The rivalry never dies. East vs. West. Cheesesteaks vs. pierogies. Yuengling vs. Iron City.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles.
Which side are you on? On Thursday night, you’ll have to pick one.
Pittsburgh kicked off the NFL preseason with a 16-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday in the Hall of Fame Game. Now, the Steelers face the Eagles, their intrastate rivals, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field. The Linc is also now home to two new sports betting branded spaces – the Fox Bet Lounge and the DraftKings Field Club.
Pennsylvania sportsbooks have a number of odds available for the return of football betting.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles preseason betting preview
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles betting lines and stats
(Via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Spread: PHI -1 (-115), PIT +1 (-105)
Total: Over 34.5 (-110), Under 34.5 (-110)
Moneyline: PHI -130, PIT +110
FanDuel Sportsbook has the numbers slightly different with the Steelers at +100 and the Eagles at -120. The over/under there is also a half-point lower at 34.
Other ways to bet on preseason football at DraftKings include team props.
- Steelers total team points: Over 16.5 (-130)/Under 16.5 (+100)
- Eagles total team points: Over 17.5 (-105)/Under 17.5 (-125)
Things to watch during for the Eagles
The relatively low total points indicates that oddsmakers don’t expect a lot of offense in the game, but there is plenty to watch for in the Eagles preseason opener. Let’s take look at some of the storylines to get you ready for Thursday’s game.
How will the Eagles’ passing game perform?
Philadelphia hoped to improve its passing game by selecting Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith from Alabama in the first round of the NFL Draft. However, Smith has been sidelined in training camp due to an MCL sprain and his status for Thursday night’s game is uncertain. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts will likely be looking for other targets, including second-year receiver Jalen Reagor, who was named by Bleacher Report as a player to watch Thursday. Reagor had a lackluster rookie year, recording 31 receptions for 396 yards and a touchdown last season. The Eagles are certainly hoping for a better performance this year and would like to see some flashes on Thursday night.
How will Steven Nelson play against his old team?
Nelson was released by the Steelers in March in a cost-cutting move and will get a chance at revenge against his former team Thursday. The defensive back played four seasons in Kansas City before spending the last two in Pittsburgh. He’ll play opposite No. 1 corner Darius Slay in the Eagles’ defense.
“Steve came on our radar right when he was let go from the Steelers. (We have) a lot of respect for him and who he is as a person and as a player,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. “I mean, this guy is incredibly competitive and tough and instinctive…You can never have enough corners in this league. We saw it last year. (That was) another position that we had starting guys we got off the street. We’re excited to have him here and be part of this team.”
Things to watch during for the Steelers
Will Devin Bush look like his old self?
Steelers linebacker Devin Bush should make his return in Thursday’s preseason game. Bush tore his ACL in Week 6 last season and the Steelers defense suffered as a result of his absence. Bush, a first-round pick in 2019, is expected to be a key player for the defense this season.
“This is going to be a big week for him,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in an interview on the NFL Network (via Steelers Depot). “He’s scheduled to play in the game in Philadelphia and so that first in-game action is going to be significant. You know, he’s been competing out there (in training camp) and so I’m excited about getting him back in the fold and just watching him get back in the middle of things, be a hub of communication, be a sideline-to-sideline guy that we all know he’s capable of being.”
Bush had 109 tackles, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions in his rookie season in 2019. The Steelers are hopeful that he can replicate that same production this year.
Can Najee Harris improve in his second preseason game?
The Steelers were ranked last in rushing last season and the team selected Alabama running back Najee Harris in the draft to remedy that problem. Harris is already listed as one of the favorites for Offensive Rookie of the Year at sportsbooks. His work ethic is already drawing rave reviews in training camp.
“It appears he’s a guy that enjoys the drudgery, the things that maybe others don’t,” coach Mike Tomlin told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio in a recent interview. “You see that oftentimes in guys like him. He’s a workaholic. I think he’s showing those traits, which is very good obviously, in terms of him being ready to do the things that we’re going to need him to do for us in 2021. He’s tireless, he’s tireless out here. He’s tireless in the classroom setting, and I think all of that helps him and us.”
Harris had seven carries for 22 yards (a 3.1 average) in his preseason debut against the Cowboys, along with one reception for three yards. He figures to be a focal point for the Steelers’ offense this season and should get a number of touches Thursday night.
New users at DraftKings can get a $200 bonus
Why wait for the regular season?
DraftKings has a new promotion that can give new users a $200 bonus – and it’s live for all the NFL preseason games. New users who make a deposit of at least $5 and make a wager on any college or NFL game in the next month can earn a bonus of $200, paid out in the form of eight $25 free bets.
And Thursday’s game, featuring Pennsylvania’s two pro football teams is eligible for the promotion.
Maybe it’s just the preseason, but it’s still a rivalry game. There’s plenty to play for and plenty of reasons to watch.
And plenty to root for too.
Which side are you on?
Lead photo Justin Berl/AP