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First Call: Patriots make secondary moves, Pittsburgh sports betting begins, Rust who? | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Patriots make secondary moves, Pittsburgh sports betting begins, Rust who?

Tim Benz
| Thursday, December 13, 2018 6:39 a.m.
RiversCasino
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Rivers Casino on Pittsburgh's North Shore.

In “First Call” on Thursday, the Patriots are shifting some things around in their secondary. You can start betting on sports in Pittsburgh today. Bryan Rust gets overshadowed.


New England’s secondary in flux, too?

It’s believed that the Pittsburgh Steelers could shift some things in their secondary. Artie Burns may see the field again this Sunday against New England. And Cameron Sutton may force Hilton to the bench for the slot corner role.

According to Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com, the Patriots are potentially going to tinker with some new secondary combinations, too. The move would be an attempt to fend off the Steelers wide receiver tandem of Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

“It’s likely double one player with safety help and then single the other, and it could really go either way. It is worth noting Smith-Schuster has begun to line up more on the outside of late, which leads us to believe perhaps rookie JC Jackson may draw that assignment with help and then Stephon Gilmore and his $65 million contract will get Brown.

Jackson’s playing time has increased dramatically the past two weeks. He received 89 percent of the snaps against the Vikings and then 79 percent last week in Miami. Jackson replaced Jason McCourty as the No. 2 corner when McCourty allowed three catches on three targets for 71 yards and a touchdown to Kenny Stills against the Dolphins.”

Last year in the loss to the Patriots, Brown hurt his calf early in the game after just two catches. Smith-Schuster had 114 yards. Most of those yards came on a 69-yard catch late in the fourth quarter.

That play set up … well … you know …

Watch it if you need to.


Place your bets!

Rivers Casino is opening its sportsbook today with some limited, introductory hours through Friday.

And just in time for the Steelers-Patriots game? How convenient!

It will be open from 2 p.m. until midnight Thursday.

The sportsbook is cash only, and the average minimum bet is $5. Currently football, hockey, basketball, boxing and soccer are available, but Rivers says “additional sports will be added soon.”

You have to be at least 21 to bet, and the money line, spread, over/under, and parlay options are available.

The Steelers are 1.5-point underdogs to the Patriots in Las Vegas. They’ll probably be 23.5-point favorites on the North Shore, cuz, you know, “they’re due to beat ‘dem Patriots sometime soon, n’at!”


Overshadowed

Bryan Rust had a hat trick for the Penguins on Wednesday.

But that achievement occurred in a 6-3 loss to Chicago. The Blackhawks have the second-lowest point total in hockey.

For as nice as Rust’s hat trick was, it was upstaged by the Blackhawks’ Alex DeBrincat. Check out this goal he scored.

First, there was the receiving of the pass on the backhand. Then, he somehow timed that up while dragging his skate to stay onside, followed by the handsy turnover to the forehand. And then the bar-down finish was filthy.

That was DeBrincat’s 13th goal. It occurred on the league’s worst power play.


I’ll take one

Super 70s Sports is a great follow on Twitter. And they have never been more right about anything than they are about this.

If any of my friends and family are reading this, I’ll gladly take one of these under my tree.


Mr. Miyagi wouldn’t approve

Remember when Antonio Brown did this to Browns punter Spencer Lanning.

Well, Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller says, “Hold my beer.”

The recipient was Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico. Müller got a red card for that. But Bayern Munich advanced anyway via a draw.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TimBenzPGH. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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