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NFL Free Pick from Linebacker: Bills vs Steelers

NFL Free Pick from Linebacker: Bills vs Steelers

Buffalo Bills vs Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT -1.5, O/U 36.5)

It’s likely to be a defensive battle in Pittsburgh on Sunday night when the Steelers host the Buffalo Bills. Both defenses enter with an elite 4.8 yards per play allowed to opponents (T-3rd) and both are in the top six in scoring defense. The exceptional play on defense has led both teams to second place in their respective divisions, but Buffalo slightly edges out Pittsburgh in the AFC wild-card race, entering 9-4 compared to 8-5 for the Steelers. Vegas agrees this will be a low-scoring battle, listing Pittsburgh as a 1.5-point favorite and the total at an extremely low 36.5 points.

The Linebacker’s NFL model predicts it will be a close game, with a final score projection of 19.2 - 16.6 in favor of the Bills. We have a clear edge on Buffalo in this one, as we predict they’ll win outright against the Steelers as 1.5-point underdogs. Our model suggests an $81 wager on BUFFALO +1.5 for an average $100 bettor.

The Linebacker’s model is 113-61 ATS (64.9%) for +25.98 units and 101-81 (55.5%) on OVER/UNDERs for +21.88 units through 14 weeks of NFL, producing a profit of $4,729. Head over to thelinebacker.com to sign up for a free trial and get access to EVERY NFL Week 15 prediction.

Why will Buffalo cover the spread?

  • With two elite defenses taking the field Sunday night, it will be up to one of these offenses to break through and put up points. So far this season, Buffalo has been the more capable offense. The Bills’ 5.3 yards per play (19th) is a decent step up from Pittsburgh’s 4.9 mark (27th), and they’ve managed to score 21.1 points per game compared to 19.9 for the Steelers.
  • Buffalo has been much more successful than Pittsburgh converting red-zone trips into touchdowns, with 61.1 percent of their red-zone trips resulting in six points, ranking 10th in the NFL. Pittsburgh is dead last in the NFL this season turning red-zone trips into touchdowns, converting on only 34.3 percent of its opportunities.
  • Pittsburgh’s 33 takeaways are the most in the NFL. Buffalo has actually held on to the ball extremely well thus far, coughing up just 14 turnovers on the season (seventh-fewest). After throwing seven interceptions in his first five games, Josh Allen has settled in nicely and posted a 12:1 TD:INT ratio over the last eight weeks.

How to bet the total in Bills vs Steelers

The Linebacker projects a final score of 19.2 - 16.6 in favor of the Bills. With 35.8 projected points and an OVER/UNDER of 36.5, we have a slight edge on the UNDER in this matchup. Our model suggests a $17 wager on UNDER 36.5 for an average $100 bettor.

Need-to-know stats for Bills vs Steelers

  • 254.9 total yards - The Steelers project to barely surpass 250 TOTAL yards in this matchup. They’ve posted 312 yards per game since Devlin Hodges took over at quarterback. That total ranks 24th in the NFL over that span, despite the fact they’ve faced the Bengals and Cardinals defenses, which are 32nd and 30th in yards per play allowed in the NFL, respectively. Buffalo ranks third in the NFL with 4.8 yards per play allowed, so we anticipate this to be an extremely rough outing for Pittsburgh’s offense.
  • 19/33, 197.2 yards, 1.05 TDs, 0.64 INTs, 6 rushes, 24.4 yards, 0.4 TDs - Josh Allen has become one of the premier dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL. His 33.8 rushing yards per game ranks third among quarterbacks, and his eight rushing touchdowns leads the position and ranks eighth among all NFL rushers. His throwing ability is still subpar, but his completion percentage has gone up seven points compared to last season, while his yards per attempt and touchdown-to-interception ratio have also improved. He has a tough draw against an elite Steelers defense, but we project he’ll approach 200 yards through the air while adding close to 25 with his legs.
  • 5 receptions, 50.6 yards, 0.33 TDs - Cole Beasley has become the go-to guy for Josh Allen over the last three games. The former Cowboy has totaled 16 catches on 23 targets in the last three weeks, and has turned three of those 16 catches into touchdowns. Meanwhile, John Brown has just eight catches on 16 targets the last three games, failing to surpass 40 yards in all three. Pittsburgh has been stout against enemy WRs overall, but Beasley looks like the best bet to lead the Bills receiving corps once again this weekend.