Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1)
The Steelers are getting a lot of attention and rightfully so. They are red hot right now in a league that lacks top level teams and they are arguably the 3rd scariest team in the league right now behind New England and Dallas. However, they are getting almost all of the public action right now as 3.5 point road favorites in Cincinnati, which I think is too many points. About 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less and the Bengals are quietly playing very strong football right now too, even without Giovani Bernard and AJ Green, who remain out with injuries.
In 3 games since losing Bernard and Green, the Bengals have narrowly lost in Baltimore and have gotten big blowout victories at home against Philadelphia and on the road in Cleveland. Since they’re pretty much out of the playoff race, as a result of some close early losses, the Bengals aren’t getting a lot of attention, but they’re a dangerous team right now and are still a talented bunch without Green and Bernard. They rank 12th in first down rate differential, which is just a couple of spots behind Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is obviously healthier right now, but I think we’re getting great value with the Bengals as 3.5 point home underdogs.
The Steelers haven’t been quite the same team on the road this season. Like they are here, in their final road game of the season, the Steelers were favored in their first 7 road games, but lost three of them straight up, in Philadelphia, Miami, and Baltimore. None of those games were even that close; the Ravens’ game was the closest one with a final score of 21-14. Cincinnati is just as good as any of those teams and even if they don’t win this game straight up they still have a good chance to cover the spread because they’re getting 3.5 points. They’re worth a bet at that number, especially since the odds makers stand to lose a lot of money if Pittsburgh covers.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 Cincinnati Bengals 23
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati +3.5