The Steelers opened as seven-point underdogs to the San Francisco 49ers in sports books on Monday after the team announced that starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will miss the rest of the 2019 season with an elbow injury.
Pittsburgh had been a one-point favorite in early lines released before Roethlisberger left Sunday’s 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph will be making his first career start against the 2-0 49ers, who have two road wins under their belt at Tampa Bay and Cincinnati and will be playing their home opener.
Through two games, the Steelers are 0-2 against the spread. The 49ers are 2-0 against the spread this season.
The Steelers’ Super Bowl LIV odds also took a tumble with the announcement of Roethlisberger’s injury.
Five days ago, BetOnline.ag gave the Steelers 28-to-1 odds to win their seventh Super Bowl. After the loss of Roethlisberger, that figure has ballooned to 80-to-1. That’s the largest increase in the NFL in that time span. Only 10 teams have worse Super Bowl odds.
New Orleans, which will also be without star quarterback Drew Brees for quite some time, went from 8-to-1 to 20-to-1. The New England Patriots are the favorites at 7-to-2.
Odds: Steelers Consensus Favorites to Land J.J. Watt
The Houston Texans parted ways with star defensive end J.J. Watt on Friday, and just hours later, odds have been released for his next destination.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, whom his brothers T.J. and Derek play for, are the consensus favorites to land Watt, according to at least three sportsbooks.
PointsBet (3/2), BetOnline (3/2) and DraftKings Sportsbook (4/1) all give the Steelers the best odds to sign Watt.
There is far less consensus beyond Pittsburgh, as a number of last year’s playoff teams are viewed as attractive destinations for Watt.
The Green Bay Packers are the only other club universally seen as a potential landing spot. Watt is a Wisconsin native and played his college ball in Madison. He would certainly provide a boost to a franchise that has been a game away from the Super Bowl the last two seasons.
Green Bay is actually seen as the favorite by SportsBetting.com at (3/2). Other oddsmakers have the Packers anywhere from 4/1 to 9/1.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks are also seen as likely destinations.
Watt exits Houston as one of the greatest players in franchise history. He was selected to five Pro Bowls, named First-Team All-Pro on five occasions and earned three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
A future Hall of Famer, Watt is the Texans’ all-time leader in sacks (101), tackles-for-loss (172) and forced fumbles (25).
Steelers Own Third-Best Odds to Win AFC North
The Pittsburgh Steelers may have won the AFC North last season, but oddsmakers are not confident they can repeat in 2021.
Pittsburgh owns the third-best odds to win the division next season at 13/5, courtesy of BetOnline.
The Baltimore Ravens are the favorites to win the AFC North in 2021 with 5/4 odds. The Cleveland Browns also own better odds (2/1) than the Steelers. Cincinnati owns the longest odds at 18/1.
One of the most competitive divisions in football a season ago, the AFC North sent three teams to the postseason.
The Browns defeated the Steelers on Wildcard Weekend, ultimately falling to the eventual AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs the next week. The Ravens were defeated by the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round.
The lack of faith in the Steelers likely stems from the unknown, as Pittsburgh has a number of questions to answer this offseason.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has still not officially announced his intentions to return in 2021 and the team also has a number of key contributors set to hit free agency.
Pittsburgh last won consecutive division titles in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Steelers Long Shots to Win 2021-22 AFC Championship
Odds to win the 2021-22 AFC Championship have been released, and bookmakers appear to have little faith in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers are 16/1 to reach the Super Bowl next season, tied for the tenth-best odds in the conference, courtesy of BetOnline. Pittsburgh is tied with the Tennessee Titans.
Two AFC North opponents have better odds than the Steelers as well. The Baltimore Ravens have the third-best odds in the AFC at 6/1 while the Cleveland Browns are fourth at 11/1.
Pittsburgh won the AFC North a season ago, but was eliminated Wildcard Weekend in a drubbing by the Browns at home.
More questions than answers plague the Steelers this offseason, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger weighing retirement and a number of key contributors set to hit free agency with little salary cap breathing room to bring them back.
There is no surprise at the top of the conference, as the Kansas City Chiefs are favorites at 11/4 to repeat as AFC champions.