It’s hard to believe, but this weekend’s slate of games will end the preseason. That means that the NFL regular season is upon us! This year’s preseason is a bit different, as, for most of the teams, the preseason schedule was made up of just three games. This is due to the fact that the NFL owners added a 17th game to the regular-season schedule, thus shortening the preseason. With that being said, it’s time we take a closer look at both teams so you can get ready to place your bets against their NFL Preseason odds.
NFL Betting Preview for Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the teams that will get four preseason games. The Steelers played in the Hall of Fame game and will play their fourth game Friday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, as they take on the Carolina Panthers in their preseason finale.
Normally, teams don’t play their starters in the final preseason game, but it sounds like both teams will play their first-teamers. The 3-0 Steelers will have Ben Roethlisberger under center. Big Ben has only played in one preseason game, and new offensive coordinator Matt Canada wants to see how Roethlisberger will handle the new offense.
We’ll also see a lot of rookie running back Najee Harris. The University of Alabama product figures to see the bulk of the carries this season in the Pittsburgh backfield. Last week against the Lions, he had 63 all-purpose yards. We’ll see a lot of Harris on Friday night.
Even though the preseason records mean nothing, the 0-2 Panthers would like to end their exhibition schedule on a positive note. They are coming off of a 20-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last weekend. Matt Rhule wants to see how their new quarterback, Sam Darnold, will handle more action. Darnold played in just one series against the Ravens, being under center for seven snaps.
Carolina’s offense will be very dependent on Christian McCaffrey this season. Quite possibly the best all-around running back in the NFL, McCaffrey struggled with injuries last season and missed a majority of the season. If he can stay healthy this season, it will be a big boost to the Panthers’ offense.
One battle that needs to be settled on Friday night is who will be Darnold’s backup. PJ Walker and Will Grier are both fighting for that position. Walker looked great in the first preseason game, but he struggled last week, while Grier threw for 144 yards. Whichever quarterback plays the best on Friday will have the inside track to be the second-stringer.
The Steelers are 3.5-point favorites in this one. Roethlisberger and the first-team offense were impressive last weekend, while Carolina’s first-team defense struggled to stop the Ravens starters and substitutes. Pittsburgh is the better team on paper, as they have one of the top defenses in the league. If they see a significant amount of time on the field on Friday night, we think the Steelers’ defense will hold the Panthers’ offense in check. The Steelers win this one by a touchdown and finish the preseason undefeated, while the Carolina Panthers will finish their exhibition season winless. Bring on the regular season!