The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a terrible wager in recent years when opening the season as an underdog on the betting lines. Ben Roethlisberger and company will be getting points from the New England Patriots on Thursday night when those teams kick off the 2015 NFL campaign at Gillette Stadium.

The Steelers are just 1-7 against the spread in their last eight season-opening games as underdogs at the sportsbooks, and they head up to New England as a 7.5-point underdog to face Tom Brady and company in primetime on Thursday.

Of course, that line was smaller a couple of weeks ago, when it looked like Brady would miss the game due to suspension. However, with the quarterback's punishment lifted by the courts the Steelers now find themselves getting over a touchdown for Thursday night's opener.

And while Brady avoided suspension, a pair of key Steelers players weren't as fortunate as running back Le'Veon Bell is out until Week 3 and wide receiver Martavis Bryant is out until Week 5. Pittsburgh will also be playing without center Maurkice Pouncey on Thursday night, as he'll be out until at least Week 9 of the season with a broken ankle.

That could stifle the Steelers' offensive attack on Thursday, but Pittsburgh does have a strong OVER trend attached to them heading into the contest. The total has gone OVER in each of the Steelers' last four season-opening games on the road, and in six of the team's last eight road games in the month of September.

As well, six of the last eight games between the Patriots and the Steelers have produced an OVER result at the sportsbooks, and the OVER is also 5-0 in New England's last five regular-season games against teams from the AFC North. Thursday's total sits at 52.5 points.

Overall the Steelers are 9-3 straight up in their last dozen Week 1 contests, while the Patriots are riding a streak of seven straight Week 1 SU home victories dating back over a decade. New England has also lost just once in its last 14 regular-season games as a home favorite.


*Odds as of September 10