Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals(5-7-1 SU, 5-8 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date/Time: Sunday, December 18th, 2016 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium - Cincinnati, OH
by Bob, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PIT -3 / CIN +3
Over/Under Total: 44
This Sunday at 1:00pm there is an AFC North battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals in Paul Brown Stadium.
Pittsburgh comes in at 8-5 overall and first place in the AFC North a game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens while the Bengals come in at 5-7-1 and in third place in the same division. The Bengals playoff hopes are all but dead but they would love nothing more than to beat Pittsburgh and ruin their hopes of winning the division. This is the second meeting of 2016 between these two teams with Pittsburgh winning the first match-up 24-16.
The line has the Steelers as as three point favorite over the Bengals on the road with the over/under being set at 44 combined points between the two. As of now, much of the action is on the Pittsburgh Steelers to get the road cover. 71% of the betting action as of Wednesday afternoon liked Pittsburgh with only 29% taking the Bengals in Paul Brown Stadium. As for the total points, the public likes the over. 58% of the betting action likes this game to go over the posted 44 point total. In this series, the Steelers have covered the spread five of the last seven games and one of the two "non covers" was a push that took place in January of last season.
After losing four straight games, the Pittsburgh Steelers have now won four in a row and have become one of the hottest teams in not just the AFC but the entire NFL. Statistically, the Steelers are also one of the better teams on both sides of the ball. Pittsburgh ranks 8th in the NFL in passing yards at 261 per game and 9th in rushing with 112.8 on the ground per contest. On the defensive side of the ball, the boys from Steel-Town are ranked 9th in the league is points allowed at just under 20 per game and the offense is putting up 24.2 a game which puts them just in the league's upper half. This is a good team and as of late they have become one of the more consistent teams in the NFL. The key to this weekend is to keep this momentum going. The Bengals have had a letdown of a season and are pretty much done. Not only that, one of their biggest playmakers in AJ Green is still questionable after suffering a hamstring injury a few weeks back. The Steelers have much more to play for being up in the division by just one game. Pittsburgh needs to come into Paul Brown Stadium, jump up big early, and get the crowd out of the game. Not only will the crowd be out of it, but the Bengals would fold as well seeing as how they have only won two of their last six games.
With all the talk about how Pittsburgh is the better team and how Cincy has nothing much to play for, this is a rivalry and the Bengals would love to make things harder on the Steelers in their quest to win the division. Cincinnati plays Pittsburgh tough in most games. Three of the last four games between these two have been decided by one score. Cincinnati not only plays well against the Steelers, but their offense is still one of the better ones in the NFL. Led by Andy Dalton, the Bengals pass for over 255 yards per game and the run game is even better ranked 8th in the league averaging 115 yards on the ground which is led by Jeremy Hill. This Cincinnati team in my opinion is much better than their record shows. Three of the losses suffered by Cincinnati has been by less than six points. Also, if you take a close look at the schedule, the Bengals have not had an easy go of it. They have played the Steelers already once, the Patriots who lead their division, Cowboys who lead their division, the Redskins, Dolphins, and Bills who are all legit teams. Cincinnati is no pushover.
If the Bengals want this game to be close and if they plan to beat Pittsburgh they need to get that 8th ranked run game going. Cincy will want to keep the Pittsburgh offense on the sideline while Andy Dalton and company runs the show. The Bengals must also win the turnover margin in this game. If they lose this and let Pittsburgh get easy points, they have no shot. If they make Pittsburgh put the ball on the ground this could get real fun on Sunday afternoon.
Although I think Pittsburgh wins this game, there is just way too much action on the Steelers with a line that has not moved much since it opened. What do the books know that we dont? It is almost like they want the action on Pittsburgh which tells me stay far far away. I actually believe with or without AJ Green, that the Bengals make this game interesting and something tells me they win. I do not know why I think this way but I do. Cincinnati will beat Pittsburgh 23-21 in an ugly four quarter game.
Bob's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE CINCINNATI BENGALS +3 AT HOME OVER THE STEELERS
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