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Betting on football online

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (2-5) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-2)
2013-11-01

Two struggling offenses collide when the Patriots host the Steelers on Sunday.

Pittsburgh has failed to reach 20 points in each of its past three contests while averaging only 297 total YPG in this span. New England QB Tom Brady has had a horrible four-game stretch (52percent completion pct., 5.4 YPA, 2 TD, 4 INT), as his team has alternated wins and losses. Brady's offense has been saved by his team's defense that has allowed just 4.9 yards per play this season (6th in NFL). The Steelers' defense has also stood tall recently, allowing just 14.3 PPG and 278 total YPG over the past three contests. But the unit has not been able to figure out Brady, who has a 6-2 record, 276 passing YPG, 16 TD and only 3 INT in his career versus Pittsburgh. However, the Steelers have won two of the past three meetings, including a 33-10 rout in their most recent visit to Foxboro in 2008. They also benefit from the fact that NFL road underdogs off a road loss in November games are 50-18 ATS (74percent) over the past 10 seasons. But New England, which is 4-0 SU (3-1 ATS) at home this year, usually bounces back strong after a poor passing game, going 23-6 ATS (79percent) after failing to surpass 150 passing yards in a game since Bill Belichick took over as head coach.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is in the midst of his worst season since 2008, based on his 87.2 passer rating. He's thrown for 1,930 yards (276 YPG, 7.4 YPA), but has just 8 TD passes and 11 turnovers (7 INT, 4 lost fumbles). Although he's just 3-4 in his career versus New England, he has still thrown for 1,756 yards (251 YPG), 14 TD and 6 INT in these seven meetings. What has also hurt him this season is a dreadful ground game that averages only 68.7 rushing YPG (3rd-worst in NFL) and 3.3 yards per carry (4th-worst in league). Injuries to virtually every starting offensive lineman have certainly taken its toll. The team has scored a meager 17.9 PPG (5th-worst in NFL) due largely to a horrible red-zone efficiency of just 40percent (3rd-worst in league). While the defense has stepped up recently, its lack of big plays has certainly hurt, as Pittsburgh has failed to force a turnover in five of its seven contests this year. However, the team still ranks fourth in the NFL in total defense (303 YPG allowed), fourth in first downs allowed (17.1 per game) and second in passing defense (181 YPG).

Despite the well-chronicled problems of the passing offense for the Patriots (5.5 passing YPA, 2nd-worst in league), they have actually been effective moving the football on the ground with 120.6 rushing YPG on 4.2 YPC, both categories which rank 12th in the NFL. RB Stevan Ridley has rushed for a touchdown in three straight games, averaging 5.0 YPC over this stretch. But New England has not been able to punch the ball in with any consistency, ranking second-to-last in the league in Goal to Go efficiency (46.7percent). The loss of RT Sebastian Vollmer (broken leg) last week will certainly hurt too. The good news for QB Tom Brady is that all of his receivers have been healthy all week during practice, and his timing with WR Danny Amendola and TE Rob Gronkowski, who have both missed the majority of the season, should improve. The defense is a battered mess with DT Vince Wilfork (ankle) and LB Jerod Mayo (pectoral) both done for the season, and DT Tommy Kelly (knee), CB Aqib Talib (hip) and CB Kyle Arrington (groin) all questionable to play. But the unit continues to hold strong, especially with its excellent red-zone defense (44percent, 5th-best in NFL), which has led to 18.0 PPG allowed (5th-best in NFL). New England is also doing a great job of forcing turnovers, with at least one in every game and 16 total takeaways this season.




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2013-01-30




Steelers are back, winning and covering the spread
2010-09-29

Parity is alive and well in the NFL. There are only three undefeated teams remaining and none of them made the playoffs last year. Apuestas UFC fashion motorcycle boots The Steelers, Bears and Chiefs are all 3-0. Meanwhile, bettors at Sportsbook.com have profited nicely on Pittsburgh and KC as each team is also 3-0 against the spread (ATS).a

With the Chiefs on a Week 4 bye, we’ll hold off a week before going in-depth on the team that has been the surprise of the NFL thus far. The Steelers, meanwhile, are an intriguing case because they’ve achieved success without two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Oddsmakers feared the worst when watching the Steelers’ backup passers look dubious this preseason, and even went so far as to make Pittsburgh a home underdog in the season opener against the Falcons. But a strong running game and a bone crushing defense have led the way to their impressive start.

Since Roethlisberger took over as the Steelers’ starting QB as a rookie in 2004, he’s missed 11 starts, including the first three this season. Two of those were Week 17 games when Pittsburgh was already in the playoffs and probably would’ve played Big Ben in a more pressing situation—plus, other key players were given those games off. In the other nine Roethlisberger-less games, the Steelers are now 7-2 ATS and 6-3 SU.

Thus, the trend becomes clear that oddsmakers overreact when Roethlisberger is out. This year has featured three relatively easy covers, with Pittsburgh beating the point spread by an average of 14.5. As talented as Roethlisberger is, the cliché is true: The Steelers are a running and defensive team. With 10 takeaways and 33 points allowed, Pittsburgh’s defense has been nothing short of dominant.

Perhaps the biggest reason the Pittsburgh defense has returned to dominance is the return to health of All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu. Although he started five games in 2009, Polamalu really only had an impact in four being that he left the game with a knee injury while making a tackle on Cincinnati’s first possession of Pittsburgh’s 18-12 loss on Nov. 15. The Steelers went 4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS in those four games with Polamalu; they were an un-Steelers-like 5-7 SU, 3-8-1 ATS when their star safety wasn’t on the field. With Polamalu missing three quarters of last season, Pittsburgh limped to a 5-10-1 ATS record—the Jaguars and Lions were the only other NFL teams with an ATS winning percentage under 35% in 2009.

What happens next? The Steelers are favored by a slim 1.5-point margin this Sunday at home against AFC North rival Baltimore, a team against which they were 1-0-1 ATS last season despite that fact that a) Roethlisberger sat out their first meeting, a three-point overtime road loss for the Steelers, who were getting 7.5 points in that game; and b) Polamalu missed both contests. A more general trend: NFL teams starting 3-0 SU since 2007 are 12-5 (70.6%) ATS in their fourth game. Expect the Steelers to emerge Sunday afternoon as the only NFL team with a 4-0 ATS record to start the season.

To check out more football statistics and NFL betting trends head over to Sportsbook.com.