By Charles Jay
NFL Pre-Season Betting – Steelers vs Vikings
In the pro football betting odds that have been posted on this game by the people over at BetAnySports, the Vikings are laying points:
- Minnesota Vikings -3.5
Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5
- Over 34.5 points -110
Under 34.5 points -110
Some of the offensive “gang” that rolled up an average of 411 yards per game (second in the league) for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014 will not be present – at least in pads – as they kick off the 2015 NFL pre-season against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night (8 PM ET, Canton, O.) Of course, with an extra “exhibition,” no one would expect any of the genuine stars would see more than a series or two anyway. Steeler fans would quite naturally be happy if these guys are ready to roll when the regular season starts against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, who will be without signal-caller Tom Brady.
Those BetAnySports customers who follow the Steelers are obviously aware that they are going to be missing their own superstar for that September 10 date with the Pats. Le’Veon Bell, in only his second NFL season, finished second in rushing and led all backs in receiving yards. He was hurt and missed the playoff game, which Pittsburgh lost. But now he will be out for the first two games of the schedule, the result of a suspension which itself resulted from an arrest for possession of marijuana last August, in which he was in a car with teammate LeGarrette Blount, who was later cut as a “bad influence.” The team is lucky that Bell was able to reduce his suspension from four games to two after an appeal.
Head coach Mike Tomlin isn’t taking many chances with his more valuable offensive assets. Bell, who can still participate in training camp and the pre-season despite his suspension, will be held out of the game. So will quarter back Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown, tight end Heath Miller and center Maurkice Pouncey. James Harrison, the linebacker whose leadership will be needed on defense this season, will not see action either. Tomlin said he may sit out even more players; he hasn’t decided who as of yet.
And by the way, although Harrison is back in the fold in Pittsburgh after having performed for Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati (where the current Vikings’ coach was defensive coordinator), the Steelers will be playing without a few faces that may be familiar to BetAnySports patrons from last year’s stop unit. One of them is Troy Polamalu, the safety who will undoubtedly be one of the Hall of Fame enshrinees one day, and corrnerback Ike Taylor. So maybe it is transition time. That is even further accentuated with the departure of Dick LeBeau, whose name became synonymous with Steeler defense as their coordinator for eleven years. He didn’t retire; he was let go. And so the Hall of Fame member (inducted in 2010) has a new home with the Tennessee Titans.
LeBeau’s replacement is Keith Butler, who spent eleven years under LeBeau in Pittsburgh. And he has already made it clear that his emphasis is on speed. On offense, what we DO know is that Landry Jones, who was a fourth-round draft pick two seasons ago, will be getting a golden opportunity to push for the backup job behind “Big Ben,” as Bruce Gradkowski is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Expect Jones to see very extensive action, as Tomlin is curious how he handles things.
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