SteeThe Pittsburgh Steelers will face one of the most daunting challenges in decades this Sunday when they face the Buffalo Bills on the road.
The Steelers might surprise a few good teams this year, but I’m not going to be taking Pittsburgh’s moneyline this week on the road against the Buffalo Bills. For the first time since the AFL-NFL merger, the Steelers are 14-point underdogs, Mike Florio of NBC Sports confirms.
As it stands, the line hasn’t changed. Fanduel Sportsbook has the Steelers as two-touchdown underdogs with a moneyline of +610, and the over/under is set at 46.5. Because the spread is 14 points, betting on the Bills moneyline at -900 is barely worth the potential reward this week.
These aren’t just arbitrary numbers either. Oddsmakers know what they are doing. While Pittsburgh was able to upset the Bills in Week 1 of last season, that Steelers team looked very different — two of the biggest differences were having T.J. Watt and Ben Roethlisberger.
After the team benched Mitch Trubisky at halftime against the New York Jets, Mike Tomlin made the choice to roll with rookie QB Kenny Pickett moving forward. Pickett showed promise in his first NFL action, but there’s reason to believe he will struggle against an absurdly tough matchup this week.
Why Steelers are such heavy underdogs vs Bills
For starters, the Bills have a loaded defense that has allowed just 234.5 total yards and 150.8 passing yards per game, via Team Rankings — both are good for 1st in the NFL. However, it’s not just a dominant front-seven led by Von Miller that has oddsmakers believing this game could get out of hand.
In addition to facing an elite pass rush, Sean McDermott could act as a big advantage for Buffalo this week. The Bills head coach is 8-3 all-time against rookie quarterbacks. In those 11 games, opposing quarterbacks have combined to throw for just 7 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, according to Pro Football Reference.
Not only is Pickett a rookie who is just four games into his NFL career, but he will be asked to make his first start on the road against one of the best teams in the league. Even if he’s able to overcome the intense pressure from Von Miller and company, it’s very unlikely that he will be able to go toe-to-toe with Josh Allen, who has the potential to put up 30+ points on the Steelers defense (especially without T.J. Watt).
I’m not saying all of this to be negative; rather, I understand that this could be one of the single greatest challenges the Pittsburgh Steelers could face in decades. If you are taking a bet this week, we still think Mike Tomlin’s team could cover the spread, but it would be unwise to take the Steelers moneyline against the Bills in Week 5.