NFL Betting: Too Much Love For The Steelers?

Jason Lake

Monday, January 2, 2017 7:46 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 7:46 PM UTC

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the biggest Wild-Card Weekend favorites on the NFL odds board. They’ll probably be too chalky for Sunday’s game against the visiting Miami Dolphins.

Season Record: 22-23-1 ATS, 4-9 Totals

Thank goodness that’s over with. Another NFL regular season is in the books, and let’s face it: Those were glorified exhibition games, all 256 of them. Things get real starting this weekend, because it’s Wild-Card Weekend. This is when the larger betting public comes in and moves the marketplace with gobs of action on the favorites. The profit margin will only increase as we get closer to the Super Bowl.

So who’s the prime fade candidate for Round 1 of the playoffs? We’re looking at you, Pittsburgh Steelers. You’ve opened as 10-point home faves on the NFL odds board for Sunday’s game (1:05 p.m. ET, CBS) against the Miami Dolphins. The Steelers finished just behind the Green Bay Packers on the public money charts, while Miami was in the lower middle of the pack. Perhaps the Dolphins will be available at +10.5 or higher everywhere by kickoff.

Ten Penny Ale

That would be a valuable half-point. According to Wizard of Odds, moving from +10 to +10.5 is worth about 10 cents in vigorish; in terms of “magic” numbers, 10 is third on the list, behind 3 and 7 and ahead of 14 and 21. It’d be worth revisiting those numbers now that the PATs are longer and more frequently missed, but it’s probably not that big a difference.

Plus the Steelers (11-5 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) are probably overvalued at –10. FiveThirtyEight has Pittsburgh winning Sunday’s game 73 percent of the time for an Elo-based spread of -7. And Elo isn’t going to be fully aware of how much better QB Matt Moore has played for the Dolphins (10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS) than the man he has replaced, the injured Ryan Tannehill. Moore has eight TD passes and three picks in three starts and was sacked just once. Tannehill had 19 TDs and 12 INTs in 13 starts with 29 sacks.

There’s a slight chance Tannehill will get the start Sunday, but it’s unlikely he’ll be recovered from his sprained left knee in time. It’s probably just as well. While he has been unfairly maligned in the past, the advanced stats at Football Outsiders have Tannehill playing at replacement level this year, below the likes of Cody Kessler, Blake Bortles and Matt Barkley. So, heck yes, we’ll recommend Miami for your NFL picks this Wild-Card Weekend. But consider waiting until later in the week for a better price than what’s available at press time. As of this writing, only 5Dimes among SBR Forum's top sportsbooks has it Dolphins +10.5 so that's the preferred book for now. 

NFL Free Pick: Dolphins +10.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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