Sharp bettors are backing the Raiders for the third straight week to start the season.
The Steelers opened as 1½-point favorites in the Raiders’ home opener on “Sunday Night Football” at Allegiant Stadium.
But after Pittsburgh needed two defensive touchdowns to beat the Browns 26-22 on “Monday Night Football,” the favorite flipped to the Raiders, who are consensus 2½-point favorites (-120) and as high as -3 at the South Point sportsbook.
“We’ve had two sharp groups bet on the Raiders. One bet pick and one bet -1½,” Westgate SuperBook vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “It’s a combination of the Raiders having the extra rest and Pittsburgh playing Monday and traveling across the country to play Sunday.
“Just looking at the schedule, the Raiders play at the Chargers next week, so it’s kind of imperative that the Raiders win this week. It seems like a bigger game to them than Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is at Houston next week.”
Another factor in the line move is the fact that the Steelers have struggled on offense, producing only 19 points behind second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett, who has thrown for only two TDs and three interceptions.
“A lot of people were not impressed by Kenny Pickett on Monday night. He had a rough game,” Caesars Sportsbook assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “Other than that 71-yard touchdown pass to George Pickens, he didn’t look too good.”
The 49ers whipped the Steelers 30-7 in Week 1.
“Pittsburgh’s got all kinds of issues on the offensive side of the ball,” Salmons said. “Their offensive line has been dreadful. They haven’t had a first down in the first quarter yet.
“The one thing about the Raiders is they seemingly score on their first possession in every game. If they do that and get ahead, Pittsburgh is going to have a hard time playing from behind.”
The Raiders beat the Broncos 17-16 in Week 1 as 3½-point underdogs before getting blown out 38-10 at Buffalo last week as 7½-point ’dogs.
South Point also took sharp action on the Steelers when the line reached 3.
“We opened the Steelers as a 1½-point favorite, and it’s been all Raiders. When we finally got to the Raiders -3, we got some people taking back the Steelers +3,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said. “I think 3 was too high. The Steelers have looked bad offensively, and their defense is great. The Raiders have been inconsistent. It’s right around a pick’em game. At 3, you have to take it.”
The total is 43 after opening at 44. The Raiders also have struggled to score and are tied for last in the league with 13.5 ppg.
“Both teams have not really taken off yet on offense, but a lot of Raider prime-time games have gone over and we expect over money to show on Sunday night,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “There’s going to be a lot of black in the building. But it’s going to be split between Black and Silver and Black and Gold. We’re going to be Steelers fans when the game kicks off.”
Professional sports bettor Jeff Whitelaw bet the Raiders -1, partly because of Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward and wideout Diontae Johnson being out with injuries.
“The Steelers have some injuries, and they’re coming off the short week,” he said. “Heyward and Johnson being out is certainly going to hurt them. (Safety Minkah) Fitzpatrick is going to play, but he’s not 100 percent. It looks like (receiver Davante) Adams is going to be healthy for the Raiders, and it’s their home opener.
“I don’t love it. But I definitely got a good number, and I think that’s an OK play.”
Player to score first TD
At Station Casinos
Josh Jacobs +450
Davante Adams 5-1
Najee Harris 6-1
Jaylen Warren 9-1
Jakobi Meyers 9-1
George Pickens 10-1
Any other Steelers player 10-1
Any other Raiders player 10-1
Pat Freiermuth 11-1
Allen Robinson 12-1
Hunter Renfrow 12-1
Austin Hooper 18-1
DeAndre Carter 18-1
Kenny Pickett 20-1
Michael Mayer 20-1
Calvin Austin III 22-1
Darnell Washington 25-1
Jimmy Garoppolo 25-1
Zamir White 30-1
No TD scored 70-1