Will the Buffalo Bills Stay Red Hot in NFL Wild Card Round vs. Pittsburgh Steelers?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jan 9, 2024 12:00 AM
Though Florida sports betting is up and running across the state once again, it's clear the legal battle is far from over as we begin 2024.

After a rocky middle of the regular season, the Buffalo Bills have reinforced their status as NFL Super Bowl contenders ahead of 2024 Wild Card Weekend. Then again, did they really? Or are they at risk of another postseason letdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday?

  • What: Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargers
  • Date: Sunday, January 14, 2024
  • Time: 1 p.m. eastern standard time
  • Where: Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York
  • Point Spread: Bills (-10), Steelers (+10)

Skeptics will point to the Bills’ 2023 postseason collapse as evidence they are more paper tiger than potential Super Bowl favorite. They will also harp on the middle-of-the-schedule stretch in which Buffalo nearly fell outside the NFL playoff picture entirely. While many of the critiques you’ll read and hear are valid, the latest NFL online betting odds portray the Bills a sure thing against the Steelers:

FavoriteBetUSBetUSUnderdog
Buffalo Bills-420+400Pittsburgh Steelers

Make sure you continue double-checking these online NFL playoff betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Bills vs. Steelers betting odds are accurate entering Tuesday, January 9. That gives the best NFL online betting sites plenty of time to make adjustments leading into opening kick-off on January 14.

On the surface, it makes sense to pencil in Buffalo as a lock to beat Pittsburgh. The Bills have won six of their last seven games and enter the 2024 NFL playoffs on a five-game winning streak. The Steelers, meanwhile, have played uneven football all year. They also enter this matchup against Buffalo having lost three of their last six contests. 

Counterpoint: Following a late-season change at quarterback, the Steelers are also on a three-game winning streak. And during this mini stretch, they have cobbled together two consecutive games of scoring 30 or more points. Is this proof Pittsburgh is more dangerous with Mason Rudolph under center than meets the eye? Or is it more so about a favorable schedule to close the year? And more than anything, do the Steelers have a real shot at completing the NFL Wild Card upset? Or are the Bills destined to advance to the 2024 NFL playoffs divisional round?

Is It Finally Okay to Trust the Buffalo Bills Again?

Answering this question is complicated. It’s more like a split decision. 

You should absolutely trust the Bills defense again. They are allowing fewer than 17 points per game during their current winning streak. Buffalo also sports the best third down defensive performance in the entire NFL. Given how Pittsburgh has struggled to consistently move the chains, the Bills may look at their offense and see a sweet treat they can gobble up in one bit.

Trusting Buffalo’s offense is a separate matter. Though Josh Allen and friends have done a better job limiting their turnovers, the system is still prone to breaking down. In fact, the Bills committed at least three giveaways in two of their final three games. 

Pittsburgh doesn’t always uncork a hyper-aggressive defensive scheme, but they are fifth in the percentage of opponent offensive drives that end in a turnover. If the Bills do not maximize their possessions, they could find themselves embroiled in an uncomfortably close contest.

But that’s different from saying Buffalo could lose. The Steelers offense isn’t nearly good enough to predict that outcome. Pittsburgh is 28th in points scored per game, and while they don’t ever commit turnovers, they do so at the expense of ball movement. The Steelers rank 21st in net yards gained per passing attempt and are 30th in total passing touchdowns. 

Granted, the offense looks better in recent weeks with Mason Rudolph making decisions. But the Bills defense is built to rattle even superstar pros. Just look at what they did to Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins in Week 18. And then look how often Buffalo is getting to opposing quarterbacks. Their 9.47 sack percentage is the fifth-highest in league and has shown no signs of slowing down. If they don’t win this game, it will be a major upset—and likely time for some sweeping changes in northern New York. 

OSB Prediction: Buffalo Bills (-420)

Buffalo Bills To beat the Pittsburgh Steelers
BetUS
-330

Can the Steelers Remain within Striking Distance of the Bills?

Never mind whether you trust the Bills. The latest NFL playoff point spread betting odds clearly trust them to get the job done:

  • Buffalo Bills, -10 (-110)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers, +10 (-110)

Even though we expect the Steelers to win, this line seems to dramatically underestimate Pittsburgh’s own defense. They are sixth in points allowed per game, and only four teams allow a smaller share of scores inside the red zone. Relative to how sloppy the Bills have appeared at times on offense, the Steelers should have every opportunity to keep this one close.

And not for nothing, but Buffalo has not exactly blown the doors off their opponents during their recent streak. Just two of their victories since Week 5 have come by double digits.

OSB Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers, +10 (-110)

Pittsburgh Steelers To cover the point spread against the Buffalo Bills
BetUS
-110

NFL Playoffs Oddsmakers Do Not See Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh Featuring Much Offense

After looking at the latest Bills vs. Steelers over/under betting lines, we feel even better about picking Pittsburgh to cover the point spread:

  • Over 35.5 (-110)
  • Under 35.5 (-110)

Favoring the Bills by 10 points in a game that’s projected to finish with a sub-36-point total is wild stuff. 

To be sure, we understand why this mark is so low. The Steelers have topped 25 points just three times all season. And the Bills, for their part, have been inconsistent when it comes to reaching that mile marker.

However, Pittsburgh’s offense has perked up with Rudolph under center. They seem more inclined to take chances. And while playoff football can breed conservatism, they are effectively playing with house money since no one expects them to win. We’re not super confident in this pick, but we see Steelers vs. Bills juuust squeaking past 35 total points.

OSB Prediction: Over 35.5 (-110)

Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers To score over 35.5 combined points
BetUS
-110

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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