Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Betting Pick
Opening Line: Cincinnati -6.5
Pittsburgh was very sluggish in a 16-9 home loss to Tennessee last week. Cincinnati blew a late lead in a 24-21 loss at Chicago last Sunday.
The Steelers rushed for only 32 yards last week and rookie RB LeíVeon Bell is not expected to play. The O-line lost C Maurkice Pouncey for the year with a knee injury and his backup, Kelvin Beachum, will have his hands full with All Pro DT Geno Atkins. The O-line has been in flux for a number of years and losing Pouncey doesn't help. Look for the Bengals to control the line of scrimmage on running downs. QB Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times last week and now must deal with a defense that totaled a team-record 51 sacks in 2012. Pittsburgh lacks a true No.1 receiver and we expect the Bengals CBs to handle WRs Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Roethlisberger does a great job of keeping plays alive but he will be running a lot in this matchup behind an O-line missing their anchor in the middle.
Cincinnati had little success running the ball last week and Pittsburgh is historically very good at stopping the run. Rookie RB Giovani Bernard had 22 yards on four carries last week and look for him to get more carries over the slower RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis. ILB Larry Foote is out for the year with a biceps injury and his absence could impact the interior run defense. QB Andy Dalton has a great rapport with WR A.J. Green and demonstrated that last week ((9-162-2). While the Steelers lack an elite cover corner, they play good team pass defense. TEs Jermaine Gresham and rookie Tyler Eifert both had five catches last week and look for them to targets down the middle. A true No.2 WR hasn't yet emerged for the Bengals but look for WR Mohamed Sanu to get his chances in this contest.
ATS Game Pick
Pittsburgh has historically dominated this matchup (10-1 ATS last 11 visits) but things are changing in the AFC North. All four teams lost last week but Cincinnati was clearly the best team of the bunch. They won a huge Week 16 game at Pittsburgh last year and no longer fear the Steelers. They have better players, they are at home and we expect them to win this game and cover the TD spread.
Crew's Pick: Take the Cincinnati Bengals -6.5