Oddsmakers are expecting a close but high-scoring game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Monday night (8:15 p.m., ESPN). The visiting Steelers are one-point favorites, while the betting total is 54.5. But the list of available wagers goes far beyond just the point spread and the Over/Under. Here are some prop bets to consider for this primetime affair.
Team To Commit 1st ACCEPTED Penalty: Steelers -120/Buccaneers -110
Considering the Steelers have committed 24 penalties through two games, the most by any team in the league (yes, even the Raiders), this seems like a slam dunk. By contrast, Tampa has committed just 14 penalties through two games.
Pittsburgh’s lack of discipline seems to be systemic, and can be seen both inside and outside the lines. Le’Veon Bell, among others, has caused unrest in the locker room, and it’s bleeding into the turnover battle (just look at their league-worst minus-four turnover differential) as well as the penalty battle.
Also, as the road team, the Steelers will have the crowd against them, which makes them more susceptible to things like false starts or delay of game fouls.
The play: Steelers -120
Buccaneers Total Points: 27.5 (Over -105, Under -115)
Tampa is second in the NFL is scoring through two games after dropping 48 points on New Orleans in the Superdome in Week 1, followed by 27 on the defending champion Eagles at Raymond James Stadium.
Ryan Fitzpatrick should have no problem guiding his potent offense against Pittsburgh’s 25th-ranked defense. The Bucs have had some trouble establishing the run with Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers, but the Steelers’ run stoppers have been particularly woeful through two games (30th in yards allowed per game). A lethal and diversified Tampa attack should be able to pile on the points against Pittsburgh on Monday night.
The play: Buccaneers Over 27.5 points (-105)
Player to score first TD and team wins (listed offensive players only)
For the reasons outlined in my Monday Night Football column, the hometown Buccaneers should prevail in this tilt. Now there’s the matter of determining which player, or players, will find the end zone first.
Fitzpatrick has wasted no time developing a rapport with Tampa Bay’s two most talented wide receivers. Mike Evans (13-1) has caught a team-high 17 passes already, and has tallied two TDs through two games. Since the available odds on the wager are so large, we can afford to back DeSean Jackson (20-1) as well.
Jackson hauled in two touchdowns against the Eagles, his former team, last week and one in Week 1 against the Saints. However, he has nine receptions overall compared to Evans’ 17.
Tampa running backs have no rushing touchdowns through two games; the only rushing touchdown the Bucs have recorded so far was a scramble by Fitzpatrick.
The play: Mike Evans (13-1) and DeSean Jackson (20-1)