Playoff seeding remains a major theme of Sunday Night Football in Week 15 as the Buffalo Bills (9-4) visit the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at Heinz Field. The two teams enter play this week in the fifth and sixth AFC playoff seeds, respectively. Here, we shop between DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook for the best odds and lines for the Bills and Steelers on the moneyline, spread and over/under; we’ll also look at the game’s best prop bets from the two books. Actionable betting advice will be provided as either a “pick” or a “lean”. Picks are advised based on matchup advantages and a perceived edge over one of the two sportsbooks based on the odds at the time of publishing. Leans are for plays more dependent on certain injuries, or they may require bettors to monitor the lines through the week in wait of more profitable odds.
The Bills are looking to return to the postseason for the second team in three years after having a 17-year drought snapped in 2017. They’ve already improved tremendously on last year’s 6-10 finish. The Steelers hope to avoid their first back-to-back playoff absence since the 2012-2013 seasons. They went 9-6-1 last season and have had to deal with a plethora of injuries and the departure of WR Antonio Brown. Both head coaches Sean McDermott (Bills) and Mike Tomlin (Steelers) are in the running for Coach of the Year.
While researching for your Bills at Steelers picks, be sure to check out my Sunday Night Football Preview at TheLines. It breaks down the statistical and betting trends of both teams and highlights the key on-field matchups.
Bills at Steelers picks: Moneyline
The Steelers come into Week 15 on a three-game winning streak and with a 5-2 home record. The Bills are 5-1 on the road, but they lost 24-17 at home against the Baltimore Ravens last week. Third-string, undrafted rookie QB Devlin Hodges has replaced an ineffective Mason Rudolph to seemingly save the Steelers’ season. He has led his team to a win at home (vs. Cleveland Browns) and on the road (at Arizona Cardinals) over the last two weeks. Both victories came by at least six points.
Pittsburgh is 3-1 as a home favorite this season with those wins coming by an average of 9.2 points; however, each of those victories was with Rudolph under center. Buffalo is 3-1 as a road underdog, winning those games outright by an average of four points. Both teams are 6-3 against AFC opponents. The Bills are 3-0 straight up following a loss, winning by an average of 13 points per game. The Steelers are trying to win four in a row for the second time this season after dropping their first three games.
The Bills average 21.1 PPG on offense to the Steelers’ 19.9. They gain nearly 52 more yards of total offense per game, while in possession of the league’s fifth-ranked rushing attack. The Steelers are in the bottom third of the league in both passing (195.5, 31st) and rushing (94.6, 24th) yards per game. Defensively, the Bills (16.3) and Steelers (18.6) rank second and sixth, respectively, in points allowed per game. They’re third and fifth, respectively, in total yards of offense allowed per game.
I like Buffalo to win this one outright as a road dog. The Steelers are still dealing with injuries to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), TE Vance McDonald (concussion), and RBs James Conner (shoulder) and Jaylen Samuels (groin). The Bills are relatively healthy for this point of the season and have been one of the league’s best road teams as they roll into Pittsburgh.
The Pick: Bills +114 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Bills at Steelers picks: Against the spread
Liking the Bills to win this game outright at plus-money, there isn’t much sense in playing the less profitable -110 odds at both FanDuel and DraftKings for them to cover a spread of just +2. Buffalo is 8-4-1 against the spread on the year and covers by an average of 3.5 points per game. They had gone 4-0-1 ATS over a five-game stretch before losing by seven points as a 6.5-point home underdog against the Ravens. They haven’t lost by a margin smaller than three points all year.
The Steelers are 9-4 ATS on the season but cover by an average of just 1.2 PPG. They’re 5-1 ATS in their last six games against teams with a winning record and 5-1 ATS in their last six home games. The Bills are 1-5 ATS in the last six head-to-head meetings, but those date back to 2001. QBs Josh Allen and Hodges were both just four years old.
The play right now is to avoid the spread for this game, but with a lean to the Bills if the line somehow grows to favor the Steelers by 3 or 3.5 points.
The Lean: Bills +2 (-110 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
Bills at Steelers picks: Over/Under
The projected total of 36 (DraftKings) or 36.5 (FanDuel) is the lowest on the Week 15 slate. The books clearly anticipate a defensive battle, and the two teams have both hit the Under in 10 of their 13 games. The Bills fall 4.2 PPG shy of the projections, and the Steelers fall 4.7 points below the number on average. Buffalo has hit three straight Unders and Pittsburgh hit the Under in each of its last five games. This is just the third time this season the Steelers have had a projection below 40 points. They went 1-1 against the first two projections. The Bills have had four projections below 40 this season, and they went 1-3 against those lines.
The Steelers are expected to get at least a couple of reinforcements on offense this week and this projection is too low while following the defensive-battle narrative. Take the Over, and expect it to hit fairly early in the fourth quarter.
The Lean: OVER 36 (-110 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
Sunday Night Football best bet
Away Team Score First and Win – Including Overtime: Yes (+240 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
With both defenses well-matched as top-of-the-league units, look to the biggest positional advantage in this game. Allen, a sophomore, has taken big strides this season and has thrown for 17 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. He has added eight scores on the ground. Hodges has just four touchdown passes against two interceptions.
Hodges must now also handle the pressure of the Steelers’ postseason bid in front of the hometown crowd. Allen and the Bills are plenty familiar with playing in a hostile environment, and if the Steelers don’t score early, Hodges could quickly find himself on the hot seat in what’s nearly a must-win game.