One of the reasons the AFC wild-card matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers carries so much intrigue is that it just so happens that a game against the Steelers marked a very definite turnaround for this Miami team, and there was no mystery as to why it happened. The Dolphins won that game, but can they put the same formula to work again? We’re going to find out on Sunday at 1:05 PM ET at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. CBS will televise the game, and VietBet customers, who are able to get reduced juice as the standard, will get to continue their action even after the opening kickoff as they access the software provided by Live Betting Ultra.
Miami Dolphins vs Pittsburgh Steelers – NFL Betting Line:
In the AFC playoff betting odds posted on this game by the people over at VietBet, the Steelers are the solid favorites:
Pittsburgh Steelers -10
Miami Dolphins +10
Over 46 points -110
Under 46 points -110
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Miami Dolphins vs Pittsburgh Steelers – CJ’s Take:
The Dolphins were never really in the running for the AFC East championship, but they were able to survive a furious wild-card race, finishing with a record of 10-6 straight up and 9-7 against the points. The Steelers won a critical late-season game against the Baltimore Ravens to gain control of the AFC North and finished 11-5, with the same 9-7 ATS mark.
For those Miami fans who were hopeful that Ryan Tannehill might be able to come back from his knee injury to play in this one, that idea has been quashed. So once again, the team turns to veteran backup Matt Moore, who has started the last three games.
When these teams previously played, in Week 6, the Dolphins, who carried a 1-4 record into that encounter, broke loose with a dominant effort on the ground, led by Jay Ajayi, who ran for 204 yards. Ajayi a has been one of the great stories of the NFL season, because he began the campaign in the doghouse the first-year coach Adam Gase, who wouldn’t even bring him on the trip to Seattle. But Miami was going nowhere in the backfield, and Gase wanted an every-down answer. So he turned back to Ajayi, who scored the winning touchdown against the Cleveland Browns in overtime in Week 3, and then exploded for back-to-back 200-yard games against Pittsburgh and Buffalo. He finished the season with 1272 yards and eight touchdowns, eventually getting another 200-yard game, once again versus Buffalo. Pittsburgh gave up 231 yards on the ground against Cleveland last week as they eked out an overtime win, but obviously that was a unit that was resting some starters, and it was certainly not a playoff atmosphere.
VietBet patrons know that because the 1-2-3 punch of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown were all on the sidelines for that game, resting up for this one. But you look at the numbers posted by these guys during the regular season, it is extremely impressive indeed. Bell had 1268 rushing yards and 616 more in receptions. Brown had 106 catches with 12 touchdowns, and Roethlisberger had 29 TD throws and was sacked only 17 times. So the Steeler offensive line has done a great job, which might neutralize something Miami definitely wants to do – get some pressure on the passer with the likes of Cameron Wake and Ndomukong Suh.
Both of these teams come in with a relatively hot hand. In the last 11 games of the season, Miami only lost twice, although those were blowout losses to Baltimore and New England. The Steelers have captured seven victories in a row, and in none of those games have they been held to fewer than 24 points. Maybe the question here is whether Moore, who has thrown for 8.3 yards per attempt, which is actually more than Roethlisberger, can make the best use of a receiving corps that did indeed develop this season. Jarvis Landry (1136 yards) is one of the best in the game, and second-year man Davante Parker absolutely had his moments. Kenny Stills had nine touchdowns and averaged 17.3 yards per catch, so this is no picnic for the Pittsburgh secondary.
By Charles Jay
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