The NFL schedule makers really went into their bag when putting this game into prime time. To open this week of NFL action, the New England Patriots travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even with healthy quarterbacks, at best fans were getting a Mac Jones against Kenny Pickett. This has gotten worse with injuries as now each team’s backup will attempt to score anything against two strong defenses. The most interesting storyline for this game could be the future of Bill Belichick if the Patriots continue to struggle. Each week, Canal Street Chronicles will preview the props and wagers for all Thursday games. Thank you to our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook for the wagering lines for the CSC Thursday Football preview and props.
Thursday Night Football best bets
Steelers game line -4.5(-134)
The Patriots and Steelers both struggled last week on offense and lost. The Patriots are struggling worse though, scoring just 13 total points in their last three games. With Kenny Pickett lost to injury, the Steelers at least have a veteran backup in Mitch Trubisky who will try to keep the team in the playoff hunt. Trubisky has scrambling ability, which have given Belichick defenses issues through the years. Expect a very low scoring game though as both defenses are still stout in most areas. The difference will be the Steelers playmakers who have big-play ability. They will do enough for the Steelers to win by more than five.
Bailey Zappe over .5 interceptions(-190)
The Patriots offense is in complete disarray. Rhamondre Stevenson was the lone bright spot for the team and he is now injured. Their pass-catchers have been poor while the quarterback play has been worse, no matter who is under center. This week, Bailey Zappe gets the start and faces one of the best secondaries in the league. The Steelers are tied for the fourth-most interceptions in the NFL at 12 so far. The unit will be salivating over a good matchup against Zappe who has two interceptions and zero touchdowns this season. With the home crowd backing the Steelers, Zappe has at least one interception in the game.
Pat Freiermuth over 2.5 receptions(-150)
The old adage of a tight end being a quarterback’s best friend will hold true this week for Mitchell Trubisky. When he has played, Trubisky throws more than half his passes to Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth. The matchup is okay for Freiermuth as the Patriots allow just over four receptions per game to opposing tight ends. After the firing of offensive coordinator Matt Canada, Freiermuth has been a much bigger part of the offense, garnering 16 targets the last two games. Being the home crowd should help the offense and Trubisky will check down to Freiermuth when needed to go over three total receptions.
Long shot of the night
Neither team to reach 15 points(+320)
If this game were to wrap with a 13-6 final score, no one would be shocked on either side. Both teams are going to rely on their defenses the rest of the year and will be content on running the ball, speeding the game up considerably. Plays for both quarterbacks will be safe and likely not result in much scoring for either side. The Patriots have scored over 15 points just once in their last month of football while the Steelers are averaging just over 14 points per game in the same span. This is a long shot for a reason because a pick-six or turnover on a short field can quickly escalate scoring over this total, but the possibility exists for a very low scoring game where neither team reaches 15.