Steelers vs. Bengals Week 15 SNF Odds, Picks, Score Prediction
The Cincinnati Bengals will look to take one step closer towards locking up the AFC North under the Sunday Night Football lights when they invade Heinz Field to battle the Pittsburgh Steelers in the hated rival’s final meeting of the regular season. The Bengals scored their third straight win in a pounding of the Indianapolis Colts last week at home, while the Steelers dropped a crucial contest to the Miami Dolphins that effectively ended their season.
OPEN: BENGALS -1.5 | CURRENT: BENGALS -3 | O/U: 41
1. Why the STEELERS will cover the spread: Pride. That’s the only thing Big Ben and his mates are playing for right now. Well, that as well as playing the role of spoiler. But it’s been an incredibly long season for the Steelers who’ve gone about their way on a roller coaster in dropping their first four games of the season before rallying back to win five of their next seven but followed it up with season-ending defeats each of the L/2 weeks. That said, the yellow and black have covered the closing number each of the L/3 times they went off the betting board “dogged”, and they won two of those games outright against the Browns and Lions.
2. Why the BENGALS will cover the spread: The Steelers are done. After last week’s home defeat to the Fins, Coach Tomlin’s troops need nothing short of a miracle to qualify for the second season. With that the case, Pittsburgh might have already thrown in the towel before even stepping onto the gridiron looking to avenge an earlier season loss to their rivals. Even if that’s not the case, Cincy simply possesses the better and healthier overall team. On top of that, the club is rolling right now even if it’s lost a number of pertinent position players to season ending injuries.
When you add the fact that the Bengals have covered each of their L/5 games played in the month of December and only allowed Pittsburgh to score 10 points in each of the L/2 meetings, laying the negligible road chalk isn’t that big of a deal at all.
3. Total Talk: These division rivals don’t like each other one bit. With that the case, it comes as no surprise to see that they’ve played to low scorers in each of the L/4 meetings with the game’s combining for an average of 34 PPG. Cincy has cashed ‘under’ tickets in its L/2 games played away from Paul Brown Stadium, but the defense has surrendered 20+ points in four of its L/5. Pittsburgh’s defense has given up some un-Steeler-like point totals this season, and it’s been pretty bad of late with the stop unit giving up an average of 26.5 PPG the L/6 times it took to the gridiron.
4. Betting Trends for BENGALS/STEELERS: The favorite has covered the pointspread in six of these division rival’s L/7 overall skirmishes. The Bengals toppled the Steelers 20-10 in the first go round back in Week 2 by shutting Pittsburgh’s ground attack down and forcing Roethlisberger to throw the pigskin 37 times; he completed 20 passes for 251 yards and a 1:1 TD/INT ratio. The Steelers ground attack hasn’t gotten any better since then even with the addition of rookie RB Le’Veon Bell (#31), while the Bengals are still just as tough against the run (#5) even with the loss of DT Geno Atkins.
The team that runs the ball best in the freezing cold should pull out the win, and with Giovani Bernard and Benjarvus Green-Ellis continuously getting the job done, I expect them to have no problem teeing off on a Steelers run defense that’s been gouged to the tune of 120.2 YPG (#24) at 4.3 YPC (#24). Cincy’s 7-1 ATS the L/8 times it allowed 90 yards or less on the ground the previous week, and with it owning the advantage in stopping the run, look for that trend to improve on SNF.
Cincinnati 27 – Pittsburgh 12