Steelers vs. Panthers Best Bet: Pittsburgh Pass Rush to Dismantle Darnold, Panthers

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks to win his 41st career game straight up as an underdog in Carolina. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks to win his 41st career game straight up as an underdog in Carolina. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers have played in four consecutive one possession games since Week 11, and Vegas expects another close game when they head to Carolina to take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 15.

Pittsburgh comes off a tough 16-14 loss at home to the Baltimore Ravens, as rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett went into concussion protocol in the first quarter. It’s the second time this season he’s left a game due to a head injury, and backup Mitchell Trubisky struggled in his place; throwing three picks in the two-point defeat.

With Trubisky, or possibly Mason Rudolph likely to start with Mike Tomlin not naming a starting quarterback for now, the Steelers are short road underdogs against the all-of-a-sudden upstart Carolina Panthers. Since interim head coach Steve Wilks took over for the fired Matt Rhule, Carolina has gone 4-3 straight up, going 3-0 at home.

Both teams are 5-8, but appear to be going in different directions. How does Vegas project this week’s matchup?

Here are the latest odds, plus a Steelers vs. Panthers best bet for Sunday’s game from Charlotte:

Steelers vs. Panthers Odds, Spread and Total

Steelers vs. Panthers Betting Trends


  • Mike Tomlin’s success as an underdog is well documented, going 49-30-5 against the spread (ATS) since 2007; covering 62% of the time. However, Tomlin and the Steelers also hold the best winning percentage as an underdog, going 40-44-0 as an underdog straight up during that time. That’s a significantly better percentage than the other top teams, including the New England Patriots (19-24-0, 44.2%), and Green Bay Packers (32-48-1, 40%)


  • The Panthers started the year 1-5-0 ATS, worst in the league through six game; leading to the firing of head coach Matt Rhule. Since then, via Sharp Football Analysis, they have the best ATS record in the NFL at 6-1-0.

Steelers vs. Panthers Prediction and Pick

The Steelers are actually my moneyline underdog upset pick of the week at BetSided, despite Pickett likely being out for another week.

Trubisky has his faults, but he’s more than serviceable on a game-to-game basis. It was also incredibly encouraging to see the deep shot to George Pickens late in the first quarter as a potential sign of what Pittsburgh’s offense has the potential to showcase.

Personally, I don’t buy the notion that Rudolph would start over Trubisky, given the commitment they made this offseason. I could be completely off, but I’m guessing it’s coach speak and an attempt at some sort of competitive edge vs. Carolina to add more to the game plan.

The real key is Pittsburgh’s defense against a newly revitalized Sam Darnold. He’s played two straight games without a turnover, tossing two touchdowns and playing the role of the game manager while the Panthers’ defense plays at a top 5 level.

The Steelers are second in the NFL in interceptions with 14, and T.J. Watt got back to what he does best in the Ravens game as he ended a four-game streak without a sack, the longest of his career.

If Pittsburgh can get home vs. Darnold and company, the turnovers will start to rear their ugly head once more. The Steelers have come through as underdogs more than anyone in this spot over Tomlin’s long career, and this game sets up as an ideal matchup to deliver yet again.

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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.