Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1)
The Bengals have been very good at home over the past 2 seasons. The Bengals are 12-2-1 at home since 2013, outscoring opponents by an average of 10.40 points per game, going 11-4 against the spread. They are also in a good spot because they are projected to be 2 point favorites in Cleveland next week. Teams are 116-84 ATS since 1989 as divisional home favorites before being divisional road favorites. Despite that, I like the Steelers this week for a few reasons.
For one, they are only 2 point favorites next week so the line could move to the Browns being favored next week depending on the results of this week. That would put the Bengals in a horrible spot as divisional home favorites are 20-52 ATS since 2002 before being divisional road underdogs. The Browns beat the Bengals earlier this season so that game on the horizon could potentially provide a distraction for them.
Two, this line is off because the Bengals are overrated. The Bengals don’t deserve to be favorites here. They rank 23rd, moving the chains at a 71.78% rate, as opposed to 73.37% for their opponents, a differential of -1.59%. The Steelers, meanwhile, rank 6th, moving the chains at a 77.86% rate, as opposed to 74.10% for their opponents, a differential of 3.75%. They’ve been the much better of these two teams this season. Even as good as the Bengals have been at home over the past 2 years, they only have a rate of moving the chains differential of 1.67% at home this season, moving them at a 74.49% rate, as opposed to 72.82% for their opponents. I’m not that confident in the Steelers, but they should be the right side.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 Cincinnati Bengals 23 Upset Pick +140
Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh +3