Sunday Night Football Betting Preview

Steelers at Chiefs

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Each week of the 2021-22 NFL season, TheLines will provide a betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game. Here we look at the SNF betting odds and dish out a breakdown of the playoff matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs. The game will be aired on NBC with kickoff scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.

SNF betting odds and analysis

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs – 8:20 p.m. ET

The Chiefs (12-5) sputtered during the first half of the season before rattling off an 8-game win streak that culminated with a 36-10 beatdown of the Steelers (9-7-1) at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 16. The following week, KC fell in Cincinnati, 34-31, to effectively lose out on the No. 1 seed in the AFC, and the Chiefs barely got past the Broncos, 28-24, the following Saturday to hold their position as the second seed. The Chiefs have opened as 12.5-point favorites with an implied total of 46.5 points assigned to this game.

The Steelers made the playoffs in rather miraculous fashion after starting the season 5-5-1 with a tie against the hapless Lions. Ben Roethlisberger recognized that this is almost certainly his final season and he’s been a step slow to say the least with an 86.4 passer rating, 10 interceptions, and 11 fumbles (five lost) on the season. On the road, Big Ben took 20 sacks for a net loss of 144 yards, and fumbled seven times (losing three).

Kansas City’s defense carried this team through a rough stretch when Patrick Mahomes was clearly trying to do a bit too much and turning the ball over at a high rate. Mahomes reigned it in with a 17:3 TD:INT ratio while completing 67.6% of his passes at 7.8 yards per attempt over his final eight starts this season.

The Chiefs defense compiled 19 sacks with eight interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries, and three TDs during that 8-game stretch. KC is holding visiting QBs to 6.1 adjusted net yards per attempt with a 13:9 TD:INT ratio and a 65.2% completion rate at Arrowhead this year.

Here are the betting trends of note for both the Steelers and the Chiefs from recent seasons:

  • The Chiefs are 8-11 against the spread (ATS) when listed as home favorites since 2020
  • The Chiefs are 3-2 ATS with a rest advantage this season
  • Chiefs games against AFC foes are 9-3 to the Over this season
  • Steelers games are 3-1-1 to the Under when they’ve been playing with a rest disadvantage this season
  • The Steelers are 10-6-1 to the Under this season
  • The Steelers are 8-4 ATS against AFC foes this season
  • The Steelers are 3-5 straight up on the road this season

Live betting angles: Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City

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SNF prop search tool

Looking to bet on props for Sunday Night Football? Use our prop search tool to find the best odds across legal sportsbooks in the US.

Steelers vs. Chiefs game matchup

The Steelers strength is also on the defensive side of the ball, with T.J. Watt leading a fearsome front seven. They rank second in adjusted sack rate (8.3%), racked up the most sacks (55) in the NFL, and rank eighth in DVOA pass defense.

Yet Pittsburgh’s run defense crumbled down the stretch and the Steelers defensive line now ranks dead last in RB Yards (4.97) allowed per carry, with the team slotted at 27th in DVOA rush defense. After losing Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu to season-ending injuries, Pittsburgh plummeted to the bottom of the league in run defense, and allowed 164.9 rushing YPG on the road.

Kansas City is averaging a modest 4.3 YPC at home and passing at the fifth-highest rate (62%) this season. Mahomes has posted more modest numbers at home with an 89.5 passer rating and 15:7 TD:INT ratio while averaging 6.7 yards per attempt over nine starts at Arrowhead. However, he does own a 17:2 TD:INT ratio and 109.8 passer rating while averaging 293.4 passing YPG over seven home starts in his postseason career.

The Steelers are also a pass-heavy team with Roethlisberger targeting Dionate Johnson first and foremost. Rookie TE Pat Freiermuth has emerged as an excellent weapon in the red zone, and Pittsburgh rotates deep threats James Washington, Ray-Ray McLoud, and Chase Claypool on the perimeter.

Pittsburgh is 38-24-1 ATS when listed as road underdogs since Roethlisberger became the starter in 2005. In 10 playoff games on the road, Roethlisberger has posted a 13:7 TD:INT ratio with a 64% completion rate, and taken 21 sacks. His Steelers are 2-4 over their last six road games in the postseason, with the last win coming in 2017 at Arrowhead.

Kansas City’s biggest weakness is also in run defense, as they coughed up 4.8 YPC and 117.6 rushing YPG this season. However, the Chiefs were much better in red zone defense than in years past and only allowed five rushing TDs over nine home games.

While Mahomes and his receivers have had some lulls this year, KC still leads the NFL in conversion rate on third down (52.2%) and fourth down (66.7%) while averaging the fourth-most PPG (28.4). The Steelers 18th in conversion rate on third down (38.9%), 24th in fourth-down conversion rate (47.6%) and 23rd in TD conversion rate (54%) in the red zone.

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How to watch Sunday Night Football

NBC will air all Sunday Night Football games.

The Week 18 TV spot on Jan. 9, 2022 will remain open until much later in the season, as potential playoff battles will factor into the league’s flexible scheduling decisions.

Games are also streamed all season on NBC’s website and the NBCSports mobile apps. Most packages on streaming services such as fuboTV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV include NBC.

SNF drew an average of 20.5 million viewers in 2019. It was Sunday Night Football’s best ratings in four years.

SNF’s Week 1 TV ratings in 2020 were not great, however, as there was a 15% drop in viewership from the previous year. The game in 2020 featured Cowboys vs. Rams, while the 2019 opener was the Patriots vs. Steelers.

SNF betting tips

How to bet Sunday Night Football like a sharp

The hype and hoopla circulating Sunday Night Football can distract casual bettors. Analysts, reporters and local news crews have a full week to pump out every different angle to the game and dig for stories. Players can add to the mirage on social media whether by talking up their own team or taking too many shots at the opposition.

Learn to separate the hype from fact and don’t fall victim to live-betting out of boredom if the game ends up being a dud. Look at the lines early in the week to assess the odds before the public money starts pouring in and either bet on the numbers set by the books or sit and wait to see if the line shifts in your favor. Reassess later in the week and bet against the public if the line shifts too heavily based on nothing more than favoritism.

The standalone nature of the game also draws in more bets. The entire nation is focused on one single game, which, more often than not, is no bigger than the dozen or so games that preceded it that week. Never bet just to add to the excitement (or create excitement around a lackluster matchup) if wanting long-term success. Wait to see if the favorite falls behind early and then is given a high number as a sudden in-game underdog. Carefully browse through lines on prop bets, looking at different sportsbooks and pick the best value. Shop around and pick on a book that seems out of touch with the others. Don’t scoff at an easier play on the point spread in search of a big payday with a heavy underdog winning outright.

Sunday Night Football edges

Primetime games often see home teams too heavily favored. Do the research, keep up to date with injury news and look at the matchup in a vacuum to see if the odds check out. Don’t look too much at individual players returning to their hometown, being reported as having “extra motivation” or who may be close to statistical milestones. Few wide receivers, for example, can seriously impact a game on their own, especially when facing a top corner who’s fully aware of their motivation in the one-on-one matchup.

Look for teams and especially head coaches who thrive under the spotlight and more importantly the additional preparation time. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots receive more primetime slots than the average team. This experience provides an edge in certain matchups against teams who may be overwhelmed from added media attention and interview requests.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Sunday Night Football start?

Sunday Night Football kicks off every week from Sept. 12 through Jan. 9 at 8:20 p.m. Eastern. The ‘Football Night in America’ pregame show begins at 7 p.m. Eastern. NBC first started airing SNF for the 2006 season, taking over from ESPN.

How to stream Sunday Night Football?

Never miss a SNF game when you’re on the go with the NBCSports mobile apps. Cord-cutters can also use streaming services such as Hulu which includes NBC in most of its packages.

Who are the SNF announcers?

Booth announcers Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (color commentary) provide the broadcast each week. Field reporter Michele Tayofa and rules expert Terry McAulay join in. Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio make up the pregame show.

Who was the original Sunday Night Football broadcast crew?

Cris Collinsworth replaced legendary former head coach John Madden as the color commentator beside Michaels in 2009.

Who sings the Sunday Night Football theme song?

Country music star Carrie Underwood has been singing the SNF theme since 2013. She replaced fellow country star Faith Hill, who took over from pop star Pink after just one season in 2007. The current song is titled “Game On”. Previous versions were “Oh, Sunday Night” and “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” in 2016.