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NFL Betting Preview – Steelers at Vikings @ Wembley

The NFL convoy returns to Wembley tomorrow, unfortunately the two sides they've picked are having rotten seasons so far. Perhaps it'll be a decent contest then rather than a blowout like some years. In charge of the preview is an old mate of mine who happens to be an NFL guru - Andy Richmond. Follow him @bickley14 and read his great work at Betting Insight.

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NFL Betting Preview – Steelers at Vikings



The NFL comes to London with the first game to be played at Wembley Stadium this year although I’m sure that the league didn’t envisage the two teams involved being 0-6 between them and they have both struggled this year; at least one of them will break their duck here. The Steelers are rated favourites across the board and best priced at the strange price of 5/7 (1.71) with the Vikings at a best price of 11/8 (2.38) and Pittsburgh are generally asked to give up three points in the market on the handicap.

As mentioned before these two have yet to put a W in the Win column yet this year and quite frankly both of them have been struggling with the Vikings giving up plenty of yards – over 400 per game, and although the Steelers have been far from electric on offence this year they do have some players at the skill positions that can hurt you.

Those skill players are going to be crucial for the Steelers especially against a defence which has been poor at generating pressure on the opposing quarterback and has struggled to defend the pass and if you give Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger time he will hurt you and he has the receivers to be able to do that. The two that I’m particularly thinking of are WR Antonio Brown and TE Heath Miller and I can see the Vikings struggling against both of these players and was keen to get them onside in various scoring and player markets. Both Brown and Miller are of interest in the first TD scorer market and are priced at 9/1 (10.0) and 12/1 (13.0) respectively with Paddy Power, although if you want to take a more conservative option you can back them at 11/2 (6.6) and 15/2 (8.6) respectively with the same firm to be the first Pittsburgh TD scorer. The best way to play either though is to back them to score a TD at anytime; Brown at 6/4 with Paddy Power is an outstanding price given the numbers that he produced against the Bears last week and with the Vikings struggling to cover tight-ends properly this year the 21/10 for Miller to pop up with a score with Paddy Power is also attractive.

That’s not to say that the Steelers D has been a shining example this year and they have really lacked the aggression that they are noted for this year and have not had one takeaway in the first three games, the last team to repeat that feat was the 2005 Houston Texans and they finished 2-14. We all know that the Steelers will be keying on stopping RB Adrian Peterson and that focus does open up opportunities for the rest of the offence and I particularly like TE Kyle Rudolph who could see plenty of action this week as the Vikings play a conservative ball retaining game to keep the chains moving. They will undoubtedly use Peterson but Rudolph makes appeal on two markets; the first to score a TD at anytime where he is 7/4 (2.74) with William Hill and the receiving yards market with Ladbrokes where they have his line pegged at 30.5 yards and I think he’ll easily go over that and the 10/11 (1.91) with the Magic Sign is good value especially with the Vikings playing veteran back-up QB Matt Cassel and that for me makes the Vikings less expansive on the offensive. Incidentally that Rudolph line is as high as 36.5 yards with Paddy Power and I think Ladbrokes have made a mistake in pitching it as low as they have.

Just thinking about Cassel for a moment, this will be his first game for nearly a year and he’ll be facing a defence which although lacking their usual aggression did only allow the Bears QB Jay Cutler only 159 yards passing last week and Cassel’s passing yards is pitched at 210.5 here and I’d be looking at going under that in the situation he finds himself in and the unders are available at 10/11 (1.91) again at Ladbrokes.

The Vikings defence is a mess at the moment so having talked about Miller and Brown in the TD markets for the Steelers I went in search of some other markets to play those two in and came across a couple of more that I liked concerning the Miler and Brown combo. Brown lit up a far better secondary than the Vikings last week with nine receptions that gave him 196 yards receiving and two TD’s so the 5.5 receptions line available at Ladbrokes looks generously priced at 10/11 (1.91) and Miller is also worth playing with the same firm that he has more than 40.5 receiving yards, that’s also priced at 10/11 (1.91) and once again the line is set way under where other firms have it; he has been limited at practice this week but I think that’s a precautionary measure as he’s just come back from injury and he is still one of QB Ben Roethlisberger’s favourite targets.

Finally these two teams may have struggled to win this year but their points scoring capability isn’t that poor and I thought the points market was a little low at 42 but rather than get involved with that the 5/4 (2.25) available with Ladbrokes (I’m not picking on them honestly) that there would be more than 4.5 TDs in the game looked a price that was out of kilter with the market and should be taken advantage of.

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