Betting Online Overview
Who: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers (-2.5)
When: Sunday February 6, 2011 @ 6:25 p.m. EST
Where: Cowboys Stadium, Irving, TX
The Packers are 7-6 during the regular season against the spread as the favorite. Being the favorite has never been an advantage to the Packers, and they have played in a lot of close games this season. The NFL betting lines seem to be unable to pinpoint the strengths of the Packers and determine which teams the Packers match up well against.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers threw a monkey wrench in the Super Bowl betting odds this year when they unleashed rookie running back James Starks on the playoffs. With the emergence of Starks, it seems like receiver Donald Driver has been getting less looks from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Wide receiver Greg Jennings is still a favorite target of Rodgers catching 17 passes for a total of 239 receiving yards in the playoffs. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson is second on the Packers’ playoff receptions list this season with 12 catches for 146 yards.
Expect Rodgers to improve the Packers’ price per head odds by getting the ball spread around between Driver, Nelson and Jennings. Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu cannot be everywhere at once, and the secondary of the Steelers may not be able to keep up with the wide receivers of the Packers.
The Steelers have gone back to their running game to help win in the playoffs. It has been primarily running back Rashard Mendenhall carrying the load, but Mewelde Moore and Isaac Redman are also getting their fair share of carries. The Steelers are trying to open up the opposing defense so that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can get the ball down field to receivers Mike Wallace and Hines Ward. But, so far, the running game has been so effective that the passing game is not needed as much as they had expected.
Look for the Steelers to get tight end Heath Miller involved in this game as an outlet pass to beat the blitz, or as a blocker for Mendenhall. When Miller is in as a blocker for the run, he opens up the middle of the field because the defense will back off in anticipation of Miller going into a pattern. That is one of the things that has helped the Pittsburgh running game be so effective. But wide receivers Mike Wallace and Hines Ward are due in these playoffs, and they may come up big for Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV.
The Steelers are not surprising anyone in these playoffs. They run the ball and they throw the ball underneath to their tight end. Along the way, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger makes it up as he goes along. That has been the Pittsburgh way for a long time, and that is easy for the Packers to game plan for.
The Packers have offensive weapons they have not even used yet in the playoffs, and they have new weapons they did not even know they had. There is an unpredictability about the Packers that makes them difficult to game plan for, and it will make them difficult to beat.
Pick: Green Bay Packers