Week 14 of the NFL season kicks off with an interesting AFC battle. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots will travel to Pittsburgh to take on T.J. Watt and the Steelers. Thursday Night Football has become notorious for low-scoring affairs, and this one is pegged with the lowest NFL total in 30 years. The Patriots have been abysmal this season and, at this point, are eager to wrap up 2023 and likely draft a new franchise quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft. New England is 2-10 entering Week 14 and its current situation under center is murky, to say the least.
Mac Jones has struggled this season and forced the Patriots to bench him for Bailey Zappe. Neither young quarterback has impressed and New England owns the lowest-scoring offense in the NFL. The Patriots haven’t scored more than 10 points in their last three matchups, and they were shut out last week. To make matters worse, they will be without their best offensive player in running back Rhamondre Stevenson, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13.
Pittsburgh currently holds a playoff spot in the AFC with a 7-5 record in the top Wild Card position. The Steelers will be without quarterback Kenny Pickett for a few weeks as he also suffered a severe high ankle sprain in the loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. In his place will be veteran Mitchell Trubisky under center. The former second-overall pick in 2017 is 29 years old, but he has a decent track record for a backup. Trubisky is 31-24 in his career as a starter, and he went 2-3 overall last season for the Steelers.
Being past the halfway point now, the league has many injuries to sift through. This game is no different. Another significant injury question coming into this matchup is the status of Steelers running back Najee Harris. He is listed as questionable with a knee injury, but reports are leaning toward him not being available. The good news is we have plenty of info on every NFL team we can use with our free NFL picks. It’s unbelievable how quickly the NFL season flies by, so we must capitalize on every chance.
Here is a look at the latest NFL betting lines on the total for Thursday Night Football. The current odds have the total for this showdown at just 30 points. That total suggests a sluggish showing from both offenses. This would be the lowest total of the season yet.
Both teams are below average in terms of neutral pace. New England’s offense has been 17th in neutral pace and leaning on the running game. The Steelers have been slow-pokes on offense, with the third-slowest neutral pace and fourth-highest rushing rate over this same time.
These teams have combined to go to the under in 19 of 24 games this season. Scoring has been a premium so far in the 2023 season. The under has hit in over 57% of games. Primetime spots have gone under the total in 29 of 41 games – a 70.7% hit rate. This season has been ugly for anyone betting on scoring markets – as we NFL player prop bettors do.
We have the lowest over/under since 1993 tomorrow night between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 6, 2023
The NFL point spread has the Steelers as 6-point favorites. The Steelers have been notoriously strong against bad teams under Mike Tomlin. They have covered the spread in eight of their last 10 games versus opponents with a losing record. Meanwhile, the Patriots have not covered the spread as an underdog in 12 of their last 13 chances. New England is the worst team against the spread this season at 2-10.
Touchdown picks have been proving extremely difficult this season, but my goal remains the same as in September. Manage to make a profit by the end of the Super Bowl. The analysis has been spot on, but our guys just haven’t been the ones to find paydirt. If you rode the touchdown train last season, you’ll recall we had multiple weeks of over 15 units of profit. I aim for us to climb back into the green in the final five weeks of the regular season.
As the conductor of the touchdown train, I’ve once again narrowed down the best options for anytime touchdown scorers for you here on Thursday Night Football in Week 14. Selecting touchdown picks for these two teams right now is a fool’s errand, but there are a couple of spots I like enough to do so. Let’s get to the best NFL bets for the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots. Best of luck if you tail!
Steelers vs Patriots Best Anytime TD Scorer Bets
Allen Robinson (+650)
Backing any Patriots player to score a touchdown is ludicrous since New England’s offense has been anemic this season. Although this isn’t the Steel Curtain defense, Pittsburgh is a formidable unit in 2023. The former Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt has 14 sacks entering Week 14, and I expect him to wreak havoc again if his current ankle injury doesn’t slow him down.
The Steelers’ offense hasn’t been much better to trust this season, as they were forced to fire offensive coordinator Matt Canada two weeks ago. I’m not excited about either team’s offense, as the Patriots defense has allowed the fewest points in the NFL since Week 9. The Patriots’ run defense has been its best strength all season and ranks fourth in rushing yards allowed per game and yards per carry.
With Najee Harris dealing with a knee injury, I expect Jaylen Warren to get plenty of work. The only predicament is Pittsburgh won’t be able to lean on its ground game as much as they want. Trubisky will be forced to beat New England through the air.
Over the last two months, the Patriots’ pass defense has been about league average but they are allowing the ninth-highest adjusted completion percentage. I expect Patriots coach Bill Belichick to stack the box and force Trubisky to throw. As long as Trubisky makes good decisions, he will have success, as the Patriots are 28th in EPA per dropback.
With this game expected to be a drag, I’m opting to take a shot with a former teammate of Trubisky’s during their times together in Chicago. Yes, Diontae Johnson and George Pickens will likely lead the passing game, but if Pittsburgh can manage to get down in the red zone, I expect Trubisky to look toward a trusted target.
Allen Robinson had three targets last week that all came after Pickett was out of the game. The two veterans played together in Chicago for three seasons. For what it’s worth, I also like the price for a Steelers defense/special teams score, but I’m rolling with just Allen Robinson at this juicy number.
Questions Of The Day
Which TNF Anytime Touchdown Scorer is the best value bet?
The TNF anytime touchdown scorer that is the best value bet is Allen Robinson.
Which team will rush for more yards in the first half of the TNF Primetime game?
The Steelers will rush for more yards in the first half of the TNF primetime game.