The Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers have combined to win 7 straight games. Something has to give as we head into the NFL week 10 TNF free pick however and oddsmakers have made the home team Steelers -3.5 favorites. There’s definitely value on a Carolina team that is extremely talented on both sides of the ball and in fact a majority of public bettors are taking the points Thursday night. Does that mean Pittsburgh runs away with this one on the short week?
Carolina Getting Great Things From Their Ground Game
One of the main reasons that there’s great value on the Panthers in the NFL week 10 TNF free pick is because their offense presents matchup problems for…well, nearly every team. Carolina boasts the #2 ground game in the NFL and Christian McCaffrey has really come into his own with 3TD the last two weeks. The effectiveness of the running game has allowed Cam Newton to be more efficient in the passing game as well. Newton has 6TD to 0 INT the last 3 games and Greg Olsen has hauled in a TD in three straight. The short week always hurts the road team, but at least the Panthers come into tonight after playing two straight games at home. The Steelers come into Thursday night having played three straight divisional contests – something that takes its toll no matter who the opponent. These factors have to favor the Panthers O.
Besides an improving offense, Carolina’s defense is what has them as a keen bet for tonight. The Panthers rank 11th in the NFL in total yards allowed and have a top 10 rushing defense at just 94.1 yards on the ground given up per game. The Panthers held Tampa Bay to 81 yards rushing last week and just 219 through the air. Joe Flacco threw for just 192 yards and 2 INT the week prior vs. Carolina. Obviously the Steelers have an elite offense, but the Panthers have held half their opponents in 2018 to 21 points or less.
Can Steelers Offense Be The Deciding Factor Tonight?
Pittsburgh has definitely found a nice rhythm on offense as they’ve strung together a 4-game winning streak, three of which came against AFC North opponents. QB Ben Roethlisberger has tossed for 250+ yards in every game this season and is on a 8TD to 2INT clip his last 4 games. The main reason for the Steelers putting up the league’s #4 offense in total yards and top 10 scoring offense is because of James Conner leading the ground game. Leveon Bell’s replacement has compiled four straight 100+ yard games and has scored 6 times in that span. Make no mistake, the Pittsburgh passing attack is still pretty good too though – ranking 4th in passing ypg. Antonio Brown has 8TD in the last 6 games putting a lot of pressure on the Panthers D in the NFL week 10 TNF free pick.
Both teams are going to score tonight which is why the O/U is set at 51 points. Do the Steelers have a better chance of stopping the Panthers offense compared to vice-versa? Pittsburgh is a top 12 team in total yards allowed and is great against the run, ranking 6th in the league. The Steelers defensive unit has really buckled down lately too, holding four straight opponents to under 21 points – three of them to 18 points or less. The high mark for opponents in the last 3 weeks vs. the Steelers defense is 213 yards passing and 62 yards rushing, both set by the Bengals. The Pittsburgh defense on a short week may be the deciding factor in tonight’s game.
NFL Week 10 TNF Free Pick Betting
The Steelers have played three straight divisional opponents which does have them a little battered and bruised. Carolina traveling on a short week evens out that advantage however. Both teams have a diverse offensive attack and solid defenses. Pittsburgh at home is who you trust a bit more in this contest however. The hook could come back to haunt bettors in what could be a field goal game, but the Steelers could also get a rout in front of a raucous home crowd.
NFL Free Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5