Steelers-Bengals Odds, Picks, Predictions For NFL Week 12: Keep Trusting Pittsburgh To Cover Spread As A Dog?
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
The Steelers-Bengals rivalry was very one-sided entering this season. Pittsburgh has won 18 of their 22 regular-season showdowns since the 2010 season.
Earlier this year though, Cincinnati upset Pittsburgh, 24-10, at Heinz Field for the first time since 2015. It was after this game that Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd said the Steelers “gave up.”
These two bitter AFC rivals are now separated by just a half-game in the face of those precious wild-card playoff spots.
Will Pittsburgh get revenge on Cincinnati, or was Boyd’s quote signaling a changing of the guard in the AFC North?
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Steelers vs. Bengals Injury Report
- CB Joe Haden (foot): Out
- C J.C. Hassenauer (pectoral): Out
- TE Eric Ebron (knee): Out
- WR Auden Tate (thigh): Doubtful
Steelers vs. Bengals Matchup
|Steelers Offense||DVOA Rank||Bengals Defense|
|Steelers Defense||DVOA Rank||Bengals Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Steelers Stay Covering
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The Mike Tomlin betting trend is alive and well.
Per Action Labs, when the Steelers are an underdog under Tomlin, they have covered at an absurd rate. Take a look at a snap shot of just the past four years:
This season, Pittsburgh is 4-1 (80%) against the spread (ATS) as an underdog, with its only loss coming at Green Bay.
The Steelers still managed to follow this trend last week against the Chargers, despite playing shorthanded. Trailing 27-10 entering the fourth quarter, the Steelers scored 27 fourth-quarter points before succumbing 41-37 to Los Angeles.
This week they will enjoy the return of star defensive end T.J. Watt and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Cincinnati ranks 13th in rushing percentage per game, but will struggle against a Pittsburgh front seven that is extremely stout against the run when healthy. Per PFF, defensive tackle Cam Hayward grades out as the second-best interior lineman — he is also first in rushing defense, even ahead of Rams star Aaron Donald.
In their first matchup, rookie running back Najee Harris erupted for 14 receptions (on 19 targets) and 104 receiving yards. The Bengals will need to prioritize stopping Harris, despite allowing the eighth-most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Pittsburgh’s game plan will be simple: dominate on defense, feed Harris, and try to hit occaional big plays with WR Diontae Johnson and developing rookie TE Pat Freiermuth.
Bengals O-Line Struggles Will Be On Display
Cincinnati (6-4) has enjoyed a solid season, and is coming off an impressive 32-13 win at Las Vegas. However, in their two games prior the Bengals lost to the Jets and were blown out by Cleveland. The Bengals are known in the public for having an explosive offense, yet they only rank 23rd in offensive DVOA — ironically two spots behind the Steelers. The metrics and the talent don’t tell the same story.
The Bengals’ big-play offense has masked issues with their offensive line. The Bengals front five rank just 31st in power rush ranking, per Football Outsiders, and have allowed 28 sacks, seventh-most in the league. They will need to have their best game of the year against a Pittsburgh defense that ranks fourth-best with 2.8 sacks per game, including a fourth-best 3.0 sacks per game on the road.
In their first meeting this season, Pittsburgh failed to sack Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow even once. However, the Steelers played that game without Watt, who will be back this week.
Cincinnati certainly has dynamic wideouts in Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, but if the Steelers can get pressure on Burrow, they can nullify their impact on this game. Even in their first machup, Burrow only threw for 172 yards, including a 34-yard missed tackle slant for a touchdown.
Steelers vs. Bengals Prediction
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I’m riding with Tomlin again as the divisional road underdog in a team Pittsburgh has usually dominated. I grabbed this line at 4.5 and love getting over that critical field goal difference.
I would bet this line to Pittsburgh +3.
Pick: Steelers +3.5 | Bet to: Steelers +3
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