This Sunday the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) will host the Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) in a key AFC North division matchup. Kickoff is set for 4:25 EST at Heinz Field and will be televised locally on CBS.
Oddsmakers currently have Pittsburgh listed as a 5.5-point home favorite with the total set at 40.5 points. Click here for a complete Week 7 NFL betting schedule for game odds and links to our betting previews.
Bengals vs Steelers Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview
Cincinnati will be returning from their bye week looking to get back to .500 after a dreadful 0-3 start. Last time out the Bengals held on for a 20-16 home win over the Bills, covering as a 3-point favorite. That’s 3 straight covers for the Bengals.
Pittsburgh went on the road and beat the Chiefs 19-13 as a 3-point dog. The Steelers handed KC their first loss of the season and did so in rather convincing fashion despite the close final score. Pittsburgh outgained the Chiefs 439-251 and had a 23 to 12 edge in first downs.
This will be the first of two meetings between these division rivals. The two will meet again in Cincinnati for a showdown on Monday Night Football in Week 13. Pittsburgh swept the season series a year ago and have won 4 straight overall, including that improbable 18-16 win at Cincinnati in the playoffs a couple years ago.
NFL Betting Predictions & Free Pick Against the Spread: Bengals +5.5
I would have to side with Cincinnati and the points in this one. For as well as the Steelers played against the Chiefs last week, there’s reason to be concerned that they only won by 6-points. Had it not been for what should have been an interception bouncing off a Chief player and into the hands of Antonio Brown, which he ran in for a TD, they actually might have lost that game.
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While Le’Veon Bell was fantastic with 179 yards on 32 attempts, Ben Roethlisberger didn’t look great and hasn’t really played well in 2017. I think the Steelers offense is in for a long day here against a stingy Cincinnati defense. The Bengals come in ranked 2nd in the NFL, giving up just 262.8 ypg. They also have the 2nd best scoring defense, allowing only 16.6 ppg.
The run defense has been exceptional the past few weeks, which also coincided with return of star linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who missed the first 3 games with a suspension. Cincinnati has allowed just 63.7 ypg in their last 3, holding the Bills strong rushing attack to just 82 yards in their last game. I’m not saying they are going to shutdown Bell, but I think he has a hard time getting to 100 yards unless he breaks a big run.
It’s not just the defense that has come alive for the Bengals. Cincinnati’s offense has looked so much better since they fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese and replaced him with Bill Lazor. Under Labor the Bengals are averaging 25.0 ppg and 346.3 ypg. Note they scored a combined 9 points and averaged just 258 yards/game under Zampese.
The other big key here is that Cincinnati is coming off a bye, which I believe should have this spread a lot closer to a field goal than a touchdown. The thing is, even though the Bengals are clearly on the rise, Pittsburgh is such a public team the books are going to take advantage of that an inflate this line. Not only do I think they keep it close enough to cover, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Bengals won this game outright.
We also find a strong system in favor of fading the Steelers. Home favorites of 3.5 to 10 points in a game involving two average teams with a +/- 3 points/game differential are just 18-45 (29%) ATS after holding their opponent to 3-points or less in the first half of their last game. That’s a 71% system in favor of taking the points with Cincinnati.