Big Ben ruled out; line sees massive shift
The shoulder injury suffered in Monday's game to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has officially left him ruled out this week, prompting a massive shift in the odds for Sunday’s home game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Steelers originally opened with Pittsburgh as 3.5-point favorites with the total set at 46 – the highest total in over a decade for this matchup. The line saw a massive shift by Wednesday morning, where the Ravens were favored by 3 points at most books and the total had plummeted to 41 or 41.5
Las Vegas oddsmaker Pete Korner of the Sports Club sent us a note Wednesday morning saying his service had adjusted the line to account for the news and they’re weren't waiting for the Steelers to officially rule their No. 1 QB out (which they hadn't done yet at that point). He also suggested we could see the total drop even further.
“We're going to assume (Roethlisberger’s) OUT this weekend,” Korner wrote. “Byron Leftwich will be the starting quarterback. Our new sendout will be Baltimore -3 (even), over/under 40.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday at a news conference that the injury is an “SC sprain”. An ESPN report stated
: “the injury is a sternoclavicular dislocation, according to ESPN medical analyst Dr. Michael Kaplan. In this type of injury, the central end of the clavicle separates from the sternum (chestbone). An uncommon injury, it is extremely painful with strong ligament tearing (sprain). The usual treatment for the injury is conservative (no surgery, with rest, sling and rehab). Typically it takes several weeks until a quarterback is able to return to passing accurately and with sufficient velocity.”
The ESPN report went on to say the Steelers staff was told: "proceed with (backup quarterback Byron (Leftwich). It doesn't look like you're going to have Ben this week.”
Leftwich has played in nine games and started none for Pittsburgh over the past five years, though he spent one of those years in Tampa Bay. The Steelers average a half-yard less per play with Big Ben on the sidelines and have a 50-50 TD to INT ratio compared to a 2-1 ratio when he's playing.
Leftwich looked rusty Monday night against the Chiefs when he played almost a full half after Roethlisberger left the game. He completed just 7 passes on 14 attempts for 73 yards and repeatedly overthrew his targets. He managed just one drive that produced points (field goal) and the Steelers scraped out a 16-13 win in OT.