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Two-Win Steelers Favored by Two Touchdowns Over Dolphins

It’s not often a 2-4 NFL team like the Steelers are a two-touchdown favorite over their opponent, but Miami makes it possible.

Matchup Information
  • Miami Dolphins vs Pittsburgh Steelers (Matchup Report)
  • Date/Time: October 28, 8:15 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Pittsburgh -16.5 | O/U 42.5 (Line History)

Opening Odds Analysis

The Steelers opened as 16.5-point home favorites, but that line has dipped to Pittsburgh -14.5. The winless Dolphins’ moneyline opened at +600 and the point total opened at 42.5.

Before their Week 7 bye, the Steelers upset the Chargers to improve to 2-4 straight up and 3-2-1 against the spread. Miami’s winless season rolled on in a 31-21 loss to Buffalo, but the Dolphins did cover the +17.5 to improve to 2-4 ATS.

Pittsburgh has been a home favorite of 14.5 or more points only four times since 1980. The Steelers are 1-3 ATS in those games. They’re also 1-4 ATS in their last five games coming out of their bye.

Miami has already been a road dog of 14.5 or more points twice this season and is 0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS. The Dolphins have been dogs of 14.5 or more points only eight times dating back to 1980 and are 0-8 SU and 3-5 ATS with the UNDER hitting in three of their past four games under those conditions.

Miami News and Notes

The Dolphins are destined for the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, there were some positive takeaways in their loss to Buffalo. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s touchdown pass to DeVante Parker handed Miami a 14-9 halftime lead against the Bills’ third-ranked defense, a unit that had allowed only 14 points per game heading into Week 7.

Fitzpatrick scored a third touchdown against this elite defense to cut the Bills’ lead to three with a few minutes left in the fourth. The Dolphins also converted seven of 13 (53.8%) third downs. Opposing offenses are converting just 34.1 percent of their third downs against Buffalo this season. 

Two second-half turnovers proved costly. The Bills converted a Preston Williams fumble and Fitzpatrick red-zone interception into 14 points, which ended up being the difference between a win and a loss. The Dolphins rank dead last in turnover differential at -11, while the Steelers rank second at +7. If Miami loses the turnover margin again, the Steelers could eke out a cover.

Miami’s most notable injury is All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard, who is dealing with a knee injury. He’s missed two straight games and is questionable against the Steelers. Howard’s secondary mate, Minkah Fitzpatrick, was traded to the Steelers last month.

Pittsburgh News and Notes

Mason Rudolph says he doesn’t remember the play that resulted in a knockout concussion three weeks ago. He says the concussion symptoms are gone and he’s ready to lead the Steelers offense again. In three games played, including the abridged Ravens contest, Rudolph has averaged 178 pass yards per game with five touchdowns and only one interception.

Though the Dolphins’ defensive metrics have improved in recent weeks, Pittsburgh should still be able to run the rock. Rookie Benny Snell broke out for 75 rush yards against the Chargers two weeks ago. Snell’s effort eclipsed James Conner’s season-high rush total by 20 yards. The Dolphins have allowed 160.8 rush yards per game and 114 RYPG over their past three.

The Steelers lost defensive end Stephon Tuitt to a torn pec suffered during the Chargers game. Conner is dealing with a shoulder injury and is questionable, while fellow running back Jaylen Samuels is out indefinitely following knee surgery.

Betting Pick: Dolphins +14.5

The Steelers are a flawed, injury-riddled team starting a second-string quarterback three weeks removed from a serious concussion. Despite the winless resume and unlikelihood that the Dolphins grind out a victory, Ryan Fitzpatrick will fight for points until the final whistle blows. Miami can earn a cover during garbage time. 

Shark Bites
  • The Dolphins are 4-15-1 ATS in their last 20 games at night.
  • The Steelers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games as a double-digit favorite.
  • The Dolphins are 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 as a double-digit dog.