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Steelers-Raiders game draws sharp action, $550K bet

Had the Raiders won the four games they lost this season after blowing double-digit halftime leads, they would be 10-4 with a firm grasp on a playoff spot instead of 6-8.

They still have an outside shot to reach the postseason for the second straight year. But they’ll need to win their final three games over the Steelers, 49ers and Chiefs and get some help from other teams to do so.

Will the Raiders make the playoffs? Yes is a 16-1 long shot at Circa Sports, while no is a prohibitive -2,800 favorite, meaning a bettor has to wager $2,800 to win $100 that the Silver and Black will miss the postseason.

Caesars Sportsbook makes the Raiders underdogs to win two of their remaining three games. The book has posted their regular-season win total at 7½, with the over +175 and the under -200.

Pittsburgh is a consensus 2½-point favorite over the Raiders in Saturday night’s game. A BetMGM bettor placed a $550,000 straight bet to win $500,000 on the Steelers -2½.

But sharp money showed on the Raiders when the line reached +3 after it was reported that rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett would start for Pittsburgh after sitting out last week’s win at Carolina with a concussion.

“When Pickett was announced as the starter, the number went from Steelers -2½ to -3 with some action,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said. “But I thought he should be worth at least half a point. But then we got sharp play on the Raiders +3, so we’re back to 2½.”

The line is down to 2 at the Westgate SuperBook and Caesars Sportsbook.

Circa director of risk Chris Bennett said his book has seen a lot of two-way action on the game.

“They’ve laid Steelers -2½ and -3 and taken back Raiders +3,” Bennett said.

Bettors are loading up on Pittsburgh at the Westgate, where 79 percent of the tickets are on the Steelers.

“Sharp action on both sides,” SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “Raiders money line and Steelers -2½.”

Professional bettors and the betting public are backing the Silver and Black at Station Casinos, where 65 percent of the tickets are on the Raiders.

“Sharp action has clearly been on the Raiders,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “They’re the better team. Getting (Darren) Waller and (Hunter) Renfrow back only helps the offense, and (Josh) Jacobs still leads the league in rushing.

“I’m guessing we’re going to need the Steelers when they kick off. We’ve seen local bias backing the Raiders.”

The total has ticked down from 40 to 38 as the forecast calls for a high of 10 degrees with sustained winds of 20 mph.

Professional sports bettor Jeff Whitelaw favors the Raiders at +3.

“It will be a very close game and the points typically come in handy,” he said.

The game will be played a day after the 50th anniversary of the “Immaculate Reception,” and the team will retire Franco Harris’ number at halftime after the Steelers great died Tuesday.

Esposito said the emotional component of the game hasn’t impacted the point spread.

“It’s not in the line,” he said. “But I’m sure the Steelers will be highly motivated and playing with a lot of emotion.”

The Raiders have won and covered four of their last five games and are 3-0 ATS as underdogs. The Steelers are 2-10 ATS as home favorites.

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

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