How Do the Steelers Perform Without Defensive Stalwart T.J. Watt?

How Do the Steelers Perform Without Defensive Stalwart T.J. Watt?
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Late in what had been an overwhelmingly positive season opener, the Pittsburgh Steelers got some bad news.

All-Pro outside linebacker and pass rusher T.J. Watt, the heartbeat of a typically stout Steelers defense, suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh’s big 23-20 overtime win on the road over the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.

The Steelers await an MRI exam today for a diagnosis to determine the severity of the injury.

He is expected, at the very least, to miss significant time and people involved in Pennsylvania sports betting are watching closely.

Reports later Monday indicated that Watt would seek a second, and perhaps third opinion, on how to deal with the injury.

 

Tomlin to Speak Tuesday

If no word comes out today, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is scheduled to hold his weekly press conference Tuesday, heading into Sunday’s home opener against the New England Patriots (0-1).

Watt was stellar on Sunday with one interception, two pass deflections and six solo tackles, highlighted by a three for loss (including one sack).

Backup outside linebacker Malik Reed, who was picked up in a trade with the Denver Broncos last month, is next up to take over for Watt’s loss. Last season, Reed had 24 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles for the Broncos. He did not play Sunday vs. Cincinnati.

How much will the loss of Watt hurt the Steelers?

PennStakes.com utilized StatMuse.com, ProFootballReference.com and DraftSharks.com to develop statistics to possibly measure what clearly is a huge setback for the Steelers.

Here are some key stats that show how the Steelers clearly experience a dropoff without Watt.

W-L record0-4
Avg. Points Allowed7.63 more points
Avg. Yards Allowed30.6 more yards
Avg. 1st Downs Allowed2.4 more

According to DraftSharks.com, which utilized risk situations to determine the likelihood of injuries, Watt had a 76% of injury in 2022 and was projected to miss 2.20 games this year.

If this is an extended injury to Watt, what does this do to the Steelers’ chances in Pennsylvania NFL betting to be successful this season and be in play for the AFC North Division title?

At FanDuel Sportsbook PA, the Steelers are still fourth to win the divisional title at +550, +3400 to win the AFC and +5500 to win the Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.  That places them 22nd among the league’s 32 teams.

To win the league’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award, Watt is listed at +2500, tied with the Chargers’ Khalil Mack and the Bills’ Von Miller.

That is sure to change if Watt is out for a large amount of the season.

PennStakes.com is a good source for sports betting information and analysis as well as for the best Pennsylvania sports promos.

 

Eagles’ Odds Soar with Prescott Out

The Philadelphia Eagles had been creeping up on the Dallas Cowboys all season in NFL betting.

Those odds jumped dramatically when word came out that quarterback Dak Prescott had suffered a fracture thumb in the Cowboys’ opening loss at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Odds that once were close on PA sports betting apps now are far from it.

The Eagles are heavy favorites (-155) to win the NFC East (Dallas next at +450) at BetRivers PA, tied for second at +550 to win the NFC with Green Bay and the LA Rams behind Tampa Bay and seventh to win the Super Bowl at +1400 (the Cowboys have dropped to 18th at +5000).

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Contributors

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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