Raiders vs Steelers Odds, Prediction: Expert Christmas Eve Pick

Raiders vs Steelers Odds, Prediction: Expert Christmas Eve Pick article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Jacobs (left), Najee Harris (right).

  • NFL Christmas Eve action on Saturday concludes with Raiders vs Steelers.
  • The Steelers are favored by two points for what will be freezing conditions in Pittsburgh.
  • John LanFranca analyzes the game and makes his betting pick below.

Raiders vs Steelers Odds

Saturday, Dec. 24
8:15 p.m. ET
NFL Network
Raiders Odds
-110o / -110u
Steelers Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Pittsburgh and Las Vegas carry momentum into their Saturday night primetime matchup. The Steelers have won three of their past four games, and the Raiders have won four of their past five. Both squads currently sit two games outside of the playoffs, with this being a de facto elimination game in the AFC.

In his career, Derek Carr has performed well on the road, boasting a 51-42-1 (54.8%) overall record against the spread, with a juicy 11-4 (73.3%) mark as a road dog of 2.5 points or fewer. Fading Mike Tomlin in the month of December has also been profitable, as his Steelers are just 10-17 against the number in this month specifically since 2017.

With all of that said, it will undoubtedly be an emotional night in Pittsburgh, so let’s dive in and find the best angle to attack this game.

Raiders vs. Steelers Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Raiders and Steelers match up statistically:

Raiders vs. Steelers DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA1613
Pass DVOA1818
Rush DVOA78
Overall DVOA1832
Pass DVOA2131
Rush DVOA1322

Kenny Pickett will return to the lineup for the Steelers, but that doesn't necessarily mean that is what is best for the offense right now.

Under Pickett, the Steelers offense has a -12.2% DVOA; in contrast, the offense has a +3.3% DVOA under Mitch Trubisky. Luckily, regardless of who is playing quarterback, the rushing attack has been rolling.

Pittsburgh has rushed for 144.3 yards per game in its last seven, a huge increase from the 87.9 yards it averaged prior to Week 8. And since their Week 9 bye, this offense is the second best in football at converting third downs at 54.8%.

With the Steelers still 20th in offensive red-zone efficiency and last in average length of touchdown distance, running the ball effectively doesn’t necessarily translate to a high number of points. Rather, their commitment to the run — and their success — lends itself to many sustained, clock-eating drives that will shorten the game. 

Bet Las Vegas vs. Pittsburgh at FanDuel

Since their bye, the Steelers have the league’s ninth-best defense (per DVOA). During that span, however, they have only faced one of the league’s top 14 quarterbacks according to QBR — Joe Burrow. Burrow averaged 8.9 yards per attempt in that contest en route to Cincinnati scoring 37 points. This unit also ranks 20th in DVOA defending their opponents’ top wide receiver, which does not bode well against the likes of Davante Adams.

The Steelers defense has fared better against the run than it has versus the pass. Pittsburgh ranks fifth in yards per carry allowed on the season (4.1). The front seven of the Steelers defense will have their hands full with the league’s leading rusher in Josh Jacobs.

The Raiders offense ranks first in the league in adjusted line yards (5.15), according to Football Outsiders. With the Steelers only stuffing about 18% of runs at or behind the line of scrimmage, the Raiders should once again rely heavily on their bell-cow back.

Las Vegas averages an impressive 5.8 yards per play this season, which ranks eighth overall. However, the Raiders have struggled badly translating red-zone opportunities into touchdowns. They have only converted 48.7% of their red-zone scoring chances into touchdowns, 28th in the league; when on the road, that number drops to an abysmal 38.1%.

Much like the Steelers, I expecting the Raiders to move the chains with their ground game, with the offense ultimately sputtering when they do find themselves close to the end zone.

Another hurdle for both teams will be the weather. When assessing several games, becoming an amateur meteorologist is part of the handicap. It will be bitterly cold in Pittsburgh, with wind chills approaching zero degrees, temperatures around 12 degrees for much of the game and 15 mph sustained winds throughout.

This is just another factor that leads me to believe we will see a heavy dose of Jacobs and Najee Harris. This isn’t the type of game that’ll feature dozens of clock stoppages due to incompletions. Expect conservative gameplans and a rather quick game.

Betting Picks

The Steelers and Raiders rank 18th and 24th, respectively, in situation-neutral pace, with both teams averaging greater than 31 seconds per play. Basically we have two slow-paced teams that will feature their running games.

This will be a closely contested game, but I tend to lean towards the more trustworthy offense of the Raiders. The best way to attack this game is to use a teaser that gets the Raiders side through the key numbers of 3,4 and 7; teasing it with the under also gets bettors through key numbers on the total of 41,43 and 44.

Pick: Tease Raiders to +8.5 or better with a total of 44.5 or better

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