Monday Night Football Picks Week 15: Steelers at Bengals
For a second consecutive Monday night, we have a divisional showdown out of the AFC North, this time between the once undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers and the lowly Cincinnati Bengals. This game is going to have some big shoes to fill in order to duplicate the massively entertaining Ravens/Browns game we got last week. And unfortunately for bettors and football fans, I don’t see that happening. The Steelers have been somewhat figured out by two good defenses in two straight losses, while the Bengals offense, under Brandon Allen, has been atrocious, managing just seven points in two straight games.
Steelers at Bengals Betting Story Lines
As I mentioned, the previously unbeaten Steelers have lost two straight games, and there are a ton of questions surrounding what they are doing on offense. The Steelers simply cannot block anyone and give Ben Roethlisberger time to survey the field. And because of that, they’ve fallen into a trap of throwing the ball just two or three yards downfield and expecting the receivers to do all the work. That simply won’t work in the playoffs, especially against teams like the Chiefs (who the Steelers would have to go through at some point as the seeding is now), who can manufacture big chunk plays in a hurry. The offense is ranked near the bottom of the league in total yards (27th) and rushing yards (31st), although they do put up 26.8 points per game, which has them 12th. They are going to need to right the ship before the playoffs start, and this game – against a bad Bengals defense – could be just the game where they do so. Defensively, the Steelers have been steady. They rank in the Top 7 in all major categories, including first in points allowed, second in passing yards, third in total yards and sixth in rushing yards. A defensive touchdown in this contest wouldn’t come as a surprise.
As for the Bengals, you have to feel bad for them at least a little bit. They looked like they were starting to develop a winning mentality early in the season under the leadership of rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. When Burrow went down with his knee injury, the wind was taken out of the Bengals sail, and the team has sunk ever since. They’ve lost five straight games and have not scored more than 17 points in any of those games. The defense has been OK, as they’ve only given up more than 30 points twice. I don’t see how the Bengals are going to be able to trade shots with the Steelers in this contest just given the fact that they are outcoached, have the worse quarterback and have a bottom third defense in the league.
Steelers at Bengals Betting Odds and Trends
This game opened up as Steelers -11, but most sportsbooks are now offering the Steelers -13 (-110), with some -12.5’s out there, while the total dropped a point from 41.5 to 40.5. On the moneyline, the Steelers are between -800 to -1000, while the Bengals are between +550 to +650. If you are feeling crazy, the alternate lines offer up plenty of value as the Steelers on the alternate lines are -19.5 (+180), -23.5 (+300), or you can take Cincinnati by +3.5 for a solid +275. payout. The Steelers are 8-5 ATS after falling to the Bills last Sunday. The Steelers come into this game on a 10-4 ATS run vs the AFC North and a 16-3-2 ATS run in Cincinnati. The Bengals are 7-6 ATS after getting run over by the Cowboys on Sunday. They come into this game on a 1-4 ATS run in their last five as an underdog and 1-5 ATS in their last six games in December.
Steelers at Bengals Football Betting Predictions
If ever there was a “get right” game for the Steelers, this would have to be it. They have a clear advantage on both sides of the football and will need to regain their confidence over the last three weeks in order to head into the playoffs with some momentum. It’s clear to me that the Steelers’ offense isn’t the same as it was early in the season, but they would do extremely well to try and establish the run early and get Conner going. I think the defense should be too much for the Bengals. And if Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner don’t come out with an extremely aggressive game plan, they are missing a great opportunity to push the limits. I generally hate laying double digits on the road. However, the Steelers not only need to win this game for the win column, but they need to dominate this game to boost the team’s morale.
Play: Pittsburgh Steelers -13
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