Las Vegas Sun

July 17, 2018

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sports betting:

Week 11 NFL picks against the spread for the Sun’s handicapping contest

Ben Roethlisberger’s injury causes major shake-up in Sunday Night Football line



Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich (4) throws a pass as veteran backup quarterback Charlie Batch (16) watches during the NFL football team’s practice on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, in Pittsburgh. Leftwich will start Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger said he also dislocated a rib as well as getting the sprained SC joint in his shoulder when he was sacked in the third quarter of the game against Kansas City. Roethlisberger says the rib issue is a bigger concern.

Sun's NFL betting game of Week 11

Which side would you take in this week’s Sunday Night Football game?
Baltimore -3.5 — 78.1%
Pittsburgh +3.5 — 21.9%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

One of the most common questions regarding betting on the NFL deals with which players affect the point spread the most.

This week’s betting market indicates few players are more important in Las Vegas than Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The line on the Sunday Night Football game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers shifted seven points after Roethlisberger was ruled out of the contest.

Pittsburgh opened as a 3.5-point favorite over rival Baltimore on Sunday evening. After Roethlisberger suffered a separated shoulder in a Monday Night Football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the line adjusted to Baltimore by one.

Bettors have since driven the Ravens up to a 3.5-point favorite, showing no faith in Pittsburgh backup Byron Leftwich.

The Steelers' best defensive player, safety Troy Polamalu, also is expected to miss his sixth straight game with a calf injury.

The Ravens have dealt with injuries of their own, losing defensive stalwarts Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis for the season in a Week 6 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. But they’ve responded to go 2-1 both straight-up and against the spread without Webb and Lewis.

Gamblers also have turned a profit betting on Pittsburgh lately, as it had covered in three straight games before the 16-13 win over the Chiefs as 12.5-point favorites. Both teams are 4-5 against the spread for the season.

It’s not without precedent that the Steelers are forced to play the Ravens without Roethlisberger and Polamalu. In 2009, both were injured and missed a game at Baltimore that November.

The line similarly spiked out of control in Baltimore’s favor with the Ravens going off as 9-point favorites. Pittsburgh easily covered with backup quarterback Dennis Dixon, losing a devastating 20-17 game in overtime.

Two participants in the Sun’s handicapping contest, in which three sports staffers pick six plays per week, expect history to repeat itself and see the Steelers cashing tickets again.

Find all of this week’s picks below. Games are listed in order of kickoff time.


Case Keefer

Record: 30-29-1 (3-3 last week)

Panthers +1.5 vs. Buccaneers

Browns +8 at Cowboys

Redskins -3.5 vs. Eagles

Patriots -9.5 vs. Colts

Raiders +5.5 vs. Saints

Steelers +3.5 vs. Ravens


Ray Brewer

Record: 28-31-1 (4-2 last week)

Redskins -3.5 vs. Eagles

Chiefs +3.5 vs. Bengals

Jets +3.5 at Rams

Packers -3.5 at Lions

Chargers vs. Broncos over 49

Steelers +3.5 vs. Ravens


Taylor Bern

Record: 24-34-2 (1-5 last week)

Cardinals +10 at Falcons

Browns +8 at Cowboys

Buccaneers -1.5 at Panthers

Jaguars +15.5 at Texans

Saints -5.5 at Raiders

49ers -4 vs. Bears

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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