Let’s catch our breath after the afternoon games and take a look at what should be a really entertaining Sunday night game between the Steelers and Bills.
This is a massive test for both teams and will have huge implications for AFC playoff seeding. I’m excited to watch!
It’s pretty straightforward around these parts, let’s get familiar with the teams, some props to consider taking or avoiding, and thoughts on the spread. I’ll be using rankings from PFF for much of my analysis.
With news that Wyatt Teller is expected to be activated from the Covid-list in advance of MNF, I'm jumping on Browns +2 at home
CLE is ranked better than BAL across the board. Name a category, the Browns are better.
This team is legit and should have no problems moving the ball
— GriffinCarroll (@griffybets) December 11, 2020
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills
8:20 PM EST, NBC
Line: Bills -2
Pittsburgh (11-1) overall, (8-4) ATS
The Steelers are coming off their first loss of the year to Washington, 23-17. The team’s identity is clear: the best defense in the NFL and a middling offense.
When they do move the ball on offense, it’s with their three receivers. I would stay away from this running game for the rest of the year.
For the sake of characters, let’s continue on – we know the Steelers are one of the best teams in the NFL.
Buffalo (9-3) overall, (7-5) ATS
Buffalo took down San Francisco this past Monday night, 34-24. It was the Josh Allen show, as it has been for most of this year.
Allen finished 32/40 for 375 yards and four touchdowns. The Bills pass, pass and pass some more, so if you’re considering building a DraftKings lineup around this game, or taking an offensive prop, it would have to be the receiving game.
The Bills have won five of six on the back of their offense. As you’re about to see, their defense is a major weakness.
Player Props to Target
Let’s quickly compare these two teams PFF rankings:
Pittsburgh on Offense
Running grade (28) vs. Bills Rush Defense grade (32) +4
Receiving grade (29) vs. Bills Pass Coverage grade (22) -7
Buffalo on Offense
Running grade (13) vs. Steelers Rush defense grade (1) -12
Receiving grade (2) vs. Steelers Pass coverage grade (1) -1
As you can see, the Bills have the worst rush defense in the NFL, but Pittsburgh is ill-equipped to take advantage of it.
The Steelers offensive rankings, in general, are surprising for an 11-1 team and it’s tough to trust them here. Props for Bills are similar in the sense they’re going against the strongest defense in the NFL.
I don’t think I’m alone in preferring to bet on overs, especially as someone watching the game. Betting on unders hijacks the viewing experience, but, hitting an under feels all-the-more satisfying, at least to me.
With that out of the way, the only prop I can recommend tonight is an under.
- Devin Singletary UNDER 41.5 rushing yards
A general rule I’m following is to stay away from games without a clear discrepancy. There’s only one that fits the criteria for this Sunday night, an under from a Bills running back.
That would be Devin Singletary, who has seemingly taken over full-time duties.
Singletary took 18 carries for just 61 yards a week ago, playing 85% of the snaps. This backfield had been a time-share between the aforementioned Singletary and Zack Moss for the entire season until Moss’ fumble last week kept him on the bench.
This is partially a bet for the return to the two-man rushing attack, but also because of Pittsburgh’s top rush defense. Buffalo is a middling running team that prefers to move the ball through the air.
While Pittsburgh is equally strong in coverage, I expect Buffalo to rely on Josh Allen and these receivers to make plays, just as they have all year.
Singletary has had a fine year, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. This line is low, but it’s the only one I can recommend tonight.
Players to Avoid
I truly don’t love a lot of the props tonight. The above breakdown doesn’t draw me in, and that’s ok. I’m not going to force it.
One player I would consider fading and avoiding tonight: Chase Claypool.
Claypool surprisingly has been dipping in playing time, peaking at 81% in Week 9 and then dropping to 60%. Last week, Claypool played just 44% of the snaps in what was a close game, his lowest since Week 2.
Pittsburgh’s target-share the last three weeks:
He has seemingly become the fourth-option in this offense. His line is set at 42.5, which is reasonable, but I can’t trust him.
Thoughts on the Spread
I like Pittsburgh at +2.5 here. They’re the stronger defense by far, and I put a lot of weight into a strong defense.
The Bills have the better offense, but it, unfortunately, matches up with the Steelers’ strength. On the other side, the Steelers offense leaves a lot to be desired, but the Bills don’t offer much resistance.
I lean towards Pittsburgh moving the ball more than I’d expect the Buffalo defense to stop them.
Thus, I’m taking Pittsburgh +2.5.
Again, you can find me on Twitter @griffybets. Thanks for reading and good luck tonight.