Sunday Night Football ended in agonizing defeat for the Steelers after they thought they’d done enough to put the Chargers away late in the game. They turn their attention to the Bengals, and they’ll be desperate for revenge in the rematch after taking a 24-10 loss in Week 3. The Bengals are not so “little brother” anymore, and the Steelers could drop the series this year if they’re not careful. Let’s check out the NFL odds and make a pick and prediction on the Steelers vs. Bengals AFC North clash.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals pick, prediction, opening betting lines | Week 12
- Spread: Bengals -4.5 (Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Moneyline: Steelers +170, Bengals -200
- Over/Under: 46
Can the Steelers rebound from a crushing SNF loss?
The Steelers put on a good display and scored plenty of points, bouncing back from the disappointing tie with the Lions the week before, but a loss is still a loss. Pittsburgh now sits a game back from the Bengals and will need this one if the division ends up being settled on head-to-head record.
Najee Harris only had 15 carries in Sunday night’s game, totaling 39 yards and a TD (almost his season-low total, barring the 38-yard outing in Week 2). It was the passing game that got the Steelers moving against the Chargers. Diontae Johnson is now seriously emerging as a WR1, securing 101 yards and a TD on the day, while Chase Claypool had 93 yards of his own.
Defensively, the 41 points to the Chargers marks a season-high total for Pittsburgh in points allowed. You don’t give yourself a good shot to win a football game allowing 40+ points, and Mike Tomlin won’t be the slightest bit happy about it.
The fact of the matter is, T.J. Watt is worth his weight in gold to this team. They’re missing him badly. Watt didn’t practice all week following his early exit from the Lions game in Week 10, and it’s unclear how long he might be out.
Can the Bengals maintain momentum?
As for the Bengals, they’re coming off of a comfortable win, easing past the Raiders in Week 11. Joe Mixon was the standout, rushing for 123 yards. Once the run game was going, Cincinnati could reduce the pressure on Joe Burrow throwing the ball. Tyler Boyd and Ja’Marr Chase both contributed in key situations, with Chase catching another TD on the season.
The defense seemed to get their mojo back after a couple of weeks’ worth of struggles (losses to Jets and Browns). The Bengals might have got back on track just in time for the Steelers. Cincy made some good moves in free agency in the offseason. Their draft picks and their free-agency acquisitions (Chidobe Awuzie and Trey Hendrickson) are earning their salaries. This team is no longer a bottom-feeder in the league. With a win on Sunday, Cincy will put themselves in strong contention for a top-two finish in the AFC North.
Steelers vs. Bengals betting trends
The Steelers are 4-1 against the spread (ATS) when they go into the game as an underdog. That’s worth noting — they go into this one a 4.5-point underdog against the Bengals. They’ve also only cashed the over on three occasions this year. However, without Watt in the game to slow down the opposition, they cashed a 47-point over/under in Week 11 by 31 points.
The Bengals were on a three-game hot streak covering overs. Nonetheless, they were unable to do so on Sunday, as they held the Raiders in check for a low score. They’re 5-5 ATS and 4-6 for overs/unders.
Steelers vs. Bengals prediction
I feel like this one has the makings of a high-scoring, end-to-end game with 30+ points per team. The Steelers travel to Cincinnati after clicking well offensively in Week 11 without needing the run game.
The Bengals will win it, as their receiving corps had their way with the Pittsburgh secondary back in the early goings of the season. The Bengals do a good job slowing down running backs (D’Andre Swift, Josh Jacobs in recent weeks) and could make the Steelers one-dimensional.
I’m picking the Bengals’ defense/secondary to force a turnover or two and the Bengals to take a 2-0 series lead over the Steelers in a close one this upcoming Sunday.
Steelers vs. Bengals Prediction: Bengals 30, Steelers 27