Coach Rick needs a winner and he has found it for Monday’s NFL free pick. Yes, Coach Rick grew up with the Steel Curtain, Blitzburgh, and black-and-gold everything. This is not about being a homer or betting on emotion.
This is just simple, sound decision-making. It’s just a bonus that Coach Rick happens to be a Steeler fan. It will make Monday night’s game against the Giants that much more enjoyable.
Game: Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0, 0-0 ATS) at New York Giants (0-0, 0-0 ATS)
When: 7:10 PM ET, Monday, September 14, 2020
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Current Line: PIT -6 Total: 45
TV Coverage: ESPN
The Steelers opened as 3.5-point favorites, but a serious amount of action on the Steelers has driven the line up to -6.0 at top online sportsbooks. It’s not surprising as Pittsburgh welcomes back QB Ben Roethlisberger, who missed most of the 2019 season with an elbow injury.
Steelers Kickoff: Week 1 vs New York Giants
He’s not the only one back. Running back James Conner (six games) and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (four games) missed considerable time last season. The result was a Pittsburgh offense that was 31st in the league in 2019. That came after the Steelers ranked second in total offense in 2018.
What really gives Pittsburgh an advantage over the Giants is its defense. With the Steelers struggling early last year, the team traded for FS Minkah Fitzpatrick. The former first-round draft pick would go on to play in his first Pro Bowl and spearhead a defense that allowed an NFL-low 14.1 points per game on the road.
The Steeler “D” finished third in the league pass defense (194.6 ypg) and fifth in total defense (304.1 ypg). More importantly, Pittsburgh went 7-1 from early October to early December to put themselves in playoff contention. See which direction my NFL free pick may be going?
Even more interesting was the Steelers record against the spread. They went 7-2-2 ATS from Week 3 to Week 14. Pittsburgh went 3-1 ATS in their four inter-conference games last season.
Now, why Coach Rick likes Pittsburgh on Monday night is, again, not just because he’s a Steeler fan. The Giants are a franchise on their third head coach in five years. In their last three seasons, they are a measly 12-36 straight up.
Giants in Name
The Giants defense ranked 30th in points allowed last year and the offense wasn’t much better. New York has a young quarterback in Daniel Jones who did not have the benefit of OTAs or minicamp this offseason. Jones threw for 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 13 games last season.
The spark to the Giants offense will be provided by RB Saquon Barkley, who also battled some injuries last season. Wide receiver Golden Tate is listed as questionable for Monday’s game making Barkley even more important.
In betting the NFL in 2020, one of the things to consider is continuity. The Steelers enter the 2020 season with the same head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, special teams coach, and starting quarterback. The Giants don’t.
NFL Free Pick – MNF Week 1
Coach Rick can keep going. Pittsburgh is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games against NFC opponents. The Giants are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.
Due to time constraints, we’ll simply offer you Monday’s NFL free pick. Pittsburgh will take care of business and cover.
NFL Free Pick: PITTSBURGH -6
Pick by Coach Rick