Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2-1) vs Cincinnati Bengals (4-1)
NFL: Sunday, October 14, 1:00 PM EST
Line: Bengals -1.5, 51.5
Last Meeting: 12/4/17 PIT 23 CIN 20
NFL Spread Pick by Charley Founds
Two AFC North rivals take the field on Sunday afternoon when the Cincinnati Bengals host the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati is off to great start with their only blemish on the season coming in Week 3 at Carolina. Pittsburgh has fought back to the .500 mark after a blowout win last week vs Atlanta. This line opened with the Bengals favored by -2.5 points but it has moved down to -1.5 at the time of publishing.
Pittsburgh has dealt with some off the field distractions between Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell holding out. RB James Conner has played well in Bell’s absence, rushing for 342 yards, 5 TDs and averaging 4.1 yards per rush. The Steelers offense is always a threat with Ben Roethlisberger under center and WR Antonio Brown coming off his best performance on the season, catching passes for 101 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The biggest question mark surrounding this team has been their defense. However, if last week was any indicator the Steelers defense may be on the rise. Pittsburgh sacked Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan a total of six times for a loss of 43 yards and limited Atlanta’s rushing attack to only 62 yards. The challenge for the Steelers is to prove their defense can put up such a performance on a consistent basis and most notably against a Bengals offense that is averaging 30 PPG which ranks them 4th in the NFL.
Is this the Cincinnati Bengals team that was forecasted to play competitive football for the past five years? The Bengals are leading the AFC North but they haven’t made the playoffs since 2015 and they haven’t won a playoff game since 1990. Perhaps this season is the year? QB Andy Dalton has thrown for 1445 yards, 12 TDs to 7 interceptions, the ladder is an area he will need to improve upon as the Bengals make a playoff push. Defensively, the Bengals are allowing 26.0 points and 394.8 total yards per game this season, which are not numbers that scream playoff team. This unit did receive a jolt last week when Linebacker Vontaze Burfict returned from his four game suspension and recorded 7 tackles. Burfict does give this defense an edge and he has a history vs the Steelers adding to the rivalry.
As good as the Bengals have played this season, you have to account for recent history in which the Steelers have won 6 straight and nine of the last ten games. The Steelers are an astounding 14-3-2 ATS in their last 19 meetings in Cincinnati and the Steelers are 24-9-2 ATS in their last 35 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Pittsburgh has proven in the past they can win on the road and sometimes teams that have off the field issues, find solace in playing on the road. The Bengals have been the better team up to this point, however, I have a sneaking suspicion that the Steelers will turn around their season with a big road win on Sunday vs the Bengals. Take the Steelers +1.5 and look for this dog to win outright on the road.
Steelers vs Bengals Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +1.5
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