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Raiders vs. Steelers: The best player prop bets for Week 2

Profile Picture: Josh Powell

September 18th, 2021

The Las Vegas Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers both started their campaigns with big wins in Week 1, and now clash at Heinz Field to see who can keep that momentum going. The 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger and his rebuilt elbow helped Pittsburgh to a stunning win over the Buffalo Bills after they’d fallen 10 points behind, while the Raiders surged past the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night in overtime.

The Steelers are 2-5 against the Raiders since Big Ben arrived in 2004, while Las Vegas is 0-6 after traveling after a Monday night game. There are hoodoos to overcome for both teams, but Sunday in Pittsburgh represents a chance to put down another big marker in the AFC.

Las Vegas Raiders (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0), 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Sun, September 19 2021, 5:00 PM

PIT Steelers

Moneyline

-265

Spread

-6.5

Total

O 47

LV Raiders

Moneyline

+210

Spread

+6.5

Total

U 47

Najee Harris Over/Under 72.5 Rushing Yards

I’m not shy in hiding my love for rookie Najee Harris, and apparently neither are the Steelers. Harris was the only running back in the league to play every one of his team’s offensive snaps in Week 1, as Pittsburgh kept him on the field against a tough Bills defense.

Harris got plenty of work, getting 17 rushing attempts, but he could only turn that into 49 yards as the Bills swallowed him up. Part of that comes down to the Steelers’ offensive line, which still needs to heat up – 35 of Harris’ 49 yards came after contact, so he isn’t getting a whole lot of help from those in front of him.

This Sunday should be easier though, as the Raiders just gave up the most rushing yards of any team in Week 1. And that was against a Baltimore side that has all kinds of injury problems at running back. The Ravens managed 5.6 yards per attempt against Las Vegas on Monday, and there are still clear problems for the Raiders, who were ranked 24th against the rush last season.

This could be the breakout week for Harris, and I’m taking the Over.

NFL pick: Over 72.5 Rushing Yards (-117)


Darren Waller Over/Under 79.5 Receiving Yards

Darren Waller is the absolute stud in the Raiders’ offense, and he got off to a flyer in Week 1. The 19 targets that were thrown his way by Derek Carr is tied for third in most targets to a tight end in the opening game of an NFL season. It’s clear that volume isn’t going to dry up going forward.

Against Baltimore, Waller turned those 19 targets into 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown, continuing his stellar 2020 form. Last year he averaged 75 yards per game and 11.2 yards per reception as he evolved into the focal point of this Las Vegas offense.

Waller went over 75 yards in eight of his 16 regular season games last year, but dig a little deeper, and there’s an even more telling statistic. If you look only at games where Waller had double-digit targets, he went for 75 yards or more in six of the seven games. He went for a total of 757 yards in those seven games, an average of 108 yards per contest, in which he received 10 targets or more.

Pittsburgh had the third-ranking pass defense last year and will be a tough matchup for anybody this season, but would you really back against Waller when he’s getting this many looks from Carr? Me neither.

NFL pick: Over 79.5 Receiving Yards (-113)


Ben Roethlisberger Over/Under 273.5 Passing Yards

In Week 1, Big Ben continued the recent trend of ducking out of trouble and getting rid of the ball rather than waiting for a downfield play to open up at the risk of getting hit. His average depth of target against the Bills was just 5.9 yards, even further down than his average of 6.9 last year. That accumulated up to just 189 passing yards last week, and a completion rate of just 56%.

This week is a more favorable matchup – back in Pittsburgh and against a Raiders side that gave up 263 yards per game through the air last season. That being said, in half of Big Ben’s home games last season, he still threw for 266 yards or less, so not even a passionate Pittsburgh crowd is going to get Roethlisberger throwing more deep plays.

This certainly feels like a game where the veteran quarterback will get more joy through the air, but even with the expected volume of 35 or more passing attempts, I find it hard to see him going over this line. Take the Under with Big Ben continuing to throw short, and Najee Harris to get more action on the ground.

NFL pick: Under 273.5 Passing Yards (-114)

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