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Steelers vs Chiefs Money Line, Game Total and Prop Bets

Pittsburgh Steelers(12-5-0) @ Kansas City Chiefs(12-4-0)

  • Where: Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City, Missouri
  • When: January 15, 2017 1:05 pm EST
  • Spread: Steelers +1 (-110) vs. Chiefs -1 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Steelers (+107) vs. Chiefs (-127)
  • Over / Under: Over 44 (-115) vs. Under 44 (-105)

There will be playoff football at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time in over six years Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs host the Pittsburgh Steelers with a spot in the AFC Conference final at stake.

The Steelers (12-5) showed their seven-game winning streak to close the regular season was no fluke, easily disposing of the Miami Dolphins 30-12 in the wild-card round. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown hooked up on scoring plays of 50 and 62 yards in the first quarter, and never looked back.

Le’Veon Bell kept the Steelers in control as he rushed for a playoff-franchise record 167 yards on 29 carries and added two touchdowns of his own. Brown finished with five receptions for 124 yards as Pittsburgh returned to the divisional round of the playoffs for the second straight year.

Though Roethlisberger, a +500 bet with the Bovada Sportsbook to win NFL MVP honors, was seen leaving Heinz Field with a walking boot on his right foot after the game, there doesn’t appear to be any concern the injury will limit him. The quarterback is 12-6 in the playoffs, including a 4-2 mark on the road. He’s also 5-1 lifetime against the Chiefs, completing 72.8 percent of his passes for 1,433 yards and 13 TDs with only three interceptions.

The Chiefs (12-4), meanwhile, have had a week to freshen up after Oakland’s late collapse handed them the AFC West title and a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed. They probably spent most of that time looking, or perhaps cringing, while watching the tapes from the most recent game between the teams — a 43-14 rout by the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week 4.

Pittsburgh forced two first-quarter turnovers in Kansas City territory, and Roethlisberger had three touchdown passes in a span of six offensive plays as the Steelers bolted to a 22-0 lead and didn’t let the Chiefs score until the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger finished with 300 yards and five TD passes while Bell rushed for 144 yards on just 18 carries.

Kansas City has not won a home playoff game since 1994, when Joe Montana led the Chiefs to a 27-24 overtime win over Pittsburgh, and this is the first postseason contest at Arrowhead since a 30-7 loss to Baltimore in the wild-card round on Jan. 9, 2011. The Chiefs are seeking their first AFC title game appearance since the 1994 postseason, while the Steelers haven’t played in the conference final since the 2011 playoffs.

X-Factor 1 – Can the Chiefs control the B’s and force turnovers

Steelers vs Chiefs ML BettingThe Chiefs led the NFL with 33 takeaways and a plus-16 turnover margin and third with 105 points scored off those miscues, but they were minus-2 in that loss to the Steelers and failed to force any turnovers. That can’t happen again if Kansas City is going to win this game, and stopping the triumvirate of Roethlisberger, Brown and Bell is going to be a huge challenge.

Stopping Bell, who you can get at +150 odds as the player with the most rushing yards in this round of the playoffs at the Bovada Sports Book, is paramount. He has rushed for 1,002 yards in his last seven games, including the wild-card win, while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Additionally, with Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson not available for this game with an Achilles injury, Bell also becomes a dangerous option out of the backfield in open space. He had five receptions for 34 yards in that Week 4 win, so expect to see him get plenty of touches.

For all of the things Roethlisberger has done right during this winning streak, he is still showing the tendency to force the ball into places. He has been picked off seven times in the last four games, and for a Chiefs team that tied for the league lead with 18 interceptions, there are going to be opportunities to get some this time.

But some of that hinges on Marcus Peters perhaps covering Brown, who you can get at +300 odds to have the most receiving yards in the division round at the Bovada Sports Book, more this time than in Week 4. Roethlisberger did not throw Peters’ way much in the Week 4 win, but did go 5 of 7 for 86 yards. Peters, who has 14 INTs in his first two years in the league, will need to make one or two big plays in Kansas City’s secondary.

X-Factor 2 – No nerves for the Chiefs this year

Gloss over the fact the Chiefs have lost nine of their last 10 postseason games. This is the second straight year Kansas City is in the divisional round, having been outclassed at New England last year. There will be no wide-eyed wonder this time around, just a get down to business approach. And giving head coach Andy Reid an extra week to prepare usually leads to good things. He’s 16-2 coming off a bye week, including a 3-0 mark in the playoffs while with Philadelphia.

This is important when you consider how he manages quarterback Alex Smith. And for all the flak Smith and Reid get for their ball-control offense and not throwing downfield often, Smith has spectacular playoff numbers, throwing for 1,309 yards and 11 TDs with only one interception in 186 attempts in five career games. If Kansas City holds its ground early and holds onto the ball unlike Week 4, this should be a very comfortable team on offense that can go point-for-point with Pittsburgh.

X-Factor 3 – Tyreek Hill versus the Steelers’ special teams

Hill, a rookie from Oklahoma State, has been a huge help to Kansas City’s scoring average with three returns of punts and kickoffs for touchdowns. He led the NFL with an average of 15.2 yards on punt returns, highlighted by his 95-yard TD against the Chargers in Week 17. Hill also averaged 27.4 yards on 14 kickoff returns, taking one back to paydirt.

Pittsburgh’s special teams have been spotty throughout the season and were ranked 24th defensively in punt returns (9.6 yards) and 30th in kickoff returns (24.7). The Steelers only allowed one punt return out of 28 to go longer than 20 yards, but their kickoff coverage gave up seven of 30 or more yards on 29 returns. Expect Hill to be aggressive and use his speed to set the Chiefs up in good field position.

What I’m betting on in PIT vs. KC – The over, the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell props

I recommend taking the OVER of 44 points at -115 odds provided by the Bovada Sportsbook for this game. While the reputation of Smith and the Chiefs is that of a ball-control offense, the numbers show a team that scored only 10 fewer points than the Steelers (399). Kansas City can score points, and when it forces turnovers, those short-field drives can generate momentum.

The Chiefs capped the regular season with 33 points against Denver and 37 at San Diego. They also scored 29 at Atlanta, and the loss to the Steelers was far and away their worst game of the season. I expect them to step up and make this a very competitive game.

But I also think the Steelers will win this game, thus making them my money line pick, with Bell doing significant damage and getting at least 22 carries. Brown will prevent Chiefs safety Eric Berry from loading the box, and the absence of Johnson in their linebacking corps means Bell should be good for a handful of big-yardage plays as he finds creases between the tackles.

Chris AltrudaThis article was written by Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has spent more than two decades as a sportswriter, first for ESPN SportsTicker in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he rose to the level of college sports coordinator and was NCAA Men's Basketball Columnist. From there, he moved onto The Associated Press, where Chris started as an editorial assistant in their MegaSports division in the AP's headquarters in New York City before taking on the role of Scores Manager. He most recently served as an editor for nearly 11 years for STATS' editorial department based in Northbrook, Illinois, writing game previews for all US professional and major college sports as well as the English Premier League and international soccer. Currently a freelancer, Chris is still working the international soccer beat and other assorted projects. A native New Yorker and graduate of Marquette University who still refers to them as the Warriors, Chris is now holding out hope the Jets will reach a Super Bowl in his lifetime since the Cubs proved miracles are possible by winning the 2016 World Series. Chris can be found on Twitter at @AlTruda73

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