Thursday Night Football odds, line: Panthers vs. Steelers picks and predictions from dialed-in expert on 32-12 run

The AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers aim for their fifth straight win when they host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football. Kickoff from Heinz Field is set for 8:20 p.m. ET. Pittsburgh (5-2-1) has won four in a row by an average of 13.3 points, with James Conner rushing for at least 100 yards in each as the team awaits word on Le’Veon Bell. The Panthers (6-2) enter on a three-game streak of their own, with quarterback Cam Newton enjoying a career resurgence. Pittsburgh is a 3.5-point home favorite in the latest Panthers vs. Steelers odds, down from an open of four. The Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 51.5, up from an opener of 50. Before you make any Panthers vs. Steelers picks, see what SportsLine’s Adam Silverstein has to say.

Nobody knows the NFL in general, or the Steelers in particular, like Silverstein. CBS Sports’ deputy managing editor, Silverstein is a football guru who demonstrates his encyclopedic knowledge with every pick he makes. 

Last week, Silverstein rode the Steelers as short underdogs at Baltimore. The result: Pittsburgh 23, Baltimore 16 — another easy cash. That made Silverstein 4-0 in his past four spread picks involving Pittsburgh, plus a stunning 32-12 in his past 44 NFL picks overall. Anyone who has followed him is way, way up.

“Not only is this a revenge game in an awesome rivalry for Pittsburgh, these teams are trending in opposite directions,” Silverstein told SportsLine members last Sunday. “Baltimore’s 27th-ranked offense is not going to be improved with its starting tackles out for the game and Big Ben is back throwing the rock at will. James Conner might struggle to get going early, but he should be able to wear the Ravens down.” It played out exactly as Silverstein predicted. 

Now, Silverstein has locked in another strong against the spread pick involving the Steelers. He’s only sharing it over at SportsLine. 

Silverstein knows Pittsburgh hasn’t missed a beat without Bell, as Conner has pounded defenses for 4.7 yards per carry while rushing for an AFC-high 706 yards with 10 touchdowns. The Steelers rank ninth in scoring (29.4) and fourth in total yards (415.3). They’re blessed with a balanced attack featuring quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing to wide receivers Antonio Brown (9 TDs) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (53 catches, 672 yards). 

Pittsburgh has tightened up defensively, too, allowing only 18 points per game during its winning streak. The Steelers held quarterback Joe Flacco to 5.7 yards per attempt, and the Ravens only mustered 3.8 yards per carry, in last week’s rivalry win.

But just because the Steelers appear to have put it all together doesn’t mean they cover against the equally hot Panthers.

Carolina’s current three-game tear includes victories over the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles and a 36-21 demolition of the Ravens — the same team Pittsburgh beat by a touchdown last week. The Panthers’ 42-28 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday marked the seventh straight game that quarterback Cam Newton has thrown for at least two touchdowns. He has accounted for 19 TDs against four turnovers in a season reminiscent of his 2015 MVP campaign. 

Christian McCaffrey (4.6 ypc, five scores) keys a ground attack that is gashing opponents for 143.9 yards per game, second best in the NFL. 

We can tell you Silverstein is leaning under, but his stronger play is against the spread. He has identified a huge x-factor that has him all over one side. He’s only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine.

Who wins Panthers vs. Steelers? And what huge x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see Silverstein’s strong point-spread pick, all from the Steelers expert who has nailed four straight Pittsburgh picks as part of a 32-12 NFL heater.

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