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Steelers vs. Bills Wild Card Game Betting Preview: Going Under With Old Man Winter

Mason Rudolph Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens
Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after throwing a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a game against the Baltimore Ravens. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP

Editor’s Note: The Steelers-Bills game scheduled for Sunday has been rescheduled to Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET due to severe weather conditions and concerns for public safety, as announced by the NFL.

It’s not too late to bet the Under for Sunday’s snow game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills. Getting in when the total opened at 40.5 would have been better, but there’s still enough room on the NFL odds board at 36.5 as we go to press – as long as the weather report holds up.

Picks Summary


Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills

Monday, January 15, 2024 – 04:30 PM ET at Highmark Stadium


Winter Is Coming

This hasn’t been your average winter in upstate New York. Hardly anyone in the States got to enjoy a White Christmas this year, but Sunday’s forecast for Orchard Park looks much more seasonal: highs of around 25, with 30-mph winds gusting up to 45 and about 4-5 inches of snow.

This is great news if you’re a Pittsburgh fan. The Steelers (10-7 SU and ATS) are 10-point road dogs on the NFL lines after opening at +9.5; the more chaos the weather gods throw at this matchup, the more likely the underdogs will be to cash in – and the underdogs in this case have plenty of experience playing in these conditions.

That still looks like a pretty tight line at +10, though. Pittsburgh is fortunate to be in the playoffs this year after racking up just 7.9 Pythagorean wins on a point differential of minus-20. The Bills (11-6 SU, 7-9-1 ATS), meanwhile, are second in the AFC at 12.0 Pythagorean wins and plus-140. They’ve also won five straight at 3-2 ATS.

Granted, those two ATS losses were as double-digit favorites, to the L.A. Chargers (+13 at home) and New England Patriots (+14.5 away). The Bills also went 2-0 SU and 0-2 ATS in their other two games in this scenario during the first half of the campaign, against the New York Giants (+1.5.5 away) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+10 away).

Given the conditions and the chalk, it might be worth supporting the Steelers this Sunday – but the potential profit margin for that total looks even better, despite the drop from 40.5 to 36.5.

Will It Snow In Buffalo?

All signs point to “yes.” The betting public doesn’t always know what to do when it comes to these situations; cold temperatures aren’t enough to throw NFL players off their game, so the Over tends to do better when the mercury dips, but snow can be a serious factor when there’s enough of it, and wind has the most effect of the three when it comes to final scores.

Looking at the past 10 January games at Orchard Park, the Bills are indeed thriving at 9-1 SU and 6-3-1 ATS – but the totals have been split down the middle at 5-5. This includes three games in each of the past three seasons, so this is one of those NFL betting trends that should carry some weight for Sunday’s contest. The previous 10 January games stretch back into the Marv Levy-Jim Kelly regime, with Buffalo still going strong at 9-1 SU and 6-3-1 ATS, but the Over at 7-2.

Who’s Starting for Pittsburgh?

Scoring in the dead of winter is already difficult enough – now imagine having Mason Rudolph as your quarterback. The Steelers have been through the quarterback wringer this year, and they’ve decided to put their fate in the hands of a player whose last postseason game was for Oklahoma State at the 2017 Camping World Bowl.

It could be worse. Rudolph has outperformed both Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky this year, but a lot of it is smoke and mirrors; Rudolph leads the league in CPOE (Completion Percentage Over Expectation) at plus-12.4%. Allen is fifth overall for Buffalo and tops among regular starters at plus-5.0% CPOE.

Those throwing windows are going to be even tighter than usual this Sunday. Aside from the lower total, the only monkey wrench in our plans is T.J. Watt, star linebacker for Pittsburgh with 19 sacks on the regular season. Watt will miss Wild Card Weekend with an unspecified knee injury that he picked up in Week 18, although his brother J.J. Watt spilled the beans on social media and identified the injury as a Grade 2 MCL sprain. Size your bets accordingly.

NFL Pick: Under 36.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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