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Bengals vs Steelers Predictions: Experts Make Case for Both Sides

Bengals vs Steelers Predictions: Experts Make Case for Both Sides article feature image
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Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Burrow.

We have a tough decision to make for Sunday afternoon’s AFC North showdown between the Bengals and Steelers.

Pittsburgh was victorious in the first meeting way back in Week 1, as it took advantage of a number of Cincy miscues – and withstood an epic Ja’Marr Chase game (10/129/1) – to triumph in overtime.


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In the rematch, things are a little different on both sides. Notably, Kenny Pickett has usurped Mitchell Trubisky for the Steelers’ starting quarterback role, while Chase is sidelined due to injury, which has impacted the Bengals offense quite a bit over the past few weeks.

We have one person on each side of the spread today. Check out Brandon Anderson and Cody Goggin’s cases for why you should back their pick.

NFL Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Steelers +3.5 and ML
4:25 p.m. ET
Bengals -3.5
4:25 p.m. ET

Pick
Steelers +3.5 and ML
Best Book
Time
4:25 p.m. ET

Brandon Anderson: I rode the Steelers last week to an easy home win, and I’m going back to the well as this is my favorite pick of the slate.

T.J. Watt truly changes everything for the Steelers. Without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, the Steelers defense has ranked bottom three over the past two seasons. With him, they’ve consistently rated as a top-10 unit, leading the league in sacks in five consecutive years.

Watt returned in Week 10 and Pittsburgh completely stymied the Saints offense, holding them to a meager 186 yards. The Steelers secondary is also starting to get healthy with Damontae Kazee and Levi Wallace back. By my metrics, a healthy Steelers defense ranks top five.

Minkah Fitzpatrick is a real miss for Pittsburgh, but his absence is more than offset by Cincinnati being without Ja’Marr Chase. With Chase sidelined the last two games, the Bengals have plummeted to 20th in passing DVOA.

Without Chase, the Bengals offense just isn’t quite as dangerous, and the revitalized Steelers defense may actually be the best unit on the field.

Besides, there’s no better situational spot in football than backing Mike Tomlin as a home underdog — especially against Cincy:

  • Tomlin vs the Bengals lifetime: 21-10 ATS (68%), his most profitable opponent
  • As an underdog against the Bengals: 7-2 ATS (78%); 7-2 SU
  • As an underdog Week 5 forward: 39-16-1 ATS (71%)
  • As a one-score dog in that spot: 36-11-1 ATS (77%)
  • As a division dog in that spot: 19-3-1 ATS (86%); 15-8 SU
  • As a home dog in that spot: 14-2-1 ATS (88%) and 13-4 SU, covering nine straight and winning the last seven outright

It’s the Year of the Underdog, and no dog barks as loudly as the Steelers at home under Rah Rah Mike Tomlin.


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I love the Steelers. I think they could win a second straight and pull off the upset so I’ll also play the moneyline.

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Pick
Bengals -3.5 (bet to -5.5)
Best Book
Time
4:25 p.m. ET

Cody Goggin: I’m not sure how this line is only 3.5.

I understand T.J. Watt returned last week and the Steelers defense looked much better as a result, but their offense is still in disrepair. This season, Pittsburgh ranks 28th in dropback EPA and 26th in dropback success rate. It ranks 23rd in overall success rate and 26th in EPA per play.

Filtering this down to look at the period Kenny Pickett has been starting under center doesn’t make them look much better. Over this time period, the Steelers are 22nd in success rate and 25th in EPA per play; meanwhile, the Bengals have led the league in both of these categories.

Watt is back to make things difficult for Joe Burrow, but this doesn’t fix the issues in the secondary. This defense ranks 24th in dropback EPA this year.

The Bengals defense ranks sixth in EPA per dropback and fourth in dropback EPA. The way to attack Cincinnati is on the ground, but Pittsburgh has not been successful in that aspect of the game.

Since these two teams met in Week 1, the new-look Bengals offensive line has been able to gel. In that game, Burrow threw four interceptions and was sacked seven times, but the Bengals were still able to force overtime.

This spread should be closer to 6 or 6.5 points. I would take the Bengals up to -5.5 here as I think that they are the better team and can win easily if they avoid turnovers.

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.



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