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NFL Betting Lines – Steelers Can’t Function Without Polamalu

Posted by Jackson Anthony on 12/21/2010 6:31:17 PM

If you’re into stats, you’d probably like to know that the Pittsburgh Steelers have only won five of twelve NFL betting lines games when Troy Polamalu is out of the lineup.

Carolina Panthers (2-10) At Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4)
Thursday, December 23, 2010
8:20 PM ET
Broadcast: NFL Network

NFL Betting Lines
Carolina +14.5
Pittsburgh -14.5
Total 37

Polamalu’s absence was blatantly obvious in last week’s loss against the New York Jets and the all-pro safety and Defensive Player of the Year candidate is once again doubtful for Thursday night’s contest against the (2-10) Carolina Panthers.

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez looked surprisingly calm in the pocket, surely aware that he wasn’t being stalked by one of the most feared quarterback predators.

In fact, Sanchez even rushed for a touchdown on a naked bootleg, a call that would never even have been in the playbook had Polamalu been starting. That score on the ground was just the fifth touchdown surrendered by the Steelers defense all year, tying them for the NFL betting lines lead.

The Carolina Panthers, meanwhile, are coming off a 19-12 win over the Arizona Cardinals and are looking to play spoiler with two games remaining in the season.

Running back Jonathan Stewart appears to finally be healthy after rushing for over 130 yards in two consecutive contests and rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen is coming off his best performance as a pro, throwing for 141 yards and a touchdown, posting a 107.6 passer rating.

I have a hunch that the Steelers might take this game too lightly, and the Panthers will keep it close.

If Carolina can manage to move the ball just a little bit on the ground against a beat up Pittsburgh defense, they will be able to control at least some of the game and keep it from getting out of hand.

The Steelers will pull out an NFL betting lines win at home, in a close one.

NFL Betting Lines Pick – Panthers (+14.5)

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