Two sides with their eye on the ultimate prize square off in Western New York to open the season. Will it be the high flying Bills offense or the Steelers hard-nosed defense that prevails in week 1?
The Bills went all the way to the AFC Championship game last season and will be looking to go one better in 2021. They return the majority of their starters and I expect Buffalo to look and perform similarly to how they did in 2020, which means a heavy passing attack, plenty of Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs and a defense that’s talented at all three levels. Talking of Diggs, the All-Pro WR was the NFL leader in receptions last season with 127. He had 8 or more receptions in 9 games in 2020 and it would’ve been 10 had he not been rested at the half against Miami in week 17, included in this was Diggs’ monster day vs Pittsburgh last season as the pass-catcher posted 10 catches for 130 yards and a TD. These stats make his U/O 7.5 receptions an interesting play here @ 6/5 with SkyBet.
Pittsburgh started strong last year, racking up 11 straight wins before coming crashing down to earth losing 4 of their last 5 games, and then being one and done in the playoffs as their divisional rivals, the Cleveland Browns punched them in the mouth! The Steelers struggled to run the ball in 2020 (very un-Steelerlike) but they’ve looked to change that with the first-round selection of Najee Harris. Former Alabama RB, Harris was one of the stand out players in College last year, and his U/O 14.5 rushing attempts line looks a little light to me, he could legitimately tote the rock 20+ times in this one, and my belief that Pittsburgh will run the ball a little more leads nicely into a line I think the bookies may have overshot. An interesting nugget I found in my research for this game was Ben Roethlisberger’s passing yards in games vs Buffalo. Big Ben has thrown for under 250 yards in each of his 5 career appearances against the Bills, including only 180 last season. His U/O passing yards line for this game is 267.5, a number that he bested only 6 times in 2020 and of course has never touched those heights against the Bills, add this to the expected workload for Najee Harris which should see the ball taken out of Big Ben’s hands often enough for him to miss the over on this line and that’s why I’m making it my best bet.
Spread: Bills -6.5
Total Match Points line: U/O 48.0
Game Prediction: Bills 30 – 21 Steelers
Best Bet: Ben Roethlisberger under 267.5 passing yards @ 5/6 with SkyBet. [0.5]