I don’t happen to find any NFL preseason game very interesting, but they draw more betting action than most MLB regular-season games. And it’s a matchup of 2016 playoff teams on Friday night as Pittsburgh opens the exhibition schedule as underdogs against the Giants.
NFL Preseason Week 1: Pittsburgh at NY Giants Odds, Preview & PickNFL LiveOpening NFL Preseason Lines: Giants -3 (38)
Steelers’ Depth ChartYou aren’t going to see one of Pittsburgh’s stars in All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell. He’s currently holding out from training camp as he waits to sign his one-year franchise tender tag. The Steelers can’t even fine him and, honestly, probably don’t mind Bell is holding out to avoid injury.If Bell were a rookie, there would be a much higher level of concern over his missing any OTAs and more than a day or two of training camp. But for a four-year veteran who knows the system and can get up to speed in a hurry, the only worry for the team is whether he will be in reasonably good shape when he reports. And Bell is letting the Steelers and everybody else know through his social media postings that he is the working out in South Florida.The Steelers released their first 2017 depth chart this week and Bell wasn’t on it. Neither was backup QB Landry Jones, who is not practicing because of an abdominal injury. In addition to Jones, the other players on the “not participating” list are WR Martavis Bryant, WR Sammie Coates, WR Demarcus Ayers, CB Cam Sutton, FS Mike Mitchell, RB Le’Veon Bell, CB Senquez Golson, RB James Conner, C Maurkice Pouncey, C Mike Matthews, and OLB Keion Adams.Bryant is on this list as he awaits reinstatement from the NFL. Bryant remains on “conditional” reinstatement. The NFL announced last week that Bryant had to meet “requirements” to be fully reinstated. And the Steelers think the NFL will recognize that Bryant has met all of those requirements at some point in the coming week, but you aren’t likely to see him Friday.
First Start For Dobbs?With Jones not practicing yet and Ben Roethlisberger likely out Friday, rookie Josh Dobbs out of Tennessee could start at QB. The fourth-round pick that has shown flashes of his playmaking ability during the first two weeks of training camp.With Big Ben’s offseason retirement comments still in the air, Dobbs knows that he could be competing to be the Steelers’ starting quarterback as early as next season. For this season, he’ll be third string. But that doesn’t mean he won’t play in the regular season.The first career NFL action for ex-Pittsburgh QB Dennis Dixon – also a fifth-round pick supposedly- developmental quarterback like Dobbs is – unexpectedly came in 2009 at rival Baltimore when Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch both were injured.
Giants Injury QuestionsAmong those New York players who sat out Tuesday’s practice were defensive tackle Robert Thomas (soreness) and linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger). It was the second straight day they did not participate. Thus I wouldn’t expect them in this game. Thomas is in the mix to start at defensive tackle next to Damon Harrison. The preseason is important for his chances, especially after he joined the Giants late last summer and was in and out of the lineup last season. Harrison is competing with Jay Bromley and rookie Dalvin Tomlinson for a starting spot..Second-year WR Sterling Shepard is coming off a sprained ankle and he’s likely not playing Friday. Coach Ben McAdoo said he’d be open to playing Shepard “if he’s ready to go.” Shepard hasn’t run live drills or participated in a full practice since last Tuesday. McAdoo sat a healthy Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. out of the preseason opener last year in his first season as head coach. He insists he won’t handle Shepard with any extra discretion.One player to watch for New York is B.J. Goodson. The second-year pro is not only running with the ones, he’s in charge of calling the plays as the new middle linebacker. That’s a major responsibility for Goodson, who steps into a defense that allowed a league-low 25 offensive touchdowns in 2016. Goodson played only 13 defensive snaps last year as a rookie fourth-round draft pick.
Pittsburgh vs NY Giants Game History
- Total Meetings: 77
- First Meeting: September 20th, 1933. Forbes Field. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- Last Meeting: December 4th, 2016. Heinz Field. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- All-Time Series: NY Giants 44-30-3
- Largest Margin of Victory: Pittsburgh 63-7 (1952)
- Longest Win Streak: NY Giants 6 (1933-1935)
- Current Win Streak: Pittsburgh (2012-2016)
NFL Preseason Betting Trends
- Steelers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games.
- Steelers are 7-2- 1 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Giants are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.