Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (3-2 SU, 3-2
ATS), Week 7 NFL, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, October 24, 2010, Sun Life
Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla., TV: CBS
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Pit -3/Mia +3
Over/Under Total: 40
The AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers will try to continue
winning games quietly when they travel to the Sunshine State of
Florida to take on the Miami Dolphins, who are still looking for
their first win at home, in Sun Life Stadium this Sunday in an early
game on CBS.
Miami continued to win impressively on the road with last weeks
23-20 overtime victory over Green Bay at Lambeau Field. The Dolphins
defense sacked Aaron Rodgers five times and forced an interception,
the offense rolled up over 380 total yards and special teams didnt
allow any mishaps to occur as the Dolphins won for the third time in
three tries on the road this season.
But in order to win at home the Dolphins will have to step up their
game to beat the Steelers, 28-10 winners over the Cleveland Browns in
an AFC North rival game last Sunday. In the late 1970s the theme song
We are Family became famous with the citys baseball team, but now
that Ben Roethlisberger is back in uniform the Steelers football team
could certainly steal that tune as everyone associated with the
Steelers these days is humming a happy note.
The Dolphins will be playing for a little respect too, since
oddsmakers originally opened the game with the visiting Steelers as 3-
point favorites on the road. With a couple of days of betting already
open at the window the point spread has yet to move in either direction.
The over/under total opened at 40 and is still listed at that number
at a bunch of sportsbooks on the Web, but there are just as
many books that have raised the total to 40.5, so look around for the
hook if you desire.
These two teams mirror each other is so many ways, but the most obvious is how they approach winning football games with a ball-
controlling running game and a punishing defense.
On offense the Dolphins could have a hard time getting their offense
started this week since the Steelers defense is the top run-stuffing
unit in the NFL allowing just 63.8 yards per game on the ground.
Without Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams getting yards on early downs the pressure will fall on quarterback Chad Henne to make plays
throwing the ball, something Henne (7 TD 5 INT, 85.3 QB rating) has
struggled to do at times, especially at home.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are happy to get their gunslinger
Roethlisberger back because his presence alone will open things up
for the offense. Big Ben was solid in his debut against the Browns
last week (257 yards, 3 TD) even though he was not as sharp at times
(59.2 comp. %). Once Roethlisberger heats up running back Rashard
Mendenhall will see his opportunities increase as he will see less
and less of the eight- and nine-man fronts that he was regularly
seeing with Charlie Batch as the starter.
But this game is likely going to be determined by defense.
Pittsburgh is back at the top of the league this year in scoring
defense, allowing just 12 points per game. Last week the Steelers
produced five sacks and three turnovers against the Browns and rookie
QB Colt McCoy, so Henne can expect lots of heat when he drops back to
pass, heat that will only get worse when the Dolphins run game stalls
and makes the Dolphins one-dimensional.
The Dolphins defense is actually better than Pittsburghs in a few
categories, including 3rd-down defense (34.9 % -to- 38.2 %) and time
of possession allowed (28:23-to-29:42), so they should be able to
contain Roethlisberger and make it a long game. If Miami can
eliminate the big plays that have hurt them on the scoreboard (22.4
ppg 23rd), the Fins might be able to stay in striking distance late
into the game.
Pittsburgh beat the Dolphins in Miami last January in the final game
of the regular season, 30-24, to run their winning streak over them
to six games (dating back to 2000). The Dolphins scored twice late in
the game to make the score closer than the game actually was, with
the Steelers covering the point spread as (coincidentally) 3-point
Two of those six straight wins were in Miami, where the Steelers are
also 2-0 ATS (4-2 ATS overall in those six games).
The under also is forming a solid betting trend as it is 7-2-1 in the
last 10 games, including a 3-1-1 mark in the last five played in Miami.
Badgers Pick: The Dolphins have remained in every game this season except for their special teams debacle versus the Patriots on Monday
Night. I think they can hang in there again this week, and maybe even
spring the surprise on the Steelers. Im taking the home dog with a
wager on Miami plus the 3-points.