Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins: 2022 Week 7 NFL Pick

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4) at Miami Dolphins (3-3)

Two weeks ago, the Steelers were demolished in a 38-3 blowout in Buffalo, losing the first down rate battle by 6.42% and the yards per play battle by 5.17, but they bounced back in a big way last week, pulling an upset victory over the Buccaneers as 9.5-point underdogs. While that was a surprise, it shouldn’t have been too surprising to see those results back-to-back, as teams tend to bounce back in a big way after being blown out, covering the spread at a 58.6% rate after a loss by 35 points or more.

Unfortunately, the flip side of that is also true, as teams tend to struggle after big upset wins, covering the spread at a 41.3% rate after a win as home underdogs of five points or more. That’s primarily because teams tend to be overconfident and overrated after an upset win. In this case, it’s very possible the Steelers could be overconfident, but I don’t think they are overrated. In fact, despite the Steelers’ upset win last week, this line shifted from favoring the Dolphins by 4.5 on the early line last week to now favoring them by 7.5.

That line shift happened because the Dolphins get quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater back from injuries this week, but it was always likely one of those quarterbacks would be back for this game and, even with Tagovailoa under center, 7.5 points is too high. Even when Tagovailoa was healthy earlier this season, the Dolphins’ only win by more than one score came in a game in which they won the turnover margin by 3, but lost the first down rate battle by 0.85% and only won the yards per play battle by 0.18, a concern because yards and first downs are significantly more predictive week-to-week than turnovers.

The Dolphins still rank 11th in schedule adjusted efficiency, which is based on yards per play and first down rate, even with the injuries they’ve had at quarterback, but the Steelers are only 1.5 points behind them, ranked 16th. My roster rankings have a bigger 3-point gap between these two teams, but, either way, it’s hard to justify this line being all the way at 7.5. My calculated line is Miami -4.5, so we’re getting significant line value with the Steelers. 

There’s a chance the Steelers are flat this week after such a big home upset win over the Buccaneers last week, but, even with that taken into account, they are at least worth consideration for a bet. I’m leaving this as a low confidence pick for now, but depending on the status of a pair of key Miami players who are questionable, left tackle Terron Armstead and edge defender Emmanuel Ogbah, I may end up betting on the Steelers.

Miami Dolphins 24 Pittsburgh Steelers 19

Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh +7.5

Confidence: Low

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