The Pittsburgh Steelers will be trying to extend their lead atop the AFC North standings when they host the Carolina Panthers in Week 10 as 3.5-point favorites on the NFL Thursday Night Football odds.
Pittsburgh has effectively overcome a dismal start to the campaign with four straight wins, capped by last weekend's 23-16 victory in Baltimore as a 1.5-point underdog that has improved the team's record to 5-2-1 going into Thursday night's matchup at Heinz Field.
The Steelers had struggled through the first month of the 2018 NFL season, limping to a 1-2-1 start including outright home losses to the Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs as betting favorites. However, the team has played outstanding defense during their current four-game straight-up win streak. Pittsburgh has limited opponents to an average of just 18 points per game over its past four outings, and held Baltimore to a meagre 265 total yards last weekend.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has also reclaimed his familiar position among the NFL's top passers. In addition to running for his second touchdown of the season, Big Ben threw for 270 passing yards and two scores last week in Baltimore, and enters the weekend ranked third among NFL pivots with 320 passing yards per game.
More of the same is expected from Roethlisberger on Thursday night. The 36-year-old veteran is pegged as a strong -220 favorite on the Steelers vs. Panthers betting odds to have more combined passing and rushing yards than Panthers passer Cam Newton, who trails as a +155 wager.
Antonio Brown has also played a key role in the Steelers resurgence. The four-time All-Pro wide receiver has caught at least one scoring pass in each of his past six outings, and sports -175 odds of extending that streak on Thursday night.
Panthers are Riding SU and ATS Winning Streak
However, Pittsburgh could be up against one of its toughest opponents of the season in the Panthers, who will hit the gridiron riding a three-game win streak, both SU and against the spread.
Led by Newton, Carolina is coming off its biggest win of the season, a 42-28 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as 6-point home chalk to strengthen their hold on the NFC's top wild card with a 6-2-0 record. The eight-year veteran has thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of Carolina's past seven contests, including a pair of scoring passes that sealed a stunning 21-17 fourth-quarter comeback victory in Philadelphia three weeks ago, and has emerged as a +2500 wager on the NFL MVP odds.
The road has otherwise been unkind to the Panthers, who have fallen to defeat in five of six contests away from Bank of America Stadium since December of last year, while scoring more than 21 points just twice during that stretch. Carolina is also 0-6 ATS in its last six games against Pittsburgh.
Big point totals have been a regular feature in Panthers outings this season, hitting 52 or higher in five of eight games. That has contributed to a lofty total pegged at 52.5 on the Steelers vs. Panthers odds. The OVER is 4-1 in the past five meetings in this series.
However, the Panthers have struggled to generate offense in three previous visits to Pittsburgh, averaging just 12.33 points per game in a trio of SU and ATS losses.
*Odds as of November 8, 2018