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49ers vs Steelers Predictions & Best Bets

Last Updated: Sep 8, 2023

The San Francisco 49ers are considered a Super Bowl contender and open their 2023 regular season versus an increasingly younger Pittsburgh Steelers squad that some feel could be a sleeper team in the AFC.

San Francisco plans on banking its offensive fortunes on last season’s surprise breakout star Brock Purdy, who went from seventh-round pick to NFC Championship Game starter before an elbow injury that eventually required surgery felled him.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is counting on a big Year 2 leap from 2022 first-round selection Kenny Pickett, who showed growth over his 12-game starting tenure and looked like a much more polished quarterback this summer.

49ers vs Steelers Odds

NFL odds used for this San Francisco vs Pittsburgh preview were found at FanDuel Sportsbook and are current as of Friday, Aug. 18 at ET.

  • Moneyline: 49ers (-152) • Steelers (+128)
  • Spread: 49ers -3 (-105) • Steelers +3 (-115)
  • Total Points: Over 40.5 (-115) • Under 40.5 (-105)
  • Implied Score: 49ers 21.75, Steelers 18.75

49ers vs Steelers Predictions

Score Pick: Steelers 23, 49ers 20

Two years ago, the Steelers hosted the Bills, already considered one of the top teams in the AFC, for a season-opening clash.

Although it was largely outperformed on the stat sheet, Pittsburgh squeezed out a 23-16 win with some solid defense and mistake-free play from Ben Roethlisberger.

Fast forward to 2023, and I envision a similarly close season-opening upset victory for Mike Tomlin’s squad against a seemingly superior opponent.

This Steelers team is a more formidable squad on offense, with Pickett looking very improved, Najee Harris, who was making his NFL debut in the aforementioned game, now a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, and George Pickens looking like an alpha No. 1 wideout in the making.

Factor in talented complementary options such as Jaylen Warren and Pat Freiermuth, and Pittsburgh’s attack figures to give plenty of teams trouble this season, even one with as talented a defense as San Francisco.

On that note, that side of the ball received a sizable boost in outlook for the opener with the signing of Nick Bosa, their most explosive component, on Sept. 6. The standout edge rusher and reigning Defensive Player of the Year has been confirmed as available for Week 1, although the number of snaps he logs remains to be seen.

Factor in home-field advantage and the cross-country trip for the visitors, and I give the Steelers a shot at the upset victory.

49ers vs Steelers Best Bets & Props

Steelers +3 (-115)

FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit(s)

Going largely on the factors outlined in my game prediction, the Steelers will naturally cash this +3 number. Even if my prediction of an upset win were to fall through, I could see Pittsburgh keeping any defeat to a field goal or less.

One additional angle to consider is that Purdy remains a relatively inexperienced quarterback despite his success last season with a modest 170 regular-season pass attempts under his belt.

The Steelers’ aggressive defensive scheme, which netted 40 sacks and 20 interceptions last season, could certainly cause him trouble and prompt some short-circuited drives.

As such, I’m taking the Steelers +3 as my NFL bet of the day.

Steelers (+128)

FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit(s)

This moneyline bet naturally flows from my game prediction.

A year ago, the Steelers were a highly competitive home team that finished with a 4-4 mark. However, those four losses came by a total of just 16 points. Three of them – to the Patriots, Jets and Ravens – were by four points or fewer.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh upended the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers for one of their four home wins and lost to Joe Burrow and the Bengals by only seven.

That all fuels my belief in an upset being possible, considering this Steelers team is a more talented and seasoned bunch than last season’s.

Over 40.5 (-115)

FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit(s)

This total is especially low when considering some offensive talent on either side.

In addition to the names already cited on the Steelers’ side, the 49ers will arrive with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle serving as Purdy’s primary targets.

The season’s opening game is arguably when teams are at their healthiest all season – it typically just goes downhill from that point forward. Legs are also fresh, and with the explosive pieces on each team, that has particular significance in this matchup.

Including the postseason, the Over hit in 10 of the 49ers’ 20 games last season despite San Fran’s stellar defense. While the sum of both team’s home/road points per game opponent averages from last season fall under this total, the Niners surrendered 19.4 points per road contest while the Steelers yielded 18.3 per home tilt. This is still a modest total that can be eclipsed given the offensive talent on the field.

49ers vs Steelers Same Game Parlay

San Francisco vs Pittsburgh SGP (+220)

FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit(s)

  • Steelers +3 (-115)
  • Over 40.5 points (-115)

Given the bets cited above, I favor pairing the two listed above for a same-game parlay at a very appealing price.

As noted, the Steelers should be able to remain competitive in front of the home crowd after giving several quality teams trouble at Heinz a season ago with a more inexperienced Pickett at the helm.

Then, the two offenses should be able to combine for at least 41 points for reasons already cited. Additionally, it’s worth noting the two teams’ 2022 points-per-game averages in the home/road splits that apply in Week 1 add up to 42.7 points.

Author

Juan Carlos Blanco

Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports since 1997 and actively writing about the fantasy sports and sports betting industries since 2015 for multiple websites. He has covered a wide variety of professional sports leagues, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, CFL, Arena Football League, Alliance of American Football, XFL, NPB and KBO. He was the recipient of the FSWA's 2016 Newcomer of the Year award for his work with RotoWire.

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