An important AFC showdown between two teams coming off losses will take place in Pittsburgh on Sunday when the struggling Steelers (7-5-1) host the New England Patriots (9-4) in a near pick'em matchup at sportsbooks.
The Patriots are listed as small road favorites despite falling 34-33 to the Miami Dolphins on a miracle play last week on the road while the Steelers will be looking to break a three-game losing streak at home.
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 25.1-24.4 Steelers (NFL picks on every game)
Why the Patriots can cover the spread
New England should have defeated Miami last Sunday but surrendered a crazy final play that involved a pass and double lateral as time expired to suffer a tough defeat. The Patriots found themselves trailing four times previously in the game before Kenyan Drake scored the game-winning touchdown for the Dolphins.
Regardless, New England is still in the driver's seat for one of the top two seeds in the conference because Pittsburgh and the Houston Texans both lost as well last Sunday. The Patriots hold a tie-breaker with the Texans because they beat them earlier this season, and they would guarantee themselves a better record than the Steelers too if they just beat them here.
Why the Steelers can cover the spread
Pittsburgh is undoubtedly reeling right now with three straight defeats, the latest coming as a double-digit road favorite at the Oakland Raiders. But all that would be forgotten if the Steelers can earn a rare win in this series that has seen them lose each of the past five meetings along with 12 of the last 15.
This is still a team that won six games in a row prior to the skid, going 5-0-1 against the spread during that stretch. Pittsburgh holds value as a home underdog in this spot.
Smart betting pick
Handicapping this game comes down to which defense you trust more to come through in the end. Picking the winner is likely all you will need to do to cover the spread, and New England has been disappointing away from Gillette Stadium with a 3-4 road mark both straight up and ATS.
In recent years, the Patriots were road warriors who would have no problem winning a game like this. Not this time, so take the Steelers.
NFL betting trends
The total has gone under in three of the Patriots' last four games vs the Steelers.
The Steelers are 11-3 SU in their last 14 games at home after losing their most recent home game.
The total has gone under in five of the Patriots' last six games.
All NFL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.