Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8)
The Bengals have been dominant at home this season, winning all 6 of their games by an average of 16.00 points per game, including victories over the Colts, Patriots, and the Aaron Rodgers led Packers. They’ve also covered in all 6 of those games. However, they haven’t been the same team on the road. They are 3-4 on the road, including losses in Cleveland, Baltimore, Miami, and Chicago and a near loss in Buffalo. Their only impressive road games have been in Detroit, where they won by a field goal, and in San Diego, where they won by a touchdown, their only road game of the season where they’ve won by more than a touchdown.
And yet, they’re favored by 2.5 points here in Pittsburgh. They are 1-3 ATS as road favorites this season, including 0-2 ATS as divisional road favorites. They lost in Cleveland and Baltimore, despite beating the Browns by 21 (they haven’t played the Ravens there yet). Why couldn’t they lose in Pittsburgh against a Steelers team that only lost by 10 in Cincinnati earlier this season?
The Steelers are better than their 5-8 record would suggest. They are moving the chains at a 71.18% rate, as opposed to 70.26% for their opponents, a 0.92% differential that is 13th in the NFL. They’ve just been killed by a 1-5 record in games decided by a touchdown or less and a 36.67% fumble recovery percentage. The Bengals are very good as well, moving the chains at a 72.60% rate, as opposed to 66.58% for their opponents, a 6.02% differential that is 4th in the NFL. However, they just aren’t the same on the road. If we were getting field goal protection with the Steelers, it’d be a bigger play, but I still like the Steelers’ chances of winning this straight up.
Pittsburgh Steelers 16 Cincinnati Bengals 13 Upset Pick +120
Pick against spread: Pittsburgh +2.5