NFL – Panthers and Steelers to put on a TNF exhibition


NFL nut Kyle Brown (@Kyleianbrown) runs the rule over the Thursday night's NFL clash between Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Carolina Panthers @ Pittsburgh Steelers | Friday 9th November 2018, 01:20 | Sky Sports

Week 10’s edition of Thursday Night Football sees a very tasty match-up, as the Carolina Panthers travel to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams are in red-hot form – winning five of their last six and sitting pretty in play-off positions – so all indications suggest it’ll be a great game for the neutrals.

Carolina have won their last three outings (averaging 33 points per-game) and Cam Newton is playing some of his best football to date. Last week saw him go 19/25 for 247 yards and two touchdowns, in a commanding win over the Tampa Bay Bucaneers.

The key battle could be in the run game. Carolina have been constant and successful with their run game and boast a league high 5.2 yards per=carry, as well as being tied-third for rushing touchdowns.

The versatility of Christian McCaffrey and the mobility of Newton has been a nightmare for opposition defences, but Pittsburgh will be one of the tougher defences they face – allowing the league’s sixth fewest rushing yards per-game average (90.2) and have only allowed five rushing touchdowns all year (seventh).

The Steelers have been just as good as the Panthers in recent weeks, and it’s all down to the offence. I can’t say much more about James Conner that won’t have already been said. His talent is unquestionable, and he’s been one of the main reasons the Steelers won’t budge to Leveon Bell’s contract demands.

Passing-wise, Antonio Brown leads the league in touchdown catches, and he, Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster account for 2/3 of Ben Roethlisberger’s targets since their bye week – they have ample opportunities to make plays and the trio all deliver.

Brown will likely be matched up against James Bradburry who is not a speedy cornerback by any means, so expect Brown to make separation with ease and haul in targets for sizeable yardage. However, the Steelers weakness is without a doubt their inconsistent pass defence.

While they have improved a little in recent weeks, Pittsburgh have given up 320+ passing yards three times this season, and will find the Panthers to be one of their toughest match-ups all season long.

TJ Watt has been an exception, totalling seven sacks through eight games, but sub-par performances in the secondary and outside corner will give the Panthers plenty of shots to keep Watt’s talent obsolete.

The betting angles

I am sold on this game as being a shootout. When the Steelers met the Chiefs earlier in the year, the match finished with 79 points and Ben threw for over 450 yards, and I suspect this game may pan out the same way. There is far too much talent on offense (from both sides) for this game to be stale.

Regardless of the defensive match-ups, I expect all key offensive players to have a big outing. As previously mentioned, Antonio Brown has a very favourable match-up, and you can get him to score a touchdown at anytime at 4/5 on SkyBet and to score a brace at 5/1 on Betfair.

Brown has scored in seven of his eight outings this year and leads the team in targets. He will be a difference maker in this match, as usual.

Points wise, this match already has the highest over/under line of Week 10 (52.5) – for good reason. I can easily see both teams putting up 30+ points if both offences show up on the night, and you can get over 56.5 at 7/5 on Unibet, over 60.5 at 9/4 on bet365 and over 61.5 at 27/10 on Ladbrokes. I personally will go all in on points this week, so would recommend over 61.5.

If looking for something with shorter, I don’t think you can go wrong in the player markets. Cam Newton to throw Over 234.5 Yards is 10/11 (SkyBet), having already smashed that line in 5/8 games this year and is up against a mediocre pass defence. I recon he’ll have a few long plays that will account for 50% of that target, courtesy of his deep threat receivers.

Secondly, James Conner is 4/6 (SkyBet) for Over 3.5 Receptions this match. That should come in with ease, seeing as he’s had four or more in 7/8 games this season.

If SkyBet’s Request-a-Bet is your sort of thing, have a look at Cam and Ben over 300+ yards each, priced at 9/2, or each team to have 2+ touchdowns and 2+ field goals, priced at 11/4. Both look good value for factors that aren’t exactly uncommon amongst either teams previous match-ups.

Best Bets

Carolina Panthers @ Pittsburgh Steelers – James Conner Over 3.5 Receptions (4/6 Skybet)

Carolina Panthers @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Antonio Brown to score a touchdown at anytime (4/5 SkyBet)

Carolina Panthers @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Cam Newton Over 234.5 Passing Yards (10/11 SkyBet)

Carolina Panthers @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Over 61.5 Points (27/10 Ladbrokes)

About Author

As a journalism student consumed by sports on a daily basis, being paid to write about them would be the dream upon graduating (assuming I don’t get scouted last minute to play for Barcelona). I’m Scottish born and proudly support the national team, as well as Chelsea and the Chicago Bears. My family are all massive Rangers fans - regardless of what division they wake up in. I’ve started using statistics and data to make selections, rather than my gut. American Football is what I specialise in, and thankfully for me, it is a massively data-driven sport. Everything from pass completion to weather forecasts are taken into account. My love for numbers comes from my interest in poker. I play regularly online and at casinos, and every decision made requires thought into percentages and odds. Although there is an element of luck, it showed me that grasping an understanding of mathematics could prove to be very profitable.

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