Mike Tomlin took over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007 and has amassed a .643 winning percentage in the regular season over his 15 year NFL tenure. Tomlin's most impressive accomplishment might be the fact that he has never had a losing season as the head coach of the Steelers. Anyone who can stay competitive while throwing Duck Hodges out at quarterback for multiple weeks deserves all the credit they get.
A lot of people were down on the Pittsburgh Steelers entering the 2021 season. Ben Roethlisberger was clearly declining at a pretty rapid pace and there were questions about his offensive line and the middle of the defense. However, true to form, Tomlin's Steelers stayed in the picture all year long, and when Lamar Jackson went down with an injury late in the season, the Steelers pounced and found a way to make the playoffs with a 9-7-1 record.
A lot had to go right for the Steelers to make the playoffs. The aforementioned injury to Jackson opened the door. The Colts had to lose to the Jaguars on the final weekend. The Raiders and Chargers almost tied in the regular season finale, which would have kept the Steelers out. Even when Pittsburgh did make the playoffs, they looked completely outclassed in the wild card round by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Ben Roethlisberger has retired. The rest of the AFC has improved. The AFC North figures to be one of the most competitive divisions in football. There were questions about this team entering last season, but those questions are even louder entering this season. Overall, it seems like the football world is down on Pittsburgh. Yahoo's Frank Schwab ranked them 22nd in his preseason power rankings. The betting market seems to agree it could be a very rare losing season in the Steel City.
Will Tomlin have first losing season?
After winning nine games last season, the win total over/under for the Pittsburgh Steelers this upcoming season it set at 7.5 wins. Notably, this win total suggests a potential losing season for the Steelers, something that hasn't happened since 2003 under Bill Cowher. If you're a believer in history, the over should be your bet as Mike Tomlin has never finished a season with less than eight wins.
At BetMGM, 64% of bets are backing Pittsburgh to go over 7.5 wins. However, 54% of the money is on the under, suggesting there are a lot of big dollar wagers banking on Pittsburgh having a down season. The Steelers under has received the third most money of any team, behind just the Bears and Cowboys.
Pittsburgh is a +300 underdog to make the playoffs in 2022, odds that suggest they make the playoffs just 25% of the time. These are the worst odds to make the playoffs of any team that made the playoffs last season. The AFC is improved and so is the AFC North, and oddsmakers seem to think the Steelers haven't kept up.
Pittsburgh is +900 to win the AFC North, making them the longest shot in the division by a wide margin. Cleveland has the next worst odds at +300. The Steelers are -200 favorites to finish the season in fourth place in the division, even with all the uncertainty surrounding the Cleveland Browns' quarterback situation. The Steelers are +325 underdogs to occupy one of the top two spots in the division. All three other teams are -115 favorites or better.
If you're expecting a particularly poor season for Pittsburgh, they are 20-to-1 to finish the regular season with the fewest wins in the NFL. Those are the 10th best odds. Pittsburgh is 12-to-1 to score the fewest points during the regular season. Those odds are tied for sixth best with the Browns and New York Jets.
Super Bowl long shots
Pittsburgh enters the 2022 NFL season as an extreme long shot to win the Super Bowl. The Steelers are 80-to-1 to end the year as champions. Those are the 23rd best odds in football, ranking behind teams like the Washington Commanders. Pittsburgh is just ahead of the New York Giants and Chicago Bears in terms of Super Bowl odds, which highlights the low quality of company they are keeping. At 80-to-1, the Steelers have the longest Super Bowl odds of any team that made the playoffs last season.
The Steelers are 40-to-1 to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Those are the fourth longest odds in the conference, ahead of only the Houston Texans, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Steelers player props and awards
What is the betting market saying about some key Steelers players ahead of the 2022 NFL season?
Who will start at quarterback for the Steelers this season? That is uncertain, and the betting market agrees. Mitch Trubisky opened camp as the No. 1 option. First round rookie Kenny Pickett opened as the No. 3, behind Trubisky and Mason Rudolph. Will Trubisky be able to hold off the rookie for long? We don't know, and that's probably the main reason why there are no season long player props posted for either player.
Trubisky is 80-to-1 to win NFL MVP. Those odds are the same as other presumed starting quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield, Carson Wentz and Justin Fields. Trubisky is 12-to-1 to win comeback player of the year, tied for the 6th best odds with Marcus Mariota. On the other hand, Pickett is the betting favorite to win offensive rookie of the year at +500. He's the most popular bet as well, getting nearly 18% of the betting handle for the award. If you think Pickett gets the job early, he might be worth a bet at those odds as the only rookie quarterback really on the radar. Both quarterbacks are 100-to-1 to lead the NFL in passing yards.
T.J. Watt won defensive player of the year last season, amassing 42 of the 50 votes. He's +650 to repeat as the winner of the award. Those are the second best odds behind Cleveland's Myles Garrett. Watt is the fifth most popular bet to win the award behind Micah Parsons, Darius Leonard, Aaron Donald and Rashan Gary.
Watt led the league last year with 22.5 sacks, tying the all-time single season record set by Michael Strahan in 2001. He's +700 to lead the NFL in sacks this upcoming season, the second best odds behind Garrett. Watt's over/under for sacks this season is set at 14 sacks. He's gone over that mark in three straight seasons.
Najee Harris enters the season with 16-to-1 odds to lead the NFL in rushing yards. Those odds are tied with Antonio Gibson for the seventh best odds. Harris finished with the fourth most yards last season. Harris is also 11-to-1 to lead the league in rushing touchdowns, which is tied for the fourth best odds with Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon. Harris had just 7 touchdowns last year, ranking 15th in the league.
For this upcoming season, Harris' over/under for rushing yards is set at 1149.5. He had 1200 rushing yards last season. His over/under for rushing touchdowns is set at 9.5.
Diontae Johnson is 25-to-1 to lead the NFL in receiving yards. Those are the 13th best odds, right behind Mark Andrews of the Ravens. Johnson ranked 10th in receiving yards last year. He's also 16-to-1 to lead the NFL in receptions, tied for the seventh best odds with Ja'Marr Chase. Johnson finished with the fifth most receptions last season.
Johnson posted 107 receptions, 1161 receiving yards and 8 receiving touchdowns in 2021. For 2022, his season long props are set at 85.5 receptions, 999.5 receiving yards and 6.5 touchdowns. Over his three year career, Johnson is averaging 85 receptions, 921 yards and 6.7 touchdowns per season.
Alongside Johnson, Chase Claypool posted 59 receptions, 860 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns last season. His props for this season are set at 58.5 receptions, 749.5 receiving yards and 4.5 receiving touchdowns.
Mike Tomlin is 20-to-1 to win NFL coach of the year this upcoming season. Those odds are tied for 11th best with Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich. Tomlin is currently the fifth most popular bet at BetMGM, and his odds have moved down after opening at 30-to-1 earlier in the offseason. Tomlin has never won the award, but if this Pittsburgh team has yet another winning season, his case will be strong.
Steelers open the season as underdogs
The Pittsburgh Steelers open the season with a divisional matchup on the road. The Steelers are 6.5-point road underdogs in Cincinnati against the Bengals. The Bengals enter the season as reigning AFC champions, and oddsmakers are expecting them to start the season with a win over the Steelers.
In the two meetings between these teams last season, the Steelers went 0-2. They kept the game at home close, but were blown out by a score of 41-10 in Cincinnati. It's hard to imagine a Mitch Trubisky led team keeping up with Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon and Ja'Marr Chase. However, it's a lot of points for an early season divisional game.
The Steelers shocked the world in Week 1 last season when they went on the road and beat the Buffalo Bills. If you think Pittsburgh can repeat that performance, the Steelers are +225 underdogs on the moneyline.