Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Date and Time: Sunday, December 18, 2016, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Week 15 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Steelers -3, 44
Steelers vs. Bengals TV Coverage: CBS
The Steelers have gone through the toughest part of their schedule and lived to tell about it. In fact, Mike Tomlin’s troops thrived and completely turned their season around by winning four in a row with three of those triumphs coming on the road. It started with back-to-back thumpings of Cleveland and Indianapolis and was followed up with solid wins and covers against the Giants and Bills.
With the Ravens falling in New England last Monday night, the Steelers are now the rightful owners of the top spot in the AFC North. On top of that, only New England and Kansas City are chalkier bets to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LI. This game marks Pittsburgh’s final road game in the regular season. They’re 4-3 straight up and against the spread in the visitor’s role to date.
While injuries have played a major role in the Bengals decline this season, the team just hasn’t played the type of ball needed to be competitive in a division dominated by the Steelers and Ravens for a bulk of the last decade. Andy Dalton has regressed in a big way. He had a healthy A.J. Green for a bulk of the season, yet the passing offense ranks outside of the top 10. The unit’s also scored an average of just 20.6 points per game; down considerably from last year’s near 26 point per game output.
The bad news doesn’t stop there however. Most troubling has been the defense that’s hardly played up to the standards last year’s outstanding unit played to. While it’s only given up an average of 14.8 points per game over the last month, it’s still allowed a smidge more than the offense has scored. On top of that, the rush defense has been nonexistent with it giving up nearly 120 yards per game and now has to deal with Le’Veon Bell who enters off 236 yards and three touchdown effort in the snow at Buffalo.
After the Steelers parlayed a terrible personal foul on Vontaze Burfict to cut the hearts out of all Bengals fans in the playoffs last year, many expected Cincy to be amped up and ready to bury Pittsburgh in the division rivals Week 2 clash. It hardly played out as such with the Steelers cruising to the 24-16 win and cover as 3 point favorites.
Andy Dalton has a great game on paper throwing for 366 yards and a touchdown, but most of those stats were accrued in garbage time with Cincinnati down double digits on two occasions in the second half. The Bengals gave up 94 yards rushing and 38 yards receiving to DeAngelo Williams and didn’t have to deal with Bell due to his suspension.
Steelers vs. Bengals Free Picks
Pittsburgh has taken three straight and gone 1-1-1 against the spread in the last three overall meetings, and also come out on top in its last three visits to Paul Brown Stadium. Because of that and the fact that they’re in a dogfight with Baltimore for division honors, better than 82 percent of the action on the NFL odds at BookMaker.eu are riding the visitors in this matchup.
Even with that the case, the pointspread hasn’t budged which means there is some heavy sharp action riding the home team. Pittsburgh has been an average team away from Heinz Field this season, while the Bengals are on a mini roll and have been a moneymaker in the month of December by covering 72 percent of their last 25 games. I took the points with the Bengals in the first go round and lost. I’m a glutton for punishment and will be taking them again on Sunday.
Steelers vs. Bengals ATS Pick: Bengals +3 at BookMaker.eu
Steelers vs. Bengals Score Prediction: Steelers 21 – Bengals 20