Find line reports, best bets, and subscribe to push notifications in the Betting News section.
Nope, your eyes don't deceive you. The 8-8 Steelers - who weren't eliminated from the playoffs until the final week of the regular season - owned football's least efficient offensive unit in 2019. Injuries to key players obviously didn't help, but there weren't any excuses from what materialized.
Pittsburgh posted a league-worst minus-33.6% weighted offense, a metric which puts an emphasis on meaningful games later in the season. The second-worst offense? The Washington Redskins, at minus-20.6%.
It was that bad.
It was quite the contrary on the other side of the ball, though. The Steelers owned the No. 3 DVOA defense, behind only the Patriots and the 49ers. That's a start, but if Pittsburgh is to contend in the AFC this coming season, it'll need the offense to catch up.
As we profile the club's 2020 outlook, here are the best player props to consider.
Smith-Schuster regressed significantly last season following a breakout 2018 campaign. A year after registering 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven scores, the Steelers' No. 1 receiver settled for a line of 42-553-3 over just 12 games in 2019.
Smith-Schuster was poised for another lofty season - until quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending injury early in the year. As you can see, there's a stark contrast between Smith-Schuster's 2018 output with Roethlisberger and his production from last season when Devlin "Duck" Hodges and Mason Rudolph were under center.
|Category||Rank Among WRs|
|Catchable Target Rate||23|
|Category||Rank Among WRs|
|Catchable Target Rate||85|
In the span of a year, Smith-Schuster went from a top-five wide receiver to seemingly irrelevant. But 2019 was undoubtedly an anomaly, not the trend. There aren't many NFL receivers who can fluke their way to a 1,400-plus-yard season.
Last season's offensive blueprint also did the USC product no favors. Without much of an aerial attack behind Rudolph and Hodges, Pittsburgh ranked 23rd in pass play percentage - the team's lowest such mark since 2010.
With Roethlisberger back in the fold and the Steelers facing one of the easiest schedules in the league, Smith-Schuster's totals this season should be much closer to 2018's than to last year's.
Roethlisberger's receiving corps in 2020 looks a little different than the supporting cast that helped him rack up career highs in both passing yards (5,129) and touchdown passes (34) in 2018. Three of Roethlisberger's top six targets from two years ago are gone, including Antonio Brown. But there is a ton of upside within the current group of pass-catchers.
Not only is Smith-Schuster a bounce-back candidate, but wide receivers Diontae Johnson and James Washington should also take on more prominent roles. Pittsburgh's receiving corps combined to drop 20 balls last year, but that number should decrease with Roethlisberger back in the fray.
This number could be a cakewalk for the veteran gunslinger. He's shattered this total in four of his last six full seasons, and his team's slate of opponents in 2020 is ideal: Half of Pittsburgh's opponents boast secondaries that ranked No. 20 or worse in DVOA pass defense last year.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.