Line analysis: Dolphins-Steelers

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Line analysis: Dolphins-Steelers

In a matchup of  two of the six AFC teams sitting at 5-7 or 6-6 and fighting for the second wild-card spot, the 5-7 Steelers opened as 3.5-point favorites vs. the 6-6 Dolphins. With the game being played in Pittsburgh, oddsmakers are essentially saying the Steelers are the better team by the slightest of margins when factoring in the three points they’re receiving for being at home.

While it isn’t often that the public and wiseguys find themselves on the same side of a game – something the sportsbooks always seek to avoid – it would appear that’s the case in this contest. After opening at Pittsburgh -3.5, the line had dropped to -3 with -120 juice at the major Vegas books (LVH, Wynn, William Hill properties) by Monday afternoon. As of Wednesday afternoon, the line was holding at those prices, with a whopping 73 percent of tickets having come in on the Miami side.

The public has a short memory and its bets tend to reflect that, which is why the Dolphins – after trouncing the Jets on the road last week – are racking up such a significant ticket count. Couple that with the Steelers getting down big vs. the Ravens in a nationally-televised primetime game on Thanksgiving, and the formula is there for heavy public action on the Miami side in this one.

What’s noteworthy is the influx of some early sharp money on the Dolphins, as evidenced by that Monday line move onto the key number of 3. Wiseguys love getting an early +3.5 because it opens the door for the opportunity to middle the game if the number travels past -3 to -2.5.

Although the sharps and public are on the Dolphins for totally different reasons, this game is shaping up as a major headache for the books, as they may have no choice but to move the number to 2.5 if recreational bettors continue to pound the Dolphins. At that point, they know the wiseguys will reverse course and lay Pittsburgh at -2.5.

With both teams fighting for their playoff lives and playing relatively well, this game figures to be tight. If the Steelers have the ball late in a tie game, you can be certain the books will be sweating.

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