Super Bowl contenders clash in Pittsburgh when the first-place Pittsburgh Steelers host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football to open Week 10. It's an 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff from Heinz Field, and both teams are rolling. Pittsburgh (5-2-1) has won four straight, while Carolina (6-2) has won three in a row to stay one game behind New Orleans in the NFC South. With quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton shredding defenses weekly, it should be an entertaining shootout, and oddsmakers are expecting plenty of points.
Sportsbooks list Pittsburgh as a 3.5-point favorite. The Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 50.5 in the latest Panthers vs. Steelers odds, up a half-point from the opener. Before you make any Panthers vs. Steelers picks, listen to what NFL guru Adam Silverstein has to say.
Nobody knows the NFL in general, or the Steelers in particular, like Silverstein. CBS Sports' deputy managing editor, Silverstein is a football guru who demonstrates his encyclopedic knowledge with every pick he makes.
Last week, Silverstein rode the Steelers as short underdogs at Baltimore. The result: Pittsburgh 23, Baltimore 16 -- another easy cash. That made Silverstein 4-0 in his past four spread picks involving Pittsburgh, plus a stunning 32-12 in his past 44 NFL picks overall. Anyone who has followed him is way, way up.
"Not only is this a revenge game in an awesome rivalry for Pittsburgh, these teams are trending in opposite directions," Silverstein told SportsLine members last Sunday. "Baltimore's 27th-ranked offense is not going to be improved with its starting tackles out for the game and Big Ben is back throwing the rock at will. James Conner might struggle to get going early, but he should be able to wear the Ravens down." It played out exactly as Silverstein predicted.
Now, Silverstein has locked in another strong against the spread pick involving the Steelers. He's only sharing it over at SportsLine.
Silverstein knows Pittsburgh hasn't missed a beat without Bell, as Conner has pounded defenses for 4.7 yards per carry while rushing for an AFC-high 706 yards with 10 touchdowns. The Steelers rank ninth in scoring (29.4) and fourth in total yards (415.3). They're blessed with a balanced attack featuring quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing to wide receivers Antonio Brown (9 TDs) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (53 catches, 672 yards).
Pittsburgh has tightened up defensively, too, allowing only 18 points per game during its winning streak. The Steelers held quarterback Joe Flacco to 5.7 yards per attempt, and the Ravens only mustered 3.8 yards per carry, in last week's rivalry win.
But just because the Steelers appear to have put it all together doesn't mean they cover against the equally hot Panthers.
Carolina is clicking offensively, with the most dangerous weapons in the Ron Rivera era. Running back Christian McCaffrey (4.6 ypc, 5 TDs), wide receiver Curtis Samuel (2 TDs last week) and reliable tight end Greg Olsen are taking the pressure off Newton, who's accounted for 19 TDs against four turnovers. The Panthers rank second in the NFL in rushing, amassing 143.9 yards per game.
In their 42-28 win over Tampa Bay last week, the Panthers held stud wideout Mike Evans to one 16-yard catch, perhaps a positive omen for their matchup against Brown, a six-time Pro Bowler.
We can tell you Silverstein is leaning under, but his stronger play is against the spread. He has identified a huge x-factor that has him all over one side. He's only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine.
Who wins Panthers vs. Steelers on Thursday Night Football? And what huge x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see Silverstein's strong point-spread pick, all from the Steelers expert who has nailed four straight Pittsburgh picks as part of a 32-12 NFL heater.