The Pittsburgh Steelers overhauled their entire offensive line after finishing dead last in run blocking efficiency last season, but failed to make a meaningful splash in free agency or via trade.
Doesn’t seem like a recipe for a safe bet early in a new season with only one starting OL returning, as they try to re-establish a running game and protect the elderly Big Ben.
The Buffalo Bills, on the other hand, are returning 10 of 11 offensive starters. Both these teams have Super Bowl aspirations, but only one gets off to a 1-0 start.
The Bills were 6.5 point favorites in this game as of Thursday, according to DraftKings, and they may be great value at that number.
Why the Bills can cover the spread
Josh Allen took the league by storm last season, turning the Bills into a juggernaut in the AFC. According to ESPN, Allen finished 3rd in the NFL in QBR, and the Bills offense had the second-most yards per game.
The Steelers’ defense finished first in sacks and pressure rate last season, so the Bills will have to keep Allen upright. The Bills’ offensive line was solid last year, finishing 9th in sacks allowed.
Why the Steelers can cover the spread
Ben Roethlisberger returns for his 18th season and will have a new weapon in Najee Harris in the backfield. Roethlisberger’s wide receiver room is returning, as they are expecting Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson to take another step forward.
The Steelers went into this offseason destined to get a more vertical passing attack. However, that could be a challenging task against the Bills. Buffalo finished 9th in yard per attempt allowed last season.
Buffalo Pittsburgh Betting Trends
Buffalo almost always wins as a favorite (20-2 SU past 22 games as chalk) but doesnt always cover the spread. Meanwhile the Steelers are very tough as underdogs (13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 games) and they own a 10-3 ATS advantage in their last 13 games against Buffalo.
If you believe in Week 1 trends, the Bills are 12-4 ATS the past 16 seasons while the Steelers bleed money at 2-7-1 ATS the past 10 season openers.
Steelers Bills Betting Pick
Until the Steelers prove otherwise, I will be fading them early and often. The Steelers are going to struggle to put points on the board this season.
Buffalo Bills -6.5 currently at DraftKings Sportsbook
Steelers Bills Prop Bets
Zack Moss Anytime TD +180
The Steelers’ defense was excellent across the board last season, but they were in the middle of the pack in keeping running backs out of the end zone.
Zack Moss will get the bulk of the workload out the gate this season and should see all of the redzone touches. He is the bigger running back on the team, and many people around the Buffalo Bills are excited to see what he can do this season. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll could want to get his young running back early touches in the season to get his confidence up. The +180 line is too juicy to pass up.
Eric Ebron Anytime TD +290
The Bills finished tied for 25th in touchdowns allowed by tight ends last season. The Bills are returning all their starters on defense, so I expect a very similar style of defense this season.
Ebron is going to be an x-factor for this team. The play-action pass in the red zone could be a massive weapon for the Steelers’ offense.
Josh Allen OVER 28.5 Rushing Yards
Allen ran for 28 yards against the Steelers in their meeting last season. Week 1 can cause some problems for quarterbacks, as teams made adjustments all offseason. Allen is going to be forced to use his legs more early on in the season. The Steelers pass rush could also force him out of the pocket, forcing Allen to use his legs to gain yards.