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Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Point Spread - Pick

Carolina Panthers (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2-1 SU, 5-3 ATS)
Week 10 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, November 8, 2018 at 8:20PM EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: CAR +4/PIT -4
Over/Under Total: 50

The Carolina Panthers come into Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football. Both teams are on a roll. Carolina beat Tampa on Sunday, 42-28, to win their third straight to go to 6-2, as they are one game behind the NFC South-leading Saints. They've won their last two games by a wide margin, but that was at home. This begins a two game road-trip. The Steelers started the season 1-2-1, but with 4 straight wins, have taken over first place in the AFC North. They beat Baltimore, 23-16, last Sunday, and look to keep things moving forward this week at home.

The Steelers have gotten things on the right track and on Sunday, they beat a good defense in Baltimore, with an impassioned performance by Ben Roethlisberger and Company. They have a lot of aerial firepower, with a running game that has been able to keep its edge even with Le'Veon Bell out of action. On defense, we see that none of their last four opponents has surpassed 21 points, a big turnaround from the team we saw in the first month of the season. Teams are struggling to run against the Steelers, With a few defensive scores and a pass-rush, they get after it on defense and keep opposing offenses on their toes.

Roethlisberger has a lot of tools with which to work. He will need them, as Carolina has a defense that at its best can be quite tough. You have to hand it to James Conner for how well he has filled in at running back, with 706 yards rushing, 379 yards receiving, and ten touchdowns. Big Ben has ample ball-catchers to work with, namely Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who leads the team with 672 yards. Brown hasn't been as electric as normal, but still has 9 touchdowns. Tight ends Vance McDonald and Jesse James add a nice dimension.

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The Pittsburgh defense has also come around over the course of the season. In their first four games, they gave up 116 points, but in the last four have yielded just 72 points. They have been stingy against the run, with Cameron Heyward, Javon Hargrave, and Stephon Tuitt holding it down up-front. TJ Watt has led the pass-rush. And after some tough outings, the pass-defense has amped up its game. Youngsters like S Terrell Edmunds are coming around and the secondary is congealing with a lot of new pieces, as they form a new identity in the wake of a lot of offseason departures.

Carolina is starting to look like a force. Cam Newton is increasingly on-point, making things happen with his arm and legs. And the defense has started coming around. Both of their losses were on the road and this is a tricky road spot, with not a lot of Panthers' players having played at Heinz Field before. With three straight wins and three straight covers, Carolina looks to make a push in the second-half of the season with what would be a big road win on Thursday.

Carolina has a strong run-game and it's been nice to see Cam Newton rediscover his flair with his feet. He has broken loose some nice runs of late. Lead back Christian McCaffrey has been excellent on the ground, while also adding 49 receptions through just 8 games. Coming back from injury, Curtis Samuel can add a little extra with some big runs. Newton can also connect aerially with top receiver Devin Funchess, a physical receiver who could give Pittsburgh trouble. Tight end Greg Olsen still delivers and Torrey Smith looms as an X-factor, should he return this week after missing some time. There is a lot of variety and horsepower on this side of the ball.

A good Carolina team typically relies on defense. This season, it took a while to manifest, but the defense seems to have stabilized. With Julius Peppers, Mario Addison, Kawann Short, and Dontari Poe, they can get after the passer and are stout against the run. Addison has 7.5 sacks. Luke Kuechly is a force in the middle and Thomas Davis can still bring it. The pass-defense has been exploitable at times this season, but with Captain Munnerlyn, Mike Adams, James Bradberry, Eric Reid, and Donte Jackson, they're getting better and make a lot of plays. Jackson has pulled in four picks, while Adams has three.

It's a strange matchup—not one that we see very often. Neither team really has any room to be screwing up and should be urgent heading into this matchup. I see a good game with both teams having moments of success. I see the game taking on more of an offensive tone. I see both defenses struggling to contain the full scope of weapons that each offense offers. I'm going "over" in this game.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting that the Carolina vs. Pittsburgh game goes "over" 50 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Panthers vs. Steelers game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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