Betting: Is it smart to fade the Steelers?

Pamela Maldonado breaks down her best bets for the AFC North this coming season.

Video Transcript

PAM MALDONADO: Let's talk some NFL. I'm Pam Maldonado, and I'm looking at the AFC North. My favorite prediction for the 2022 season is Pittsburgh Steelers, under 7.5 wins at -115. Now, I know what you're thinking. The Steelers have not had a losing record in 18 seasons. But this is the year. If you're looking at last year's offensive line, you're talking about a unit that allowed 38 sacks to Big Ben Roethlisberger, and this year, four of the five starters are making their return. That's not necessarily a good thing, as they are projected to be 30th in the NFL.

Now, rookie quarterback in Kenny Pickett is likely going to be a more mobile quarterback, but if you look at the schedule, it is pretty tough, especially early on. In the first eight weeks, the Steelers will be facing five teams inside the top 11 for sacks. Another problem the Steelers offense had last season was trouble on third downs. In the last two years, the Steelers have had 22% of its plays as third-down plays. That's the highest rate in the NFL, which means that they are forced into these situations.

So now not only do you have a vulnerable offensive line, but you also have a rookie quarterback. 2022 could be much of the same, not to mention the running back unit-- 29th in yards per carry last year, 28th in success rate. This season, the Steelers will face the third toughest schedule of run defenses after facing the seventh easiest last year.

All of these are reasons as to why in the first half of games, the Steelers' offense ranked 31st in red-zone trips per drive and in scores per drive. You could bet the unders on the Steelers in the first half of games, and it was gold. Now, when looking at season win totals, I like looking at teams that are likely to win games early on in the season. The Steelers have to face quarterbacks such as Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, and Tom Brady, and defenses in the Patriots, Browns, and Miami. Wins may definitely be tough to come by.

Another thing that I'll be looking at for this season is Steelers games to go under the game total both overall and at home. The Steelers are 17 and 28 to the under overall in the last three seasons, 9 and 14 to the under at home during that same span. The strength of the Steelers should still come in the defense, now with an offense that's potentially still lacking as seasons prior. So taking game total unders is definitely worth a look each and every week.

So to recap, my favorite play out of the AFC North is the Pittsburgh Steelers under 7.5 wins at -115, and to be looking for spots to bet the game total under throughout the 2022 season. Bet $10 and win $200 in free bets by signing up at BetMGM.com/YahooVIP. New customers only, must be 21 or older, and terms do apply.