Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
The Steelers got a huge 38-16 win in Washington on Monday Night Football week 1, led by an offense that moved the chains at an 82.35% rate. They seem to have picked up right where they left off last season when Ben Roethlisberger was healthy. In his 12 starts last season, the Steelers moved the chains at a 75.00% rate, which would have been 5th best in the league over the whole season. Add in a solid defense and they’re a very formidable opponent once again this season. On top of that, teams tend to carryover the momentum from a big Monday Night win into the following week, as teams who win by 21+ on Monday Night Football are 34-15 ATS the following week since 2002.
Despite that, they’re favored by just a field goal here at home. The Bengals were one of the better teams in the league last season, especially before Andy Dalton went down for the season with a broken thumb week 14, but are not the same team this season. They lost two of their top-3 wide receivers (Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu) in free agency, as well as a pair of starters in the secondary (Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson). On top of that, they’re without talented tight end Tyler Eifert, talented linebacker Vontaze Burfict, first round pick William Jackson, and fourth round pick Andrew Billings with injury, after barely having any injuries outside of the quarterback position last year.
This line suggests these two teams are even. I disagree. I think the Steelers are better by a significant amount and, in a great spot coming off of a huge Monday Night Football win, are likely to win by a field goal or more. As long as this line is right at a field goal, this is my Pick of the Week. In some places, this line is 3.5. I’d still put money on 3.5, but it’d be a smaller play considering how many games are decided by exactly a field goal (1 in 6). I’d suggest paying to get -3 if you can get it at -125 or better.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Cincinnati Bengals 17
Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh -3
Confidence: Pick of the Week