Steelers vs. Bills odds, props, predictions: AFC Wild Card matchup features two inconsistent offenses

Folks like to say that all teams are 0-0 now that the playoffs have begun, but AFC wild card betting strategies can be effectively honed when analyzing this Sunday’s matchup when the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-7) pay a visit to the Buffalo Bills (11-6).

The spread is in favor of the Bills, and OVER/UNDER rests at . It seemed unlikely that Buffalo would end the regular season as AFC East champions when their record was 6-6 and the Miami Dolphins looked like a top-tier team, but Buffalo ran off a five-game win streak capped by the 21-14 Week 17 win over the Phins that knocked Miami from the 2-seed all the way down to the 6 and clinched the division.

The Steelers faced a similar road fraught with adversity and an inability to score more than 26 points in a game until head coach Mike Tomlin turned the keys over to QB Mason Rudolph. The Black and Yellow won their final three games in a row and earned the 7-seed as a result of their improved offensive production and a little bit of help from their friends, who in this case would be the floundering Jacksonville Jaguars and other teams who faded hard down the stretch.

This game’s 10-point spread is the largest of any game in Wild Card Weekend. Let’s take a look at how this might shake out and what Wild Card Weekend bets seem promising.

Steelers vs. Bills odds: Point spread, moneyline, total

Here are the latest Steelers vs. Bills point spreads, totals and moneylines on odds boards at top-rated sportsbooks.

More wild card weekend: Steelers vs. Bills odds | Browns vs. Texans odds | Packers vs. Cowboys odds | Rams vs. Lions odds | Eagles vs. Buccaneers odds

Steelers betting news: Rudolph saves Pittsburgh’s offense and season 

The Steelers SU and ATS records are one and the same at 10-7 this season. Unfortunately, 10-7 was also the kind of score the Steelers needed to win games by during Weeks 1-15. Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky took turns under center due to injuries and poor play, but neither was able to guide the offense to a modern-era NFL level of production. The Steelers have won and covered their last three games, and their deep-threat weapons Diontae Johnson and George Pickens are scoring long TDs regularly.

The Steelers offense’s two highest-scoring weeks this season occurred in Weeks 16 and 17, both started by Mason Rudolph. Rudolph shouldn’t be blamed in any way for leading Pittsburgh into wild card position last week in cold and rainy Baltimore, a game they won 17-10. It’s been night and day since the QB switch was made, and bettors have to feel like Pittsburgh has a way better chance of not being blown out in Buffalo than they’d have with any other signal caller in the game.

Look for Pittsburgh to score somewhere south of the 27 PPG they’ve averaged in games Rudolph has started, but enough to hang in the game. They’re likely to ride RB Najee Harris in true playoff football fashion due to two reasons in equal measure: Buffalo’s up and down performance against the rush (they’re ranked 15th against the run this season), and to limit the amount of time Josh Allen et al. have on the field against their defense, which will be without the irreplaceable TJ Watt after his knee injury last week vs. the Ravens.

Bills betting news: Buffalo faring a lot better SU than ATS and vs. OVER/UNDER

The Bills 11-6 record is more pleasing to the eye than their 7-9-1 ATS record or their 6-11 mark against the O/U. Their fourth-ranked offense has averaged 374.5 YPG this season, but that hasn’t translated into the kind of dough bettors would imagine the second-best team in the AFC in the regular season would amass in bet types other than SU. It’s hard to understand how Buffalo has won five games by more than 10 points this year but still racked up a losing ATS record.

The Bills Week 17 win over Miami was a microcosm of their season. During that game Josh Allen went 30-of-38 for 359 yards with two TDs and two INTs, while also rushing 15 times for 67 yards. You’d think Buffalo would have blown the doors off the place with a QB stat line like that, but they only scored 21 (and 7 were off Deonte Harty’s 96-yard punt return TD).

Buffalo has all the bells and whistles on offense, but they’ve confoundingly arrived at ways to not score as much as it seems like they should on paper. Part of that has to do with Josh Allen’s penchant for turnovers. Other parts won’t show up stats-wise for those betting this game, like the impact that Gave Davis’ PCL injury and being ruled out will have. Davis’ receiving stats are well below where most thought they’d be, but the role he plays blocking on running plays is perhaps underappreciated. We’ll see on Sunday just how much Buffalos RBs James Cook, Latavius Murray (and maybe some “Playoff Lenny” Fournette) will miss him.

Steelers vs. Bills props

Here is a sampling of Steelers vs. Bills props for bettors to consider:

Steelers vs. Bills player props

Some analysis as sportsbooks post player props for this contest:

Diontae Johnson OVER receptions: Now everyone understands why Johnson and George Pickens were so mad all season. Now that they have a QB who can hit them more than he misses them when they’re open, look for this Steelers WR to surpass the receptions total this week in Buffalo.

James Cook OVER rushing yards: TJ Watt’s absence will go a long way towards Buffalo’s running game doing well. Consider taking the Bills’ lead back for the over on rushing yards, and if you too feel like a Leonard Fournette anytime TD might be in the script because we’re in the postseason and that’s what he does, go for that too!

Steelers vs. Bills prediction

Picking the Steelers has more to do with the size of the spread than anything else here. Ten points is a lot, and with Pittsburgh suddenly being able to move the ball it stands to reason that this game might run a bit closer than that. This is even more likely to happen if Josh Allen’s ongoing turnover issues extend into Wild Card Weekend.

Pick: Steelers

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