Whilst we’ve finally had some fun prime time NFL games of late, it’s about to come crashing to a halt, as the hopeless New England Patriots head to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. With a total that might end up starting with the number 2, you’re going to need to make a bet on this one to give you a reason to watch.
Below, we will dissect the matchup, previewing how we think things will play out, and give out our NFL Best Bet. Make sure you are following Before You Bet, as we will have dedicated NFL betting tips for all primetime NFL games this season, as well as a preview of the main NFL slate on Mondays. All for free!
NFL Week 14 Preview & Betting Tips
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
Acrisure Stadium, Friday 8th December, 12:15pm (AEDT)
The Steelers come in off an embarrassing loss at home last week to the Cardinals, going down 24-10 in a game that was punctuated by several lightning storms that caused delays. In the biggest news of the game, the Steelers lost quarterback Kenny Pickett to an ankle injury, with Mitch Trubisky coming in to deputize. It didn’t help, as the Steelers lost despite gaining more yards than the Cardinals, converting 3rd downs at only 36.4%, whilst going 1/3 on redzone trips. This offense is not good, and I don’t think Trubisky makes it any better.
Speaking of bad offenses, the Patriots were shut out at home last week by the Los Angeles Chargers, and their vaunted defence… The Patriots only managed 141 yards passing, at 3.5 yards per completion. In their past 3 games, the Patriots are averaging just 4.3 points per game, and have not scored double digit points in a game in that span. With running back Rhamondre Stevenson likely out, this Patriots offense is the worst in the league right now.
Renell Wren (DT) – OUT
Cory Trice (CB) – OUT
Cole Holcomb (LB) – OUT
Kwon Alexander (MLB) – OUT
Keanu Neal (SS) – OUT
Elijah Riley (DB) – OUT
Kenny Pickett (QB) – OUT
Najee Harris (RB) – Questionable
Mason Cole (C) – Questionable
James Pierre (CB) – OUT
Keeanu Benton (DT) – Questionable
Elandon Roberts (OLB) – Questionable
Isaac Seumalo (OG) – Questionable
New England Patriots
Raekwon McMillan (MLB) – OUT
Riley Reiff (OT) - OUT
Isaiah Bolden (CB) – OUT
Kendrick Bourne (WR) / Demario Douglas – OUT
Rhamondre Stevenson (RB) – Doubtful
Chris Board (LB) – Questionable
JuJu Smith-Schuster / DeVante Parker / Kayshon Boutte (WR) – Questionable
Trent Brown (OT) – Questionable
Christian Barmore (DT) – Questionable
As can be seen from the injury report, both teams are coming into this short week preparation with massive injury issues. There are several other Patriots that I haven’t even added to the above list that are due to come off IR, however there’s no guarantee any of them come back. It makes it extremely difficult to handicap the game, but we’re going to try anyway.
These teams last met in week 2 of last season, with the Patriots sneaking home 17-14 in Pittsburgh. Interestingly, Mitch Trubisky started that game as well, going down to Mac Jones and the Pats. No Jones this week for the Patriots, with Bailey Zappe more than likely the starter in this one. The Patriots have won 7 of the last 8 matchups, but I really can’t take much from this. The Patriots are potentially the worst team in the league right now, and the Steelers aren’t much better.
The Steelers were 6.5-point favourites on the lookahead, before re-opening as 6-point favourites after losing to the Cardinals. They remain 6-point favourites, and despite my numbers making them a 5.5-point favourite, I just can’t take the Steelers laying so many points. At the same time, man it’s hard to take the Patriots to cover any number with their offense right now.
The total for the game was 35 on the lookahead, before re-opening at 32.5 on Monday evening, and unders money has kept coming in, to where the total now sits at 30/30.5. This is the lowest total in the past 30 years in the NFL, and whilst this could easily turn into a 9-6 game, it’s hard to bet an under on such a low total.
I don’t know how either team scores in this game offensively, and ultimately, I believe the winner of this game will be the team that can get a defensive or special team’s score. If I had to pick one team to do this, I’d take the Patriots. Their defence has still been very good lately, and as hard as it is to do, I’m going to bet the Patriots to win the game. Obviously, small staking, but this price is crazy for the Steelers, who have been horrible in these spots as heavy favourites for years.
New England Patriots to Win
$3.40 (1 Unit)