Miami at Pittsburgh AFC Wild Card Lines, Free Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Thursday,January 5, 2017 8:40, EST in

The Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers are two of the most successful franchises in the AFC but Sunday's wild-card game will be just their fourth playoff meeting and first since following the 1984 season when Dan Marino led Miami to an AFC title game win over Pittsburgh. However, the Steelers are the biggest NFL Wild Card betting favorites on the wild-card board this time.

Miami at Pittsburgh AFC Wild Card Lines, Free Pick & TV Info

When: Sunday, Jan. 8, 1:05 PM ET
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
TV: CBS
RadioMiami / Pittsburgh
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Steelers -10 (46.5)

Why Bet on Miami?

The Dolphins are making their first playoff appearance since 2008. Miami’s all-time postseason record is 20-20.

The Dolphins overcame a 1-4 start to the 2016 season to make the playoffs with a 10-6 record. The Dolphins are the ninth team since 1990 to qualify for the postseason after starting a season with a 1-4 record. With a win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, the Dolphins would become the sixth team since 1990 to win a postseason game after beginning a season with a 1-4 record. The Kansas City Chiefs accomplished the feat last season, defeating the Houston Texans 30-0 in the Wild Card round.

The Dolphins were 8-2 in games decided by seven points or less, setting a new franchise record for such victories. The previous mark was seven in 2008 when the Dolphins finished 11-5 and won the AFC East. Miami running back Jay Ajayi ranked fourth in the NFL – and second in the AFC – with a career-high 1,272 rushing yards. He rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 6 30-15 win against Pittsburgh, one of three 200-yard rushing games he recorded this year, tied for the second-most 200- yard games in a season in NFL history.

Will the Dolphins have starting QB Ryan Tannehill? He has missed the past three games with a strained MCL and ACL in his left knee and it’s not likely that Tannehill returns this week but not impossible. But it should be Matt Moore, who has gone 2-1 in Tannehill’s place.

Tannehill did not practice on Wednesday but Coach Adam Gase was hoping that Tannehill might be able to make his return to the practice field later this week. It won’t be until Tannehill practices that he and his coaches will know how much progress the quarterback has made. Gase wants to see what sort of mobility Tannehill has, and if the quarterback can step into throws, move laterally to avoid a pass rush and accelerate off the left leg to scramble before making any decision about Tannehill’s availability.

Will the Dolphins have starting CB Byron Maxwell? Maxwell (ankle) didn’t practice on Wednesday and hasn’t played or practiced since spraining his ankle against the Jets in Week 15.

If the Dolphins beat the Steelers on Sunday, they will face the New England Patriots in the divisional round and that game at Gillette Stadium would be played Saturday, Jan. 14 at 8:15 p.m. ET.

Why Bet on Pittsburgh?

The Steelers, who are in the postseason for the third consecutive season, have won 34 playoff games, tied with Dallas for the most in NFL history. Pittsburgh enters on a seven-game regular-season winning streak.

Pittsburgh Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown ranked second in the NFL – and led the AFC – with 106 receptions. He joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (1999-2002) as the only players in NFL history to record 100 catches in four consecutive seasons. Brown’s 481 catches since 2013 are the most in any four-year span.

As noted above, this will be the second time this season the two teams will met, with the Steelers losing the Week 6 meeting, 30-15, at Hard Rock Stadium. Third-down conversion percentage in that game: Steelers 27 percent, Dolphins 50 percent; total net yards: Steelers 297, Dolphins 474; trips into the red zone: Steelers 0, Dolphins 3; time of possession: Steelers 23:30, Dolphins 36:30; and turnover ratio: Steelers minus-2.

The running game struggled to get going that day, with Le’Veon Bell rushing for just 53 yards on 10 carries. But lately the ground game has been on fire, with Bell gaining 835 yards (a 139.1 yard average) in the last six games he played. Ben Roethlisberger injured his knee in the game, missing the final series of the first half but returned in the second half, although hampered by the injury. Roethlisberger had surgery on the knee the week after the game, missing the following game.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Ladarius Green is still in the concussion protocol but has a chance to play this week against the Dolphins. Tomlin said Green is “progressing rather well.” Green returned to practice last week and appears to be in the final stages of the protocol. He has been a solid contributor the rare times he has been healthy this year.

Miami at Pittsburgh AFC Wild Card Free Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers

Dolphins are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
Steelers are 0-3- 2 ATS in their last 5 playoff games.
Under is 14-6 in Steelers last 20 games overall.

It will be cold in Pittsburgh on Sunday and that should keep scoring down. Go Dolphins to cover on NFL odds and under the total.