The defending champion New England Patriots will look to put a tumultuous offseason in the rearview mirror tonight when they open their season opposite the Pittsburgh Steelers. This evening’s NFL kickoff between the two iconic franchises is scheduled to get underway at 8:30 pm ET on NBC and what was a three point line in the game has now reached 7.5. The latest 2015 Thursday Night Football Odds from Bovada.lv are favoring the Patriots at that number while the game total is coming in at 52 points.
Spygate, Deflategate … big distractions for the Patriots heading into the season or so it would seem. But few things get to New England, which has demonstrated an ability to play exceptional football in spite of whatever controversy may be swirling around it.
The Patriots will need to show that same resolve tonight in order to get past a Steelers squad that won 11 games last season while churning out 436 points (27.2 points per game).
The line obviously indicates where bettor expectation is at in regard to that happening, and the Pats history and prowess at Gillette Stadium has a lot to do with it. New England is 50-8 in its last 58 home games (includes playoffs) and it is 15-1 straight up in its last 16 games playing as a home favorite.
Add to that Pittsburgh’s recent woes in Foxboro and tonight’s game looks like another ‘W’ for Tom Brady and company. The Steelers are 1-3 both straight up and against the spread in their last four games at Gillette and they dropped their last outing there 31-55 (November 2013).
New England posted an astounding 610 total yards in that victory as Brady completed 23-of-33 passes for 432 yards and four touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski reeled in nine catches on 10 targets for a total of 143 yards and one score.
The Steelers think they have a plan to slow the duo this time around, though.
“If you mess up their timing, they are really time-oriented,” Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “You have to mess up their timing and get in his face with pressure, then I feel we can slow him down a little bit.”
Easier said than done, especially in Foxboro.
Pittsburgh’s best route to a potential victory will come through its offense, which did plenty in the aforementioned loss. The Steelers produced 479 total yards and 31 points that day and they should have success moving the ball again tonight. However, a win or cover will depend on ball security, which is something they did practice the last time around, turning it over three times.
Thursday Night Football Odds Betting Trend: The Patriots are 4-1 straight up but 1-4 against the spread playing as a home favorite on Thursday night since the 2000 season. The Over was 4-1 in those same five games.
Steelers vs Patriots 2015 Thursday Night Football Odds: NFL Odds Provided by Bovada.lv
Pittsburgh Steelers +7.5 (-110), Over 52 (-110), +255 (Moneyline)
New England Patriots -7.5 (-110), Under 52 (-110), -310 (Moneyline)