Pittsburgh @ Buffalo
Buffalo -10 -103 over Pittsburgh

Posted at 10:30 AM EST. Odds subject to change.

Pinnacle -10 -103 3BET365 -10 -105 Sportsinteraction -10 -105  888Sport -10 -105

Buffalo -10 -103 over Pittsburgh

4:30 PM EST. We get why the Bills are so heavily favored and we’re sure you do, too, since Orchard Park and the raucous fans of “Bills’ Mafia” hardly creates a hospitable environment for a road team, even if it’s against the savvy and resilient Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite some of their clunky performances, the Bills have also won 6 of their last 7 games and own a +8.9 point differential during that stretch. This is also the same Buffalo team that destroyed the Cowboys 31-10 at home.

The biggest news entering this contest is that TJ Watt, who’s led the NFL in sacks for three years in a row, will not play. The star defensive end is known for making game-changing plays in pivotal moments, a true x-factor for the black and yellow when they’ve needed it most. They’ll be without his services today and that’s a major concern for the Pittsburgh defense. Last year we saw considerable drops in their defensive efficacy without Watt. It wouldn’t be surprising to see that decline again, but the Steelers have new talent, like rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr., who can elevate their level of play, and this game is set up for a slugfest between two hard-nosed defensive coaches. Mike Tomlin and his team aren’t afraid of such atmospheres.

Why will it be a slugfest? Well the weather will demand it. Western New York will be well-below freezing and windy this afternoon and that will likely force both offenses to rely on their rushing attack. Of course Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense is equipped for these scenarios, since the enigmatic Allen can either blow by or truck through defenders with his legs when he needs to. On the other hand, the Steelers’ rushing attack has stacked up 470 yards in the last three games, and it certainly seems like new starting QB Mason Rudolph is a stabilizer for his team. Discounting last week’s game in the rain and muck at Baltimore, the Rudolph-led offense produced 865 yards in two prior contests, against two squads fighting for a playoff berth. He hasn’t thrown a single INT in 3 games, either, and he’s completing 74.3% of his passes. Some of those marks are bound to regress this weekend, we don't rate Rudolph as anywhere close to a top tier QB, but it’s fair to say that Steeler-nation and Rudolph’s colleagues have faith in the six-year veteran.

As much as we see avenues for the Steelers to keep this game close, we can’t ignore how prolific the Bills can play at home. Buffalo’s home/road splits clearly show they hit a different level at Orchard Park. Their points and yards go up, and their opponent’s points and yards go down. And perhaps most importantly, Josh Allen’s INT-rate drops from 3.6% to 2.5% in front of his fans. His TD-rate? You guessed it, 6.5% at home, 3.6% away. The Bills’ recent run has given them confidence and momentum, and as steady as Rudolph and the Steelers’ offense has been, their one-dimensional approach will be tough to sustain for four quarters in those elements. We’re not as worried about Buffalo. Unlike choke-artists like the Cowboys last night, Sean McDermott's team has shown they can rise to the occasion when they need to. Pivotal wins against KC, Dallas, and Miami have well-prepared Allen and his colleagues for another high-pressure battle. 10 points is a lot of points in an NFL playoff game but Pittsburgh is very fortunate to be here. Underdogs have survived and surprised us this week because of pristine QB play and explosive offense, two things we can't assert about the visiting team.



Our Pick

Buffalo -10 -103 (Risking 2.06 units - To Win: 2.00)