Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS)
Week 6 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: PIT -7.5/MIA +7.5
Over/Under Total: 47.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers make the trip to South Florida to face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in AFC action from Hard Rock Stadium. Pittsburgh got another win and a cover this past week, as they are now 4-1 in both regards, following a 31-13 win over the New York Jets at home. Unfortunately for the 'Fins, week five didn't go as swimmingly, as they were thumped at home by the Titans, 30-17. With their only win coming against the winless Browns at home in overtime, it's becoming hard to see the silver lining with the wayward Dolphins. And those who have bet on them this season would attest to that.
Watching the Dolphins, the problems are multi-fold. Most striking is their lack of conviction. At times, it seems there's a general sense of apathy. You see little things that suggest something other than a full effort. They are utterly invested in Ryan Tannehill and it's hard to tell if he's the problem or if he's just the victim of an offensive line that can't really establish any foothold. They were missing two offensive linemen on the left side, but it's not like they were doing that well before and the right side isn't exactly impressive, either.
After the unfulfilling Joe Philbin era, they went with promising coordinator Adam Gase. How this story ends is anyone's guess, but he certainly hasn't hit the ground running with his first head coaching gig. A lot of people probably weren't expecting yet another step back, but that's what is shaping up through five games this season. Watching them against Tennessee, it was alarming how at home they were getting manhandled at times on both lines of scrimmage.
The defense of the Dolphins has a lot of problems. Even with the signing of Ndamukong Suh in '15, they're the worst team in the league against the run, as the Titans ran for 235 yards on Sunday. The talent hasn't really delivered for this team. Mariota was orchestrating drive after drive with a smoothness the Titans hadn't shown all season until facing Miami. The 'Fins defense had no sacks and no turnovers and it was almost like they were barely there. That's a ton of money that was spent for what amounts to not much.
The line is going to have to find answers on offense for Miami. Tannehill is simply not equipped to thrive when in a state of constant struggle. He has talent, but requires more of a favorable and front-running scenario in which to thrive. When getting hit almost every play and scrambling around, he's not that capable. He's no Steve Young, let's put it that way. It doesn't help that the run-game usually creates nominal production. There is some good young talent in the pass-catching corps, with Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and others, but not when Tannehill isn't allowed to survey the field.
The Steelers again looked good with a 31-13 win over the Jets on Sunday. Their offense looks crisp and they're capable of playing good defense. The only thing causing some sense of pause was their 34-3 loss to the Eagles a few weeks ago, though two conclusive wins have made that more of a memory. Everyone is entitled to a clunker now and then, as this is not college football. A pro team can have some slip-ups from time to time.
The Steelers had another textbook day on offense this past Sunday, with all the key parts to the machine clicking. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns and has racked up two brilliant games in a row since losing to the Eagles, as he's been deathly accurate and mistake-free. Le'Veon Bell may not have had his best day on the ground, but still racked up 66 yards rushing, while hauling in 9 receptions. Antonio Brown and emerging red-zone threat TE Jesse James each caught touchdowns. The best development of this offense, in addition to the return of Bell from suspension, is the continued growth of WR Sammie Coates, who had 139 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns on Sunday.
DEPOSIT $100 AND GET $100 FREE TO BET THE STEELERS VS. DOLPHINS GAME AT ONE OF THE WEB'S OLDEST SPORTSBOOKS: BOVADA SPORTSBOOK
Other than the 34 points the Steelers gave up to the Eagles, they've been pretty robust, holding all four other opponents to 16 or fewer points. They've been especially stout against the run, though not so much against the pass. But they've been clutch, have a good red-zone presence, and are able to tighten their grip as the situation becomes more critical. And that's with some guys out, like Ryan Shazier, Robert Golden, and Cameron Heyward and it'll be good for the Steelers when those guys get back in the rotation. Still, if you throw away the Eagles game, they have managed to continue the positive momentum started last season.
Pittsburgh certainly looks to be toward the top of the conference in terms of overall power, while the Dolphins look to be among the worst teams in the whole league. Perception is everything and it's usually steeped in what's happening now. We see the Steelers covering spreads left and right, while we see the Dolphins steeped in dysfunction. It creates a contrasting image—perhaps more contrast than what truly exists. Call this a hunch, but I see the Dolphins waking up at home a bit and giving the Steelers a sweat. I'm taking the home dog.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Miami Dolphins plus 7.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Pittsburgh vs. Miami game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!