Sunday Night Football Picks And Predictions: Steelers at Bills

Written By Esten McLaren on December 10, 2020

The Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1) visit the Buffalo Bills (9-3) on Sunday Night Football in Week 14. The biggest game of the NFL season to date sees two division leaders also jockey for position atop the AFC and battle for the lone first-round bye. Below, we’ll look at the betting odds at the top US sportsbooks and make our picks for the moneyline, spread, and over/under as the Bills take on the Steelers. Kickoff will be at 8:20 p.m. ET at Bills Stadium.

Both teams played Monday of Week 13 in a COVID-19-induced doubleheader. The Steelers suffered their first defeat of the season in a 23-17 loss at home to the Washington Football Team. The Bills went on the road to beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-24. Buffalo’s among the AFC teams now eyeing the top spot in the conference and enters still first in the AFC East ahead of the Miami Dolphins. Pittsburgh is tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the No. 1 seed but suddenly has to watch for the Cleveland Browns in the race for the AFC North crown.

The Bills are 2-point favorites on home field in Week 14 after the Steelers opened as 2.5-point favorites prior to the results of Week 13. Betting advice will be offered as either a “pick” or a “lean” on each of the three bet types. Picks are made with a high degree of confidence in the matchup and are recommended at the listed odds. Leans are more hesitant plays and may be advised in anticipation of the lines moving in a certain direction. My Sunday Night Football Betting Preview at TheLines dives deeper into the Steelers-Bills matchup to help you prepare for your Week 14 betting picks.

Steelers at Bills odds

Steelers at Bills picks: Moneyline

Sunday Night Football is projected to be one of the most tightly-contested games of Week 14. The Bills enter as slight favorites with a 5-1 home record and are coming off back-to-back wins. The Steelers remain a perfect 5-0 on the road.

Pittsburgh shares the third-best odds to win Super Bowl LV with the Green Bay Packers at +800 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Buffalo is seventh by the team futures odds at +1700. The Steelers still occupy pole position in the AFC while the Bills come into Week 14 in the third seed.

Bills QB Josh Allen ranks third by the MVP odds at DraftKings at +1400; Roethlisberger is the fifth favorite at +5000. Allen, the No. 7 pick of the 2018 draft, is having a breakout season with 3,403 yards and 26 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He has added 322 rushing yards and six scores on the ground with another as a receiver. Roethlisberger leads the league in pass attempts (324) and completions (484) for a 66.9 completion percentage and 3,105 yards. He has 27 TDs against seven interceptions.

The most decisive advantage goes to the Steelers defense. Pittsburgh leads the league in points allowed per game (17.6), has a league-high 44 sacks, ranks third in yards allowed per play (4.9), and shares the league’s best turnover differential at plus-11. Buffalo allows 25.5 PPG and 5.8 YPP, has a modest 30 sacks, and is plus-2 in turnover differential.

I like the Steelers as slight underdogs for just the third time this season. Take the value with the visitors in what should be a low-scoring game. The Steelers are one of the few teams not at a disadvantage playing in Buffalo on a Sunday night in mid-December, especially with Bills Mafia watching from home.

The pick: Steelers (+118 or better)

Steelers at Bills picks: Against the spread

The Steelers have been underdogs just twice this season and they won both of those games outright. They were spotted one point in a 27-24 road win over the then-undefeated Tennessee Titans in Week 7 and were spotted four points by the Baltimore Ravens the following week in a 28-24 road win. They’ve been favored by 5.5 to 14 points in each of their last five games but went just 2-3 ATS in those outings.

The Bills are favored for the ninth team this season and are 4-4 ATS when laying points. They’ve covered in four straight games but were underdogs in three of the four. They’re 4-2 ATS at home this season, but again, that advantage will be largely negated without a home crowd and against a Steelers team well accustomed to playing on cold December nights.

Liking the Steelers to win outright at plus-money, we have to back the visitors on the spread with up to 2.5 points of insurance in the event of a loss. We expect this to be a low-scoring, defensive battle, so it’s likely to be a narrow margin of victory for whichever side comes out on top.

The pick: Steelers (+2 or better)

Steelers at Bills picks: Over/Under (total)

The Bills and Steelers have met just once in head coach Sean McDermott’s tenure in Buffalo. He guided his team to a 17-10 victory in Week 15 of last season. While not a whole lot can be gleaned from that game with the Steelers starting third-string QB Devlin Hodges, the score should be noted as McDermott and Steelers HC Mike Tomlin clash for the second time in 365 days.

The Steelers are best in show in many key defensive metrics. They lead the NFC in Football Outsiders’ total DVOA and pass defense DVOA, are No. 1 in pressure rate and ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate, and have Pro Football Focus’ No. 1-graded defense against both the pass and rush. Buffalo isn’t as strong defensively, but still ranks second in Pass Rush Win Rate and should add to a middling season total of 30 sacks against a Steelers’ offensive line ranked 30th in Pass Block Win Rate.

Both teams are top eight in time of possession and will focus on controlling the clock. RB James Conner returns from the Reserve/COVID-19 list for Pittsburgh to bolster a struggling rushing attack. The projected total of 46.5 is a middling number for Week 14. The Under is my favorite play of the week, but wait it out with the line likely to rise through the weekend in a clash of high-profile AFC fan favorites.

The lean: Under (46.5 or better)

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Esten McLaren

Esten grew up on a golf course and made the switch from real-life trunk slammer to the daily fantasy realm as soon as the game was launched. He's been betting golf regularly for the better part of the last 10 years, most memorably winning big on Rory McIlroy's 2014 Open title, but a trip to Carnoustie for the 2018 Open and a walk around St. Andrews share the honor for best golf highlight. He has written about all major sports at FNTSY Sports Network, theScore, and SportsBookWire.

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