This Sunday the Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1, 6-5-1 ATS) will host the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5, 5-7 ATS) in a huge AFC North showdown in Week 14. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 EST at Paul Brown Stadium and will be televised locally on CBS. Oddsmakers currently have the Bengals listed as a 3-point home favorite with the total set at 47 points.
Just wen it looked like the AFC North was going to come down to the wire, the Bengals have a chance to really grab hold of the division with a win this week. Cincinnati is up 2 games in the loss column on the three other teams with 4 to play. Pittsburgh will have a lot of say, as this will be the first of two matchups between these two teams over the final 4 weeks of the regular season. The Steelers have won 6 of the last 8 in the series, but the two teams have split each of the last two years.
Early Lean on Bengals -3
Cincinnati comes into this game off a less than impressive 14-13 win at Tampa Bay, which I believe has them undervalued at home against the Steelers. I wasn’t surprised at all to see the Bengals not play up to their potential last week, as that was their third straight road game. Anytime you can win three straight away from home in consecutive weeks, it’s an impressive accomplishment.
Another thing that’s likely playing into this small line is the last time the Bengals played at home, they were embarrassed 3-24 by the Browns. However, that’s the only loss Cincinnati has suffered at home all season. The Bengals quietly have one of the better home field advantages in the league and rarely will you find them only a field goal. Cincinnati is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 home games after playing their last game on the road and have won these contests by an average score of 32.8 to 17.6 (+15.2 ppg).
Cincinnati is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 home games after playing their last game on the road and have won these contests by an average score of 32.8 to 17.6 (+15.2 ppg).
A lot of people are going to expect the Steelers to bounce back from last week’s poor showing against the Saints, especially considering Pittsburgh hasn’t lost consecutive games all season. However, the big reason the Steelers haven’t lost two straight is that their four previous losses have been followed by games against the likes of the Panthers, Jaguars, Texans and Titans.
What stands out to me about the Steelers is they have been a completely different team offensively on the road than they have at home. Pittsburgh is only averaging 18.3 ppg on the road, which is well below their season average of 26.7. This really becomes concerning when you factor in how easy of a road schedule the Steelers have had. Pittsburgh’s road slate to this point has featured the Ravens, Browns, Panthers Jaguars, Jets and Titans. Adding to this is they got destroyed in their two division games away from home, losing 6-26 at Baltimore and 10-31 at Cleveland.
We also see a strong system in play favoring the Bengals. Teams with a line of +3 to -3 who are off an extremely close road win of 3-points or less who have won 60% to 75% of their games and are going up against an opponent with a winning record are 38-16 (70%) ATS since 1983.