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Sharp bettors back side, total in Raiders-Steelers game

A week after sharp bettors backed the Raiders in their wild overtime win over the Ravens at Allegiant Stadium on “Monday Night Football,” they’re betting against them in Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.

The Steelers were consensus 6½-point favorites Friday at Las Vegas sportsbooks. The line opened at 5½ at the South Point before moving up amid action on the favorite.

“It was a combination of sharp bets and the public,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said.

Andrews also took sharp action on under the total, which was down to 47 after opening at 48½.

“That’s a pretty big move on the under,” he said.

The Raiders, +225 on the money line, went over for the 13th time in 17 games (13-3-1) in their 33-27 victory over Baltimore. The Steelers kept the Bills’ high-powered offense in check in a 23-16 upset win at Buffalo.

“The Raiders are in a tough spot after winning an overtime game on Monday and having a short week, and traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast,” Westgate SuperBook vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “All that being said, I would not be laying the Steelers in that game.

“Their offensive line got demolished (at Buffalo). They couldn’t run the ball at all and threw nothing but 3- to 7-yard passes.”

Andrews, a native of the Pittsburgh area, agreed the Steelers’ offensive line is their biggest concern.

“I think they’re going to be right in the playoff hunt.” he said. “Their defense may be the best in the league. (Quarterback Ben) Roethlisberger looks really good, the receivers are good, and (running back) Najee Harris is good. The big question is the offensive line. It can’t be any worse than last year.”

Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said the line going to 6½ at Station was mostly a product of an array of injuries on the Raiders, including season-ending ones to starting right guard Denzelle Good and veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. And running back Josh Jacobs on Friday was ruled out for the game because of toe and ankle injuries.

“And just from the way they celebrated after winning the game on ‘Monday Night Football’ in front of all their fans,” Esposito said. “It’s tough to ask them to travel across the country right now.”

The Raiders excelled on the road last season, going 6-2. But, after opening with a 34-24 home win over the Saints on “Monday Night Football,” they lost 36-20 at New England in Week 2.

The ticket count and money wagered on the game at Station was almost identical as of Friday, but Esposito expects late action to come in on the Raiders.

“I still think we’ll see Raider Nation back them,” he said. “The Thursday before the Raiders-Ravens, 58 percent of the tickets were on the Ravens. But, by game time, close to 70 percent was on the Raiders.”

The Raiders have covered seven of their past eight games against the Steelers.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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