Pittsburgh Steelers-Kansas City Chiefs Picks Against the Spread

Senior analyst Larry Hartstein breaks down a compelling AFC playoff matchup as the surging Steelers visit the rested Chiefs.

 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-1.5, O/U 44.5), Sun., 8:20 p.m. ET

No wonder this is the smallest spread of the playoffs. And thanks to Mother Nature, it has the weekend's lowest total and a new start time.

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Sun 01/15 8:20 PM EST
Pittsburgh +110 O/U 45.5
Kansas City -130 -2.5
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VIEW FULL GAME ANALYSIS

Pittsburgh has won eight straight (6-1-1 ATS) and, with its big three healthy, looked unstoppable last week against Miami. The Steelers also demolished the Chiefs 43-14 in Pittsburgh three months ago.

Ben Roethlisberger's foot doesn't appear to be an issue, as he practiced in full Thursday after being in a walking boot early in the week.

On the other side, the Chiefs are rested, healthy, and at home.

They have Andy Reid's amazing preparation edge going for them. With an extra week to prepare, Reid's teams are 16-2.

And they have the biggest X-factor, Tyreek Hill. A blazing rookie out of West Alabama, Hill erupted for 12 touchdowns -- six receiving, three rushing and three on returns.

If both teams play their "A" game, the Steelers win.

But the question is whether Big Ben will put the ball up for grabs too often, enabling K.C. to capitalize.

The Chiefs led the NFL with 33 takeaways, with elite corner Marcus Peters getting six interceptions. He'll see a lot of Antonio Brown on Sunday.

MOTHER NATURE'S FURY

There's an Ice Warning in effect until midnight Sunday in Kansas City, which could make game conditions rather hazardous. The most significant icing is expected Saturday night into Sunday morning, then rain is in the forecast.

The total dropped a full three points to 43.5 before bouncing back upward. The Steelers and Chiefs both feature strong rushing attacks, which could mean a low-scoring slugfest.

The game time was pushed back to 8:20pm ET in the interest of public safety. The field conditions could still be quite sloppy and the Ice Warning will still be in effect. There's still a 50% chance of precipitation at kickoff with temperatures hovering right around freezing.

LINE MOVEMENT

BookMaker.eu opened at Pittsburgh -1 before taking the game off the board briefly due to concern over Big Ben's foot.

"We put it back up at a pick-'em and then received some smart money on Kansas City, which prompted the move to -1," BookMaker odds consultant Scott Cooley said. "More action followed the next few days and we eventually moved to -3, but that's when we saw some wiseguys get involved on the other side.

"Currently, we are at Chiefs -1.5 with the money favoring that side 60-40."

The total has fallen steeply, from 46.5 to 43.5, as forecasters predict freezing rain or sleet.

TRENDS

The home team is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings, but the Chiefs are 1-7 ATS in their last eight playoff games.

The Steelers are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games overall and 4-0 ATS in their past four road games. But they're 0-3-2 ATS in their last five road playoff games.

The Over is 21-6-1 in Pittsburgh's last 28 January games. The Under is 38-16 in Kansas City's last 54 home games.

SELECTION

SportsLine's No. 1 NFL expert, Mike Tierney, has released strong plays on the side and total. Get all Steelers-Chiefs picks here.