NFL Monday Night Football Betting Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Diego Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers at San Diego Chargers
Monday, October 12, 2015, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, California
Opening Line: San Diego -3 1/2
Current Line: San Diego -3 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 44 1/2
Current Total: 45 1/2
Opening Money Line: Chargers -170 / Steelers +150
Current Money Line: Chargers -190 / Steelers +160

Antonio Gates returns from a four game suspension as the Chargers host the Steelers Monday night.
Antonio Gates returns from a four game suspension as the Chargers host the Steelers Monday night.

Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers are 2-2 this season. Both teams are also looking up at 5-0 teams in their respective divisions. Pittsburgh is behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North. San Diego is behind the Denver Broncos in the AFC West.

Pittsburgh has dominated this series 22-9. The Steelers have won 8 of the last 10 games against the Chargers dating back to 1995. San Diego won the last meeting 34-24 in Pittsburgh in 2012.

Pittsburgh is coached by Mike Tomlin. The Steelers have a road loss to the New England Patriots 28-21 and last Thursday at home to the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 in overtime. Pittsburgh has a home win over the San Francisco 49ers 43-18 and a road win over the St. Louis Rams 12-6. The Steelers were 3 point underdogs against the previously winless Ravens and the total was 44. Pittsburgh was a home dog because quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a knee injury against the Rams the week before and is out 4-6 weeks. Michael Vick started at quarterback for the Steelers. Pittsburgh would take a 20-7 early in the third quarter but would not score again. Baltimore would trail 20-14 going into the fourth and the Ravens kicked two fourth quarter field goals including a 42 yarder with 3 seconds left that sent the game into overtime. Pittsburgh kicker Josh Scobee missed two field goals of 49 and 41 yards, either of which would have sealed the game.

In overtime, Tomlin had no confidence in Scobee. The Steelers went for it on fourth and less than 2 yards twice in Baltimore territory, and failed both times.  Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker made a 52 yard field goal with just over 5 minutes to go in overtime to win their first game of the season. Pittsburgh is 3-0-1 ATS and the total is 1-3 this season.

Scobee was released the next day, and Pittsburgh signed Chris Boswell as the new kicker. It is important to note Scobee was only the kicker because Shaun Suisham and Garrett Hartley suffered pre-season injuries and are out for the season.

San Diego is coached by Mike McCoy.  The Chargers have home wins over the Detroit Lions 33-28, and last week against the Cleveland Browns 30-27. San Diego has road losses at the Minnesota Vikings 31-14 and Bengals 24-19. The Chargers were 4.5 point favorites against the Browns and the total was 44.5. The two teams were tied at 13 at halftime. San Diego took a 20-16 lead into the fourth. They would expand the lead to 27-19, but Cleveland tied it up with a touchdown and a two point conversion with 2:09 left. The Chargers drove down the field and kicked a 34 yard field goal to win the game as time expired. San Diego is 1-3 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season.

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Pittsburgh is outscoring teams 24-19 this season. The Steelers are #7 in points allowed. Pittsburgh is averaging 360 yards per game on offense including 248 passing and 112 rushing yards. On defense, Pittsburgh is allowing 346 total yards per game including 243 passing and 113 rushing yards. The Steelers are  23/54 on third and fourth down conversions. Opponents are 26/66. Pittsburgh has forced 14 sacks and allowed 12 this year. The Steelers are +2 in turnovers.

Roethlisberger had completed 75.3% of his passes for 912 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions before the injury. Vick has thrown for 162 yards with a touchdown, and also has 28 rushing yards.   Landry Jones will serve as the back-up to Vick.

Running back DeAngelo Williams has 44 carries for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 20 yards. Le’Veon Bell has 41 carries for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns along with 14 catches for 91 yards.

Receiver Antonio Brown has 34 catches for 478 yards and 2 touchdowns. Darrius Heyward-Bey has 15 catches for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns. Markus Wheaton has 8 catches for 156 yards. Tight end Heath Miller has 13 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Martavis Bryant was supposed to return form a four game suspension but is doubtful with a shoulder injury. Leading tackler linebacker Ryan Shazier is questionable with a shoulder injury.

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San Diego is being outscored 28-24 this season. The Chargers are #25 in points allowed. San Diego averages 411 total yards including 309 passing and 102 rushing yards. The Chargers are #2 in passing and #3 in total offense. On defense, San Diego is allowing 352 total yards per game including 225 passing and 127 rushing yards. The Chargers are #9 in pass defense but #28 in rush defense. San Diego is 21/51 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 14/42. The Chargers have forced 12 sacks and allowed 5 this season. San Diego is -2 in turnovers and has allowed 2 defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Philip Rivers has completed 70.7% of his passes for 1,248 yards with 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Back-up Kellen Clemens has completed 5 of 6 passes for 63 yards with a touchdown.

Running back Melvin Gordon has 56 carries for 228 yards, along with 6 catches for 34 yards. Danny Woodhead has 33 carries for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 16 catches for 203 yards. Branden Oliver will also get some carries.

Receiver Keenan Allen has 33 catches for 387 yards and 3 touchdowns. Stevie Johnson has 18 catches for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Ladarius Green has 14 catches for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns. Malcom Floyd has 8 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown. He is questionable with a concussion. Receiver Jacoby Jones is probable with an ankle injury. Tight end Antonio Gates makes his season debut after serving a four game suspension. Five defensive players and four offensive linemen are on the injury report.

Pittsburgh is 4-0 ATS in road games, 3-0-1 overall, 6-1 after a straight up loss, 5-1 after allowing 150 rushing yards or more, 4-1-1 against AFC teams, 7-2-1 in October, 12-4-1 in week five, 3-1-1 on grass, 5-2 after failing to cover, 6-13 after rushing for 150 yards or more, 2-6-1 after allowing 350 yards or more, 1-4 in Monday games, and 2-8 after passing for 150 yards or less. The Steelers have covered 7 of the last 10 against the Chargers and were favored in each of those contests.

San Diego is 5-1 ATS in Monday games, 12-5 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 2-8 after failing to cover, 3-12 overall, 1-5 after gaining more than 350 total yards, 2-10 on grass, 1-6 at home and after a straight up win, 1-10 against AFC teams, 0-4 in October, after passing for 250 yards or more and allowing 250 passing yards or more.

Vick looked a little rusty last week against Baltimore. San Diego has looked explosive in the passing game and the addition of Gates will only make it better. I think the Chargers win a close low scoring game at home.

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