Free NFL Picks: Value Pick of the Week

troy polamalu pittsburgh steelers
This guy is leading a nasty steelers defense that should give the Bucs fits on Sunday
The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Tampa Bay to battle the Bucs in a game that features two undefeated teams. That’s right – the Bucs are undefeated.  According to our NFL betting lines page, the Steelers opened as 2 ½ point favorites and it seems books aren’t quite sure what to do with this game. 5 Dimes, Bet Jamaica, and Sportbet are listing the Steelers at 1 point, while Bodog and Bookmaker have Pittsburgh up to 3 points. That’s one reason why Maddux Sports is such a valuable website – you have the opportunity to find a 2 point swing in what should be a defensive football game. Considering the public is backing the Steelers at nearly 90%, chances are some sharp money has come into the books listing Pittsburgh at 1 point, which is fine. With the way Pittsburgh has played, a 1 point spread is a value play for Pittsburgh.

The NFL has some fine defenses, like the Jets and Ravens. But people might have forgotten about the Steel Curtain. With Troy Polamalu healthy, these guys are as good as any defense in the League. After games against Atlanta and Tennessee, the Pittsburgh D is giving up on average 52 yards on the ground and 214 through the air, totaling a meager 266 yards. And that’s against two quality opponents; both the Falcons and Titans have a great shot at being wildcards this year. Additionally, each team has a top notch running back – Michael Turner and Chris Johnson. Nevertheless, the Steelers are allowing only 2.2 yards per carry. That is phenomenal.

Unfortunately, the Steelers offense has been almost as bad as the defense has been good. The primary problem, of course, is at quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is out until week 5, Dennis Dixon just had his knee scoped, Byron Leftwich has had a bum knee, too, but he might be available Sunday. That leaves NFL retread Charlie Batch to play under center. Batch relieved Dixon early last week, and Pittsburgh ended up with 21 passing yards. Yikes! How did they beat the Titans with only 21 passing yards? A kick return touchdown, 4 Jeff Reed field goals, and an exceptional defensive effort that earned 7 takeaways. That, and Rashard Mendenhall has done a nice job so far.

Tampa Bay has played well in their 2 wins over Cleveland and Carolina. But then again, they’ve beaten Cleveland and Carolina – 2 teams destined for poor seasons. Nevertheless, the Bucs have taken care of business. The team is +4 in turnovers, which is a big reason why Tampa is 2-0. Josh Freeman hasn’t done anything special, other than win. He has yet to break the 200 yard passing mark and is completing only 54.2% of his passes. The running game hasn’t really gotten on track, averaging 3.3 yards per carry. The defense has yielded only 21 points, but they’re giving up 4 yards per carry. As a team, the Bucs have been outgained, 280-309.

Technically, the numbers seem to favor Pittsburgh. Against the spread over the past 3 years, Pittsburgh is a solid 9-8 on the road, 6-6 when the line is +/-3, and 2-3 as a road favorite of 3 points or less. Tampa Bay is only 5-10 at home, 3-6 when the line is +/-3, and 0-2 as a home underdog of 3 points or less. Also worth checking out is the total for the game, which opened at 34 and is down to 33 points at most sites. However, neither Pittsburgh nor Tampa Bay has played in a game this season that totaled more than 31 points. Needless to say, the 2 teams have played the total a combined 0-4.

Maddux Sports has been on an incredible run. Don’t miss out on this week’s easy plays. One of our plays is our 20 unit NFL Game of the Month.  Sign up for one of our guaranteed, premium picks packages on the NFL picks page today!

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