- The Buffalo Bills clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football (8:20pm ET, Dec. 15)
- The Steelers are 1-point home favorites, but the Bills are drawing 80% of the tickets
- Pittsburgh has allowed 17 or fewer points in three straight games – read below for our betting prediction
If you like offense Sunday Night Football in Week 15 might not be for you. The 9-4 Buffalo Bills visit the 8-5 Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that features one of the lowest totals of the season. The over/under is currently set at just 36.5, and the Steelers are a 1-point home favorite.
Bills vs Steelers Odds & Betting Handle
|Buffalo Bills||+1.0 (-115)||66.0%|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||-1.0 (-105)||34.0%|
All odds taken Dec. 14
Buffalo is drawing 66% of the betting handle and a whopping 80% of the wagers thus far. Naturally, the pro’s are fading all the public Bills love, with 57% of the sharp money on Pittsburgh. The Steelers have won seven of their last eight, and are 4-1 ATS in their last five.
Their defense has been one of the best in the league since the acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick, and should be able to follow a similar blueprint to previous elite defenses that have stymied Josh Allen.
The Steel Curtain is Back
Pittsburgh leads the NFL in sacks and takeaways. They generate pressure at the league’s highest rate, and if there’s one way to slow down Josh Allen, it’s to pressure him like crazy. Allen’s three worst games of the season have been against the Patriots, Eagles and Ravens, three teams that excel at getting after the quarterback. Last week versus Baltimore, he completed just 43.6% of his passes, and had a paltry 3.7 yards per attempt.
STRIP SACK @man_dammn‼️
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 8, 2019
14 of the 33 sacks Allen has taken have come against those three elite defenses, and those three games are the only ones in which he’s failed to record a completion percentage above 50%. The Bills feature an average pass blocking unit and will be hard pressed to contain all the studs on the Steelers defensive line.
The @Steelers lead the NFL in sacks, QB hits & takeaways in 2019
Since the 1970 merger, only 1 team has led the NFL outright in both sacks & takeaways for a full, non-strike-shortened season
That team? The 1974 Steelers — the original Steel Curtain & Super Bowl IX champions pic.twitter.com/Dr4qkMNQEX
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 11, 2019
Last week, they sacked Kyler Murray five times, forced three turnovers, and returned a punt for a touchdown. The superb play on that side of the ball has taken the pressure off Devlin “Duck” Hodges, who has been perfectly adequate in his three starts and is fresh off his best game of the season.
It isn’t Pretty, but it’s Effective
Hodges completed 84% of his passes in Week 14 versus Arizona, for 152 yards and touchdown. He added 34 yards rushing and improved to 3-0 as the Steelers starter, despite the team not scoring more than 24 points in any of his outings. Pittsburgh as a team ran for 140 yards and will get a big boost from the return of running back James Conner.
On the bright side, it seems that James Conner will be back Sunday
Contrary to *popular* belief, that’s bigtime for the offense
Having JC along with Snell, Samuels, and co. will only help. Bills don’t give up much through the air so getting the run game going will be essential
— Across The Bridge (@ATBPGH) December 13, 2019
Conner has missed five of the last six games, and will bring some much needed stability to the Pittsburgh attack. It’s been a disappointing season for the running back, but he has flashed at times, and should be able to take advantage of a mediocre Bills run defense. Buffalo allows 105.3 rushing yards per game and a generous 4.56 yards per carry.
Stick with the Steelers on Home Turf
This is an incredibly tough spot for the Bills. On the road, in primetime, at the one of the toughest venues in football would be daunting for any team. Buffalo’s struggles against strong defenses is concerning, especially since no team is playing better defense at the moment than the Steelers.
Pittsburgh has allowed 17 or fewer points in three straight, and in six of their past eight. This is going to be an ugly, low scoring affair, but the sharps are on the Steelers, and you should be too.
Pick: Steelers -1 (-105)
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