Steelers to stun 49ers in season-opening home win in Pittsburgh

  • Pittsburgh is a 2.5-point home underdog against the 49ers in Week 1 of the NFL season
  • Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa may miss the matchup due to a contract dispute 
  • Sunday’s game kicks off from Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA at 1 pm ET

Don’t tell Steelers fans that the preseason doesn’t matter. Kenny Pickett dominated in three appearances this August, completing 13-of-15 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Pittsburgh’s sophomore led five scoring drives in five tries, finishing with a 158.3 QB rating and a 94.7 PFF grade, topping all quarterbacks in both statistics.

Week 1 provides the real test, however, as Pickett hosts Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers. Before we check the odds on Sunday’s game, here’s where you can find the best Super Bowl betting tips and the top betting sites for NFL football in 2023.

Steelers vs 49ers

BetOnline ReviewSpreadMoney LineTotal Points
San Francisco 49ers-2.5 (-110)-138Ov 41 (-107)
Pittsburgh Steelers+2.5 (-110)+118Un 41 (-113)

San Francisco missing key pieces

San Francisco is a 2.5-point road favorite on Sunday. The 49ers may be without both reigning Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa, who skipped training camp while trying to negotiate a new deal, and George Kittle, who missed practice on Monday with a groin injury. Otherwise, Kyle Shanahan’s club is loaded on both sides of the ball.

Christian McCaffery enters his first full season in the Bay Area after amassing 746 rushing yards, 464 receiving yards and 10 total TDs in 11 games with the Niners in 2022. The aforementioned Kittle, Deebo Samuel and breakout candidate Brandon Aiyuk also give sophomore QB Brock Purdy a plethora of weapons in the passing game.

Brock Purdy enters year 2

Brock Purdy tossed two-or-more TDs in seven consecutive games after taking over as the 49ers starter in Week 13. However, Mr. Irrelevant’s Cinderella season took an ugly turn in the NFC Championship Game when he tore his UCL against the Eagles.

Now fully healthy and ahead of only Sam Darnold on the depth chart with Trey Lance in Dallas, Purdy enters year 2 as the only question mark on San Francisco’s Super Bowl caliber roster.

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OVER 41.0Steelers vs 49ers
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Is Kenny Pickett for real?

After a 2-6 start, the 2022 Steelers surged down the stretch and barely missed the postseason with a 9-8 record. Pickett threw 4 TDs and only 1 INT over his final four games and showed improved arm strength and accuracy throughout the preseason. While San Francisco’s defense should provide a stiff test, what if Nick Bosa is not on the field?

According to Pro Football Focus, the Niners’ pass rusher extraordinaire has racked up 165 pressures and 35 sacks over the past two seasons. Without Bosa, Pickett will have time to pick apart a weak secondary and find talented pass catchers such as Diontae Johnson and sophomore George Pickens.

Best Bet

While everyone is talking about Nick Bosa, people are forgetting that the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt, is also playing in this game. In addition to a healthy Watt, Alex Highsmith had a career-high 14.5 sacks in 2022 and fourth-round pick Nick Herbig was a revelation in the preseason.

After leading the NFL in sacks for five straight seasons before last year, this Steelers defense may again be among the best in the league. With improved play from Pickett, we like Pittsburgh to score the upset at home.

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Steve Starr

Steve is the quintessential American sports enthusiast. He has mastered the art of Sundays, devoting them to football, and barbecue parties. He proudly wears the hats of a good father, husband and a great dog owner. Aside from his decades of contributing to different top-tier sports publications, Steve has also found his niche on Twitter, where he publishes funny and relatable sports-related insights. When he's not busy tweeting, Steve loves to watch each game unfold live. He possesses an innate talent for finding humor in the sports world, appreciating both the thrilling moments and the comedic mishaps that make each event unique.

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