Football betting handicappers were even more put off by the off season reports about Ben Roethlisberger who will be suspended for the start of the football gambling season.
Roethlisberger faced allegations of sexual abuse for the second consecutive year and although no charges were filed he was roasted in the media and by disgusted fans. The quarterback was hoping to put it all behind him by focusing on football and has had a great training camp.
But in the Steelers preseason opener he did not see action, much as he wanted too.
Pittsburgh scored a 23-7 win over the Detroit Lions and covered the football odds as 3-point home favorites as the game went under the total of 33.5. The Steelers will play at the New York Giants on August 21 in their next preseason matchup.
The game with Detroit was marred by monsoon like rains that delayed action for well over an hour. Byron Leftwich, who is scheduled to start in place of Roethlisberger during his 6-game regular season suspension, was ineffective against the Lions.
Third string quarterback Dennis Dixon was the most effective signal caller for Pittsburgh as he threw for a touchdown as well as connecting on a bomb that set up another score.
Dixon may have been the happiest Steeler in the opener as he said, “I’m having a blast.”
Roethlisberger was not booed by the hometown fans, who eventually started chanting “We want Ben, We want Ben” as Leftwich struggled.
“With the number of snaps we anticipated the first offense running, it just wasn’t appropriate to play him,” said Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin. “He wanted to play. He’s had an awesome training camp.”
Tomlin was obviously not happy with the performance of the first offensive unit, which will be a concern with the Steelers ability to beat the NFL lines. Leftwich got twice the amount of playing time that was expected as Tomlin was hoping the unit would begin to click, although it never did.
“We weren’t really clicking,” said Leftwich. “We did some things not so good, but we’ll work on it.”
Pittsburgh is a football betting co-favorite with the Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC North.