NFL forecast: Big Ben, Steelers should bounce back

By Matt Youmans  (VSiN senior editor) 

October 6, 2018 07:40 PM
Ben Roethlisberger ranks second in the NFL with 1,414 passing yards, but he was shut down by Baltimore last week.
© USA Today Sports Images

If Ben Roethlisberger is your fantasy quarterback, this is probably your lucky week. Maybe an injury could stop Big Ben from a monstrous bounce-back performance, but it’s highly unlikely the Atlanta defense will slow him down.

A focused favorite can be a good bet, and the Steelers, who are 0-2 in Pittsburgh and off a humbling loss to a division rival, fit the profile on Sunday.

The Steelers are producing more dramatic storylines than notches in the win column. As speculation swirls about problems in the relationship between Roethlisberger and his diva wide receiver, Antonio Brown told reporters, “Me and Ben laugh about you guys creating drama.”

Most of the laughing is coming from Baltimore and Cincinnati, where the AFC North co-leaders are enjoying Pittsburgh’s 1-2-1 record.

Roethlisberger ranks second in the NFL with 1,414 passing yards, yet Brown ranks 35th in receiving yards with just 272. In last week’s loss to the Ravens, the Steelers were shut out in the second half while being held to 47 total yards.

Get the popcorn ready because it will be a different story this week. The Falcons rank 30th in scoring defense, surrendering 30.5 points per game, and are decimated by injuries to their most talented players on all three levels on that side of the ball. The latest to fall by the wayside is dominant tackle Grady Jarrett. Atlanta allowed 37 and 43 points in its past two losses.

At the same time, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones could create a highlight reel against a weak Pittsburgh defense, and that’s why the total of 58 is the highest on the board.

In their past 22 games as home favorites, the Steelers scored at least 24 points 20 times. I’ll lay 3 points with Pittsburgh, but stay away if the number goes to 3½ because the back door will be open for Ryan.

Four more plays for Week 5 (home team in CAPS):

* Jaguars (plus-3) over CHIEFS: Jacksonville has one of the few defenses capable of containing Patrick Mahomes and his array of weapons — Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce. The Jaguars rank No. 1 in the NFL in total defense (259.3 yards per game) and scoring (14.0). Mahomes, who has 14 touchdown passes and no interceptions, directs an offense that is scoring 36.3 points to lead the league. Mahomes has been good enough to overcome Kansas City’s dreadful defense, which ranks last by allowing 451.8 yards per game. The Jaguars are 7-1 against the spread in their past eight as road ‘dogs, so go with the superior defense and take the points.

* BILLS (plus-5½) over Titans: It’s always tough to back bad teams, but this spot calls for a small play on the home underdog. Tennessee is reversing roles by laying points on the road after winning three in a row as a ‘dog. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is not lighting it up by any means, and Buffalo’s defense held much better Minnesota and Green Bay offenses to a total of 28 points in road games the past two weeks. The formula for a Bills cover should be defense, running the ball and rookie quarterback Josh Allen avoiding comical mistakes.

* Raiders (plus-5½) over CHARGERS: Those who lay points with Chargers, who are 7-15 ATS in their past 22 as home favorites, probably enjoy playing with poisonous snakes. And there is no true home-field advantage for the Chargers because the Raiders are more popular in Los Angeles. This shapes up as a Philip Rivers-Derek Carr shootout. Offense is not Oakland’s problem. Carr passed for 437 yards and four touchdowns while Marshawn Lynch carried 20 times for 130 yards against a quality Cleveland defense last week. In a game that likely goes to the wire, take the ‘home’ underdog.

* Redskins (plus-6½) over SAINTS: Drew Brees will target the NFL career passing yardage record on Monday night in New Orleans. But the Saints’ ability to run with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram will be a key to the outcome. Washington ranks No. 3 in total defense and has been strong against the run. The Saints’ worst performances so far were in the Superdome, where they were ambushed by the Buccaneers and barely survived an upset bid by the Browns. Alex Smith is one of the best ball-security quarterbacks in the league, and Adrian Peterson is off a 120-yard rushing effort against Green Bay. The Redskins, who have been off since Sept. 23, are typically best in the road ‘dog role.

Last week: 3-1-1 against the spread

Season: 11-8-1

back to news

FREE Email Sign-Up

Get the latest sports betting news & VSiN programming updates with this free daily email from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network.


View All
  • reynolds

    Hero World Challenge best bets

    While the official PGA Tour season is on pause until January, an elite field of 20 players gathers this week for the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas....
  • finocchiaro

    Best bets for Font-Aldo UFC card

    After a week off for Thanksgiving, the UFC heads into its last three productions of 2021 starting with Saturday’s UFC Fight Night from the Apex...
  • USATSI_17242641

    Peterson: Best bet for Nebraska vs. NC State

    The Big Ten/ACC Challenge will be decided on Wednesday and NC State will look to both help its profile, and also that of the ACC, as the Wolfpack...
  • vontobelnfl

    NFL Week 12 lessons learned

    It was an emotional week for me in the NFL, as the Indianapolis Colts’ failed cover cost me a share of the first-place prize in the Westgate SuperContest...
  • vontobelnba

    Three NBA trends to watch

    It was a somewhat quiet week in the NBA with the league taking a night off for Thanksgiving, but there is still plenty to discuss. This week we touch...
  • macneil

    Hockey bettors must beat closing line

    In the end, wins and losses are really all that matters, because every sports bettor’s goal is to make money. However, wins and losses don’t...
  • appelbaum

    Five NFL games wise guys like

    NFL underdogs continued to grind out a profit in Week 12, going 8-7 ATS. Dogs are now 101-77 ATS (57 percent) on the season. A $100 bettor taking every...
  • hill

    NFL capsules for Week 13

    Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints The Dallas Cowboys (7-4 SU, 8-3 ATS) visit the New Orleans Saints (5-6 SU and ATS) on Thursday night as both...
  • moore

    Let's re-examine Gonzaga wagers

    Those predictions we heard about this college basketball season being filled with upsets and uncertainty? Well, they seem to be pretty accurate just a...
  • makinennfl

    Simulating rest of NFL season

    (To view the charts associated with this report, subscribe to Point Spread Weekly) All NFL teams have either five or six games left in their 2021-22...
  • tuley

    Tuley's Takes on NFL Week 13 card

    NFL Week 12 was a rough roller-coaster here in the Tuley’s Takes home office and for a lot of bettors. Thanksgiving weekend actually started great...
  • burkecbb

    CBB schedule strength key for bettors

    Another week of college basketball is in the books, and we have some bigger sample sizes to consider now. Most teams have still played only about one-fifth...

VSiN Logo Plus

Free Trial

Make a risk-free bet on VSiN!


  • Afternoon subscriber-only email with highlights and best bets from the day's programs
  • Point Spread Weekly, VSiN's digital magazine on sports betting
  • 24-7 Live video stream of VSiN programs plus replays
  • Any special sport-specified betting guides we do
  • All exclusive subscriber-only stories and data on
Sign Up Now
Google Play
App Store