by Joe Fortenbaugh
December 19, 02011
The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to San Francisco Monday night for a date with the 49ers and a chance to assume the lead in the race for the top seed in the AFC.
ICONA gimpy Ben Roethlisberger will look to guide the Steelers to the top spot in the AFC.
Pittsburgh enters this showdown at 14-5 against the spread in their last 19 games as an underdog of 0.5-3.0 and will look to improve on that mark despite the fact that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is battling a high ankle sprain and will be playing at less than 100%. The Steelers have already posted ten victories this season, but are just 3-8 against the number in their last 11 outings following a straight-up win.
On the other side of the rock sits a San Francisco team that is 11-2-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall and 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games on grass. However, for as hot as the Niners have been in 2011, be advised that they have failed to cover the line in two of their last three contests.
With two top-notch defenses ready to butt heads on Monday night, it’s not too surprising to see that 55% of the action is coming in on the under. Keep in mind that the under is 11-5 in the last 16 combined games played by the Steelers and 49ers.
This should be a good one.
CLICK HERE for the Monday night football lines.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (10-3, 4-2 road) at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-3, 6-1 home)
Time: 8:30pm ET
Opening line: San Francisco -3/37.5
Current line: San Francisco -3/38
Current betting trends: 55% backing the Steelers, 55% back the UNDER.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-7 against the spread, UNDER is 7-6
San Francisco 49ers: 10-2-1 against the spread, UNDER is 7-6
55 degrees with a 10% chance of precipitation
1. The Steelers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following an ATS loss.
2. The Steelers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games as a road underdog.
3. The 49ers are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games as a home favorite.
4. The 49ers are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games played on Monday night.
5. The UNDER is 37-18 in the Steelers’ last 55 games as a road underdog.
6. The UNDER is 6-2 in the 49ers’ last eight games overall.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS: OUT: LB Chris Carter (hamstring), C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), WR Emmanuel Sanders (foot), QUESTIONABLE: WR Arnaz Battle (hamstring), CB Curtis Brown (knee), QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle), PROBABLE: T Marcus Gilbert (illness), S Troy Polamalu (hamstring)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: QUESTIONABLE: WR Braylon Edwards (knee), RB Bruce Miller (knee), T Joe Staley (concussion), LB Patrick Willis (hamstring)
Marco D’Angelo, professional sports bettor, Pregame.com: “The Pittsburgh Steelers invade the Bay Area Monday night in what is without question the biggest football game the city of San Francisco has seen in more than a decade.
Anyone else think that John Harbaugh (right) has been on the phone this week giving brother Jim the rundown on Pittsburgh?
We saw earlier this year on Monday Night Football what a showdown of this magnitude can do for a city and a team as the Detroit Lions had a monster performance at home against the Chicago Bears. The Motor City had a Super Bowl-like buzz and you can expect the same thing tonight.
The Steelers were given an early Christmas present Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens got blown out in San Diego. With that loss, Pittsburgh now controls their own destiny not only for the division, but for home field advantage throughout the playoffs as well.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will start Monday night despite the fact that he suffered a high ankle sprain in Pittsburgh’s Week 14 win over the Cleveland Browns. Tonight's line opened San Francisco -3, which was a safe number for Vegas to post not knowing for sure if Big Ben would be ready to go.
The 49ers do get a helping hand in preparation for Week 14, as big brother John will most certainly be providing assistance to little brother Jim in regards to everything he knows about the Steelers. With that said, this should be a great game between two very good teams that will likely come right down to the end with the Steelers defense and experience in big games proving to be the difference.”
Follow Marco on Twitter: @MarcoInVegas
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh