Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5)
The Bengals lost 42-21 at home to the Steelers a few weeks ago in Cincinnati, but they’re in a great revenge spot here as a result. Divisional home favorites are 27-52 ATS since 2002 against a divisional opponent that they previously beat as road underdogs during that same regular season. It’s a weird trend and it’s a little complicated, but it makes sense when you think about it. In divisional matchups where the homefield advantage decides who is the favorite, generally those two teams are essentially even. Divisional opponents that are essentially even generally split the season series. That seems to happen even if the road team pulls the upset in the first matchup, as the road underdog wins about half the time (40-42) in the rematch and covers at that aforementioned 2/3rds rate.
The Chargers are also in this spot this week, but, unlike the Chargers, I’m not taking the Bengals here for a few reasons. For one, the Bengals haven’t been as good in December as the Chargers have been recently. Two, the Bengals aren’t in their 2nd of two road games, like the Chargers are, a good spot. Three, this line is way off. The Bengals exorcised some of their primetime game demons last week in an impressive home victory over the Broncos, but they still rank just 18th in rate of moving the chains differential, moving the chains at a 71.96% rate, as opposed to 72.43% for their opponents, a differential of -0.47%. The Steelers, meanwhile, rank 6th, moving the chains at a 78.52% rate, as opposed to 73.94% for their opponents, a differential of 4.57%. I’m going with the Steelers, though I’m not confident.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 Cincinnati Bengals 20
Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh -3.5