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  • The Steelers are 2-7 against the spread in their last nine games at Heinz Field, and Pittsburgh is a four-point favorite against Carolina on Thursday night. Should you fade the Steelers at home?
By Scott Gramling
November 07, 2018

Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)

Thu. 11/8, 8:20 p.m. ET

Three things you need to know before betting on Carolina-Pittsburgh:

1. Two surging teams kick off Week 10 at Heinz Field on Thursday night when the Steelers host the Panthers. Carolina enters with a three-game win streak (both straight up and against the spread), while Pittsburgh counters with a four-game victory streak of its own (both SU and ATS). Carolina turned the ball over three times in its only loss in its last six games, which was at Washington on Oct. 14, but the Panthers have since cleaned up their mistakes with zero giveaways during the team’s current three-game win streak. Pittsburgh’s defense, meanwhile, has managed only three takeaways over the team’s past five games, which sets up the following betting system in favor of the Panthers: Favorites of between 3.5 and 10 points are 21-49-1 against the spread since the start of the 2014 season when coming off a game in which they failed to force a turnover and are facing an opponent coming off a game in which it committed fewer than two turnovers.

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2. Carolina leads the NFL with an average of 5.2 rushing yards per carry, and the team’s 143.9 rushing yards per game trails only the 144.3-yard average of the Los Angeles Rams. The Panthers have averaged 151.3 rushing yards per game on 5.5 yards per carry during the team’s current three-game win streak. Although Pittsburgh is the NFL's No. 6 rush defense in terms of yardage, that is a byproduct of matching up with some horrible running games. In their past six contests, the Steelers have faced Tampa Bay, Baltimore (twice), Atlanta, Cincinnati and Cleveland. Five of these opponents rank among the seven worst NFL teams in rushing offense, with only the Browns, who rank ninth in rushing yards per game due in part to having already played four overtime games this season, having a respectable ground game among the group. Carolina has also been a strong wager after a great offensive outburst like last week when it scored 42 points with 407 total yards. Since the start of the 2017 season, the Panthers are 6-0 against the spread with an average scoring margin of 9 points per game when coming off a game in which the team averaged six or more yards per play.

3. Although the Steelers offense can put up points, Ron Rivera is 29-17 as Panthers head coach when facing a team that’s averaging at least 24 points per game. Under Rivera, Carolina is also an impressive 18-8 mark against the spread after having won three of its previous four games straight up. It’s also worth noting that Pittsburgh is just 2-7 against the spread over its past nine home games.

Pick: Carolina +4

Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)

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