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Steelers vs. Falcons odds: Pittsburgh has been NFL’s second-best preseason bet since 2017

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons close out their #NFL preseason schedules tonight from Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff on the NFL Network. The Steelers are 4.5-point favorites, which is a tad unusual on the road in a preseason finale, but Pittsburgh has been the league’s second-best preseason team since 2017 behind AFC North rival Baltimore.

Mike Tomlin is a coach who apparently cares about the preseason as the #Steelers are a stellar 39-24 under him. Since 2017, they are 17-4 straight up in exhibition games. Only the Ravens at 20-1 – and that loss came Monday – have been better.

Dating to last season, Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU & ATS in its past five preseason games. The Steelers won by 10 at Tampa Bay in Week 1 this year and then beat visiting Buffalo 27-14 last week. Starting QB Kenny Pickett only played briefly against the Bills and was 3-for-4 for 43 yards and a TD (also played briefly in the opener). The first-team offense has produced three touchdowns in three possessions in the first two games.

Mike Tomlin's teams have been stellar in the preseason.

All accounts out of camp are that Pickett looks miles better than he did this time last year as a rookie. Pickett, the only QB chosen in Round 1 of the 2022 draft, drastically improved down the stretch last regular season as well. The former University of Pittsburgh star is +5000 to win NFL MVP – which only Terry Bradshaw (1978) has won in franchise history.

It is expected that many starters on both sides will start, including Pickett and fellow-second year QB Desmond Ridder, a 2022 third-round pick by Atlanta.

"First-team All-Pros all and 30-year-old corners I know more about, and so it's not about the guys oftentimes that I choose not to play, it's about the opportunity for others," Tomlin said this week about which guys would likely play or who would not in referencing players such as defensive lineman Cam Heyward, linebacker T.J. Watt, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and cornerback Patrick Peterson. NFL rosters must be trimmed to 53 players by Aug. 29.

The regular-season job is Ridder’s, but the #DirtyBirds have been rumored to be very interested in a trade for 49ers QB Trey Lance, who now is third team on San Francisco and likely on his way out. The Niners traded up to No. 3 overall in the 2021 draft to take Lance. The Falcons might have grabbed him at No. 4 overall if not. Instead, they took tight end Kyle Pitts. Atlanta is 1-0-1 this preseason and 3-4-1 overall in exhibition games under third-year coach Arthur Smith.

The total is set at 38.5 points. Since 2004 in the preseason with totals of 38 or more points, the under is 250-204-6 (55%).

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