to 20.99 win. That covers around 53% of the time, per our algorithm.
Even with these two offenses adjusting to find their collective identities, we still think there's value to be had on the over, and the algorithm expects that to hit 57% of the time.
In the player prop market, I am all over a combined rushing and receiving bet involving Harris (over 110.5 at -113 odds). Harris is clearly a big part of the offense, and our metrics rank Seattle as the league's 10th-worst defense.
numberFire projects Harris for 79 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards, which puts him very close to this number. Assuming the Steelers can establish a lead, if they try and salt the game away late, this could be a smash bet.
Historical Betting Trends
-- Seattle has been a straight-up money prime-time bet. They are 34-10-1 straight up in their last 45 contests.
-- Pittsburgh? Man, they have been rough in this spot, going 1-8 against the spread in their last nine games on Sunday Night Football.
-- It's hard to look too hard into many Seattle historical trends, as Russell Wilson has been a big part of those, but they are 12-5 against the spread in their last 17 games as a 'dog.