Las Vegas has recently released “Over/Under Win Totals” for all 32 NFL franchises ahead of the NFL Draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers landed an extremely conservative win total of 8.5 games, which would put them at 9-8 or 8-9 after the NFL added a 17th regular season game for the upcoming season. ESPN recently released an article that predicted the over/under win total for each team and their beat reporter predicted the under for the Steelers in 2021. Below we will review their analysis and debunk a few of the issues with their predictions.
First issue – the win total on almost every sportsbook is 8.5, which seems minimal, but makes a large difference when you’re looking at betting a win total for an entire season. The Steelers have not had a losing season under head coach Mike Tomlin and with a team that just won 12 games last season, it seems unlikely they would make such a regression with a large majority of the team’s playmakers returning.
Second issue – the Steelers are 1 of only 6 teams they predicted would go under the win total, meaning they would lose more games than Vegas predicts. This is just irrational based on the idea that these teams are playing each other and 26 teams will not win as many or more games than predicted. Will teams inevitably improve and regress from season-to-season? Obviously, but 26 teams exceeding or meeting their predicted win total is quite a stretch.
Third issue – there is no real rationalization as to why they believe the Steelers will go under. When reading a prediction from a credible source, you expect some sort of meaningful analysis. However, just stating that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 39 and they have a tough schedule doesn’t provide great insight into the mind of the reporter. I have no issue with a person having a stance on topic, but at least expand on why you have that stance for the reader to understand why you made a decision.
My advice? Don’t take ESPN‘s advice when gauging your level of optimism for the 2021 season. This time last year, ESPN predicted the Steelers to win 8.8 games and only gave them a modest 58% chance to make the playoffs and we saw how those predictions turned out. Take the over 8.5 win total and sleep comfortably knowing you’ve invested your money smartly. Let’s go Steelers!