Steelers vs. Bengals Betting Predictions

Steelers vs Bengals NFL
Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati, NFL Betting Predictions, December 21

These are two teams on very different trajectories meeting in a divisional rivalry that lacks the same luster. The Cincinnati Bengals have seemingly folded in the tent after Joe Burrow’s season-ending knee injury and they are just looking to the future. The Pittsburgh Steelers on the other hand have lost two straight after starting the season with 11 straight wins, and are now in danger of losing momentum and playoff seeding over the final three weeks of the season. Pittsburgh shouldn’t let the slide reach three with an easy game to regroup before the playoff push.

Steelers vs. Bengals Betting Odds

There are a lot of issues with the Pittsburgh offense right now that have lost them ground with the better teams in the AFC. But that shouldn’t matter in this game against a clearly inferior opponent. The Steelers ran for only 44 yards in the first meeting with Cincinnati and still won comfortably with a dominant passing attack leading the way for the offense. Ben Roethlisberger has enough weapons on the perimeter to dissect this Bengals defense and move the ball far easier than they have in weeks past against much better units. The Steelers defense has still been one of the best in the league, though the injuries at linebacker have taken an effect against better teams. Pittsburgh should be able to overwhelm the Bengals offense with its front four defensively and make it difficult to move the ball consistently against this unit. The secondary is also playing really well and the Bengals lack a top wide receiver to challenge the unit.

Cincinnati’s offense has just fallen apart without Burrow under center and an angry Pittsburgh defense isn’t the answer. Brandon Allen has done well enough with three touchdown passes and just two interceptions in three starts while also completing 65.5 percent of his passes. But the Bengals have been held to just a single touchdown the last two weeks and had less than 200 yards of offense in consecutive weeks before inching over 300 last week against Dallas. For better or worse, this team seems to just be looking forward to the offseason and regrouping for the future with a potential franchise quarterback in Burrow. The defense had held up well for two weeks after Burrow’s injury, but the dam seemed to have broken last week when Dallas put up 30 points relatively easily. The Bengals struggled to contain the passing game from Miami and the Giants, so Pittsburgh should have another field day against this secondary.

The NFL betting sites in New Jersey were right on the money when they set the over/under on this game at 40.5 points. The Bengals have struggled to score since Burrow’s injury and the defense isn’t ready to contain this Steelers offense. Pittsburgh’s offense is built to score points quickly with the passing game, and the defense is poised to help add to that total as the league leader in takeaways. The question really becomes whether or not the Steelers can score 40 points themselves or if they will allow a garbage time score. The Steelers have topped 30 points just three times in 13 games, so I don’t expect a tremendous offensive explosion from them. But they do just enough and the Bengals add a meaningless touchdown to push the over 40.5 points at -110 odds.

Steelers to win

The New Jersey online sports betting sites have installed the Steelers as 12.5-point favorites, and that just seems low for this game. Pittsburgh dismantled the full-strength Bengals by 26 points earlier this season, and despite the Steelers’ struggles, they are still far better than Cincinnati. The Bengals had 324 yards of offense under Burrow on this Steelers defense, but since then Cincinnati has been held under 300 yards three times in four games, including two with less than 200 yards of total offense. They have been held to 10 points or fewer four times in the last five games and now are without their best offensive weapon in Burrow. Pittsburgh’s offense has struggled, but the Steelers scored 36 points and had 333 passing yards against this defense previously. This is going to be an angry Pittsburgh team, and that leads to a blowout on Monday night, so I’m betting the Steelers laying 20.5 points at +210 odds.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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