MNF - Steelers at Bengals
December 3, 2017
By Kevin Rogers
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The Steelers (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) were expected to cruise against the banged-up Packers, but Pittsburgh squeezed out a 31-28 victory as 14-point favorites at Heinz Field. Chris Boswell drilled a 53-yard field goal with no time remaining to break a 28-28 tie, as the Steelers racked up 462 yards of offense to pick up their sixth consecutive victory since a 21-point home loss to Jacksonville in Week 5.
Ben Roethlisberger tossed four touchdown passes to go along with 351 yards for Pittsburgh, including two of those scores to Antonio Brown, who hauled in 169 yards on 10 catches. Pittsburgh’s defense allowed four touchdowns for the first time this season, but the Steelers fell to 0-3 ATS this season when listed as a double-digit favorite.
The Bengals (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS) continue to hang around the AFC Wild Card race after picking up their second straight win last Sunday. Cincinnati took care of Cleveland, 30-16 to cash as 7 ½-point home favorites and pull off the season sweep of the Browns. Joe Mixon’s 11-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter helped aid Cincinnati with the cover, while the former Oklahoma standout produced his first ever 100-yard performance by compiling 114 yards on 23 carries.
In spite of the victory, the Bengals were outgained from a yardage standpoint for the sixth consecutive contest. Cincinnati covered for the third straight game, but Marvin Lewis’ club is seeking its first three-game winning streak since starting 8-0 in 2015.
Mike Tomlin’s squad has won five of six games away from Heinz Field this season with the lone loss coming in overtime at Chicago in Week 3. The Steelers have picked up victories in each of their first two road contests against AFC North foes by beating Cleveland in Week 1 by a 21-18 count as 10-point favorites, while routing Baltimore, 26-9 in Week 4. Pittsburgh has compiled at least two divisional road wins in each of the past three seasons, while putting together a 4-3 ATS record in its last seven away AFC North contests as a favorite.
POINT THE WAY
Cincinnati is listed as a home underdog for the first time this season, but the Bengals have been a profitable team in this situation over the years. Dating back to 2013, Cincinnati owns a solid 6-1 ATS record when receiving points at Paul Brown Stadium. The only loss came to the Steelers last season as three-point ‘dogs in Week 15 in a 24-20 setback, as five of those ATS wins were also straight-up victories.
The Steelers produced consecutive OVERS for the first time this season in last Sunday’s nail-biting win against the Packers. Pittsburgh began the season by producing the UNDER in six consecutive games before hitting the OVER in three of the past five contests. Cincinnati has been inconsistent from a totals standpoint this season as four of the first five games stayed UNDER the total, but the Bengals are currently on a 4-2 OVER run.
Pittsburgh has owned Cincinnati over the years by winning five straight meetings and compiling a 7-1 record since December 2013. The Steelers and Bengals were tied at 14-14 in their first meeting back in Week 7 at Heinz Field, but Pittsburgh scored the final 15 points of the game on five Boswell field goals to pick up a 29-14 victory as four-point favorites. Le’Veon Bell ran all over the Cincinnati defense for 134 yards on 35 carries, while Roethlisberger connected on a pair of touchdowns with Brown and rookie Juju Smith-Schuster.
The Steelers have also had their way against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium by capturing four consecutive wins in the Queen City since 2014. Each of the past two wins at Cincinnati came by a combined six points, while the Bengals squandered a 20-6 lead in a 24-20 defeat last season as Roethlisberger hooked up with Eli Rogers on the go-ahead 24-yard touchdown strike in the fourth quarter.
GAME PROPS – According to Las Vegas Westgate Superbook
1st Score of the Game
Other Score +125
Total Completions – Ben Roethlisberger
OVER 22 ½ (-110)
UNDER 22 ½ (-110)
Total Touchdown Passes – Ben Roethlisberger
OVER 1 ½ (-150)
UNDER 1 ½ (+130)
Total Rushing Yards – Le’Veon Bell
OVER 86 ½ (-110)
UNDER 86 ½ (-110)
Total Gross Passing Yards – Andy Dalton
OVER 232 ½ (-110)
UNDER 232 ½ (-110)
Total Touchdown Passes – Andy Dalton
OVER 1 ½ (Even)
UNDER 1 ½ (-120)
Will A.J. Green score a touchdown?
VegasInsider.com trends expert Vince Akins provides a play-against trend on Pittsburgh, “The Steelers are 0-10-1 ATS as a road favorite since 2006 coming off a win as a favorite where they scored at least 30 points.” In each of the last three seasons, Pittsburgh has lost outright in this role, including a 30-15 setback at Miami in 2016. Akins also supplied an UNDER trend for Cincinnati, “The Bengals are 0-12 OU as a dog of more than three points coming off a home game where they scored more points than expected since 2006.”
Scott Cooley of BookMaker.eu says the sharps favor the home team, “The public likes Pittsburgh at anything less than a touchdown, but the smart money has been on the Bengals. We’ve adjusted down a half point off the opener, and we could see the number drop even more if Antonio Brown is absent. Currently, we have more than 70 percent of the tickets on the Steelers, but the money favors Cincy 60-40.”
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at email@example.com
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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