Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3,
Two of the league’s top rushers go head-to-head when Le’Veon Bell
and the Pittsburgh Steelers play host to Arian Foster and the
Houston Texans on Monday night in a matchup of .500 teams. Bell
ranks second in the league in rushing for the Steelers, who are
plagued by a defense surrendering big plays both through the air
and on the ground. Foster is third in the NFL for the Texans, who
are in the midst of a two-game skid.
J.J. Watt may be having an MVP-type season but the Texans have
yet to make good on their promising start. After winning just
twice last year, Houston already has three wins but have since
surrendered 694 yards through the air dropping back-to-back
decisions to Dallas and Indianapolis. Aside from Watt, Houston
is struggling ranked 27th in the league in total defense.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The Steelers opened as 4-point
home favorites and have been bet down to -3. The total opened
at 44.5, moved up to 45 for a short while before settling back
INJURY REPORT: Houston – LB Brian Cushing
(probable Monday, knee), LB Jeff Tarpinian (questionable
Monday, knee), LB Brooks Reed (questionable Monday, groin), LB
Jadeveon Clowney (questionable Monday, knee), DB Darryl Morris
(questionable Monday, ankle), LB Mike Mohamed (questionable
Monday, calf), G Brandon Brooks (questionable Monday, ankle).
Pittsburgh – WR Martavis Bryant (questionable Monday,
shoulder), LB Ryan Shazzier (questionable Monday, knee), S
Shamarko Thomas (questionable Monday, hamstring), S Mike
Mitchell (questionable Monday, knee), DE Brett Kiesel
(questionable Monday, knee), NT Steve McLendon (out Monday,
WEATHER REPORT: There is a 54 percent chance
of rain at game time, with temperatures in the low 50’s. There
will also be a 10 mile per hour wind blowing towards the north
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Houston (+1) –
Pittsburgh (+2) + home field (-3) = Pittsburgh -2
WHAT BOOKS SAY:
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Despite having identical
3-3 SU records, the Texans are actually 0-6 in the stats this
season, being out gained by all six opponents in total yardage.
The Steelers are 4-2 in the stats, outgaining four of their six
opponents so far. Houston has the advantage of extra prep
and rest time since they played their last game on a Thursday
night nearly two weeks ago. The Texans are the most public
underdog play this week in the NFL based on the public
consensus and it has affected the line with the opening
pointspread dropping from +4 down to the key number of +3 now.
This has been a critical move as there is nearly a 14% chance
that NFL favorites will win by either a 3 or 4 point margin.”
Expert Steve Merrill.
CHEERLEADER WAR: The Steelers don’t have
cheerleaders so we thought Evan Longoria’s girlfriend Jamie
Edmonson would be a good substitute.
ABOUT THE TEXANS (3-3, 4-2 ATS, 3-3 O/U):
Houston hopes to get back the services of rookie linebacker and
No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney following knee surgery to
bolster its pass defense. It could reap instant rewards
as Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been
sacked 11 times in the past three games. Offensively, the
Texans have had their problems through the air as Ryan
Fitzpatrick has thrown six interceptions and just three
touchdowns in his past four games.
ABOUT THE STEELERS (3-3, 2-4 ATS, 3-3 O/U):
Pittsburgh hopes the beginning of a three-game homestand will
remedy a shaky start which finds them sitting in the AFC North
cellar. The Steelers have alternated wins and losses since
starting the season with a 30-27 victory over Cleveland but
lost to the Browns last week as Roethlisberger recorded a
season-low 64.4 rating and threw his first interception in the
last four games. Bell remains consistent, averaging 5.2 yards a
carry, and star receiver Antonio Brown is just three yards
behind Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson for the league lead.
* Texans are 0-6 ATS in their last six Monday night games.
* Steelers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games after allowing
more than 30 points in their previous game.
* Under is 5-0 in the Texans last five games following an ATS
* Under is 7-0 in the Steelers last seven games in October.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Just over 59 percent of
wagers are backing the Texans at +3.