Raiders vs. Steelers Odds, Injuries, Prediction: T.J. Watt the Difference Maker

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The Las Vegas Raiders face the Steelers in frosty Pittsburgh on Saturday night to close out play on Christmas Eve in Week 16 of the 2022 NFL season. Here, we look at odds, injury news, and a prediction for this Raiders vs. Steelers tilt.

But there will be a somber tone to the festivities.

Former Steelers RB Franco Harris, who made the Immaculate Reception in the team’s famous playoff win over the Raiders in 1972, died unexpectedly overnight just days before his jersey No. 32 was to be retired. The 50th anniversary of that game is Friday.

As of Thursday, the forecast called for a temperature of 12 degrees at kickoff and a wind chill of minus-3, thanks to winds of 14 mph. There’s a 3 percent chance of precipitation.

Raiders vs. Steelers Odds: Point Spread, Moneyline, Total

The Raiders, who were 2-point favorites when odds were first posted in May for this AFC battle, are 2.5-point underdogs across the board at the DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and PointsBet sportsbooks as of Thursday. The SuperBook is dealing Steelers -2, so favorite bettors may want to be patient and seek out a less expensive number approaching kickoff.

Here are odds from top sportsbook apps on this primetime affair:

LV Raiders vs PIT Steelers Odds NFL Odds

NFL · Sat (12/24) @ 8:16pm ET

LV Raiders at PIT Steelers
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Top Offer: Make a $2,500 No Sweat First Bet at FanDuel Sportsbook

Playoffs Hopes Alive for Raiders and Steelers … Barely

Both teams are 6-8 and enter Week 16 two games out of the wild-card mix, yet still have playoff hopes with three games remaining. But remote hopes. The Raiders have odds of +1800 to reach the postseason (BetMGM), and the Steelers are at +2500, also at BetMGM.

For folks who believe in the Hall of Fame Game Curse, it should come as no surprise the Raiders are not among the contenders for the Super Bowl title. Dating to 1962, no team that played in the almost-annual exhibition game has won the NFL title that season. In August, Vegas beat Jacksonville 27-11.

Futures prices: Odds to make NFL playoffs | Odds to win Super Bowl 57

Current Form

Las Vegas (7-7 against the spread), the only team to open the season by losing its first three games, is coming off perhaps the wackiest end to any football game since the Cal-Stanford band episode 40 years ago. In a tie game on the last play of regulation, the Patriots foolishly turned the final snap into a lateral-rooskie. LV’s Chandler Jones caught one of the backward heaves and trampled NE quarterback Mac Jones on the way to a score.

In that game, the Raiders gave up 172 rushing yards to Rhamondre Stevenson, the most by anyone the past three weeks.

The Steelers (7-6-1 ATS), meanwhile, have won four of their past six games, including last week’s 24-16 victory at Carolina as a 2.5-point underdog, their fourth upset victory of the season. In that outing against the Panthers, Pittsburgh had a season-high 45 rushes for 156 yards.

They also had the most dominating TD drive by any team this season, marching 21 plays, covering 91 yards (even overcoming a 15-yard penalty). Their time of possession was 11 minutes, 43 seconds — 51 seconds longer than any other drive in the league this season.

Vegas insight: NFL Week 16 sharp betting report

Pickett Back for Pitt?

At quarterback for the Steelers, rookie Kenny Pickett (concussion) is expected to return as the starter in place of Mitch Trubisky. Pickett has the league’s worst passer rating, with four TD throws and eight INTs.

For the Raiders, as usual, it will be Derek Carr. He’s 18th on the passer chart with 23 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. WR Davante Adams caught 12 of those scoring throws, which ties him for most in the league.

Picks: NFL Week 16 Predictions | Week 16 Teaser

No Favors From Schedule Makers

On the scheduling front, the Raiders are getting an atomic wedgy of sorts by having to travel three times zones back East on short rest, something only one team this year has been asked to do (San Francisco beat host Carolina 37-15 in Week 5).

Somewhat incredibly, the Raiders had to do the exact same thing last year, playing the Steelers on short rest in Pittsburgh after playing host to a MNF game. But Las Vegas still won 26-17 as a 5.5-point underdog. And in 2020, the same thing occurred, only this time the Raiders played at New England after a MNF game, losing 36-20 as a 6.5-point dog.

Up next: NFL Week 17 odds

Raiders vs. Steelers Analysis & Prediction

The return from injury by Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt in Week 10 after a seven-game absence has corresponded with the team’s dramatic defensive improvement. Pittsburgh went 4-2 in that recent stretch. Without him the Steelers were 1-6.

raiders steelers odds, tj watt
T.J. Watt and the Steelers are short favorites vs. the Raiders on NFL Week 16 oddsboards (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

Watt, last year’s sack champion, has helped spearhead a unit that’s given up only 284.7 yards a game the past six weeks, an improvement of 105.2 yards a game from the outings he missed.

Particularly impressive is the team’s rushing defense. Pittsburgh is seventh on the yards-allowed chart with 109.0 yielded a game. The Steelers were last in this department in 2021, giving up 146.1 an outing — yet still making the playoffs as a wild card.

That rush defense should come in handy in at least slowing league rushing leader Josh Jacobs, who’s averaging 106.8 yards a game.

Another aspect that could hinder the Raiders is their penchant for penalties. They rank second worst with infractions marched off against them, including 13 last week. That ties for the most by any team a game this season.

Forecast: Steelers 20, Raiders 14

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About the Author
Bob Christ

Bob Christ

Bob Christ, based in New Mexico, has been a gaming writer (primarily the NFL) for almost four decades, with his work appearing in publications/websites across North America. He's a big fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Philadelphia's Eagles and Phillies, and inexplicably the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

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