Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:48 AM

Steelers vs. Bengals Week 15 Predictions, Odds, Preview

Steelers-Bengals Video Picks

  • December 19, 2020
  • By Matt Blunt

Steelers-Bengals - Predictions

  • Score Prediction: Steelers 27 Bengals 20
  • Best Bets: Bengals +14.5 and Over 40

The Pittsburgh Steelers are no stranger to being involved in these stand alone games this year after their schedule has been flipped around more often than a coin.

This was always a scheduled MNF appearance for Pittsburgh though, and if you're a Steelers fan, you're hoping that this is the perfect opponent for the Steelers to face to get their offense and overall confidence humming again.

Cincinnati waived the white flag on this year when they lost QB Joe Burrow for the season, and now it's simply about grinding through the remaining games to get a paycheck.

The Bengals have scored the fewest points per game over their last three contests (10.3 pts/game) in the NFL and while that alone has been a play-on spot in the past this year for every team in that position, the Bengals haven't really looked competitive in four of their last five games.

So is this the spot where the Steelers figure out what's going wrong with them on offense right now and score 36 points like they did in the first meeting with the Bengals, or do the struggles continue and another team they are supposed to comfortably dispose of gives them way too much of a fight?

Betting Resources

Steelers-Bengals Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: Steelers -14.5
  • Money-Line: Pittsburgh -1100, Cincinnati +700
  • Total: 40
  • Odds Subject to Change

    2020 Betting Stats

    (Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under - O/U)


    • Overall: 11-2 SU, 8-5 ATS, 4-7-2 O/U
    • Road: 5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS, 1-4-1 O/U
    • Offense PPG: 26.8 (Rank 12)
    • Defense PPG: 18.2 (Rank 1)
    • Offense YPG: 335.5 (Rank 22)
    • Defense YPG: 303.1 (Rank 3)


    • Overall: 2-10-1 SU, 7-6 ATS, 5-7-1 O/U
    • Home: 2-4 SU, 4-2 ATS, 3-3 O/U
    • Offense PPG: 18.8 (Rank 30)
    • Defense PPG: 26.0 (Rank 22)
    • Offense YPG: 319.3 (Rank 28)
    • Defense YPG: 382.3 (Rank 24)

    Over vs. Under
    Handicapping the Total

    Even with it being a rough go offensively for the Steelers these past three weeks, they've been three weeks that were quite disjointed, and the Steelers issues specifically with drops do have some stake in that built-in excuse.

    It's been three straights weeks of sub-20 point efforts for Pittsburgh, which is why facing Cincinnati looks likes a great opponent to get things ironed out again, but any 'over' look requires some belief in the Bengals offense and they've not done much either.

    The Bengals most three recent games, the ones where they are the lowest scoring team per game in the league, have been the three they've started without Joe Burrow. They've been shutout in the second half of consecutive games as minor adjustments completely negate anything positive they were doing, and only three of the four total TD's they've scored in those games have come on offense.

    There is the thought that as a great candidate for the Steelers to get well against this opponent, a 13-point road favorite could afford to get by with their defense going through the motions and that's probably the case to some degree here.

    The Steelers smoked this Bengals team when they had Burrow, there is no fear for the Steelers defense here, and whether or not that leads to some sloppy execution at times knowing they can just be good and win is a question.


    The total is rather low considering it was 46 in the first meeting about a month ago (Nov 15th), and it landed right on the number. Is Pittsburgh's offensive decline combined with no Burrow worth a full six points on the total? Fundamentally, I'm not sure that it is.

    This is the proverbial “Super Bowl” game for this bad Bengals team, at home on MNF at the end of the year against a rival that could be going places. If you think they hang around even a little bit, the 'over' can get there in a variety of ways. The Bengals have allowed 36, 37, 27, and 35 points against (33.75 avg/game) in four division games played already this year, and the one Bengals TD they get a game already is already good enough if the Steelers hit that average.

    Cincinnati is in a spot where it makes sense you'd get a strong effort at a minimum – at home, prime time, and can't tank further with two teams still ahead of you the race for the #1 overall pick. Pittsburgh's still slumping remember, and the Bengals would love to do their part in further contributing to those issues for the Steelers.

    Pittsburgh's still not assured to get healthy here in the first place, their passing offense sits 25th in the league in yards per attempt, and their rushing offense is T-30 in yards per attempt on the ground. The Steelers being 0-5-1 O/U in their last six, and Cincinnati 0-4-1 O/U in their last five (the “push” was against each other), you can understand a lower number, but it still feels low.

    The Bengals have every reason to try and pull off the shocker, and some Bengals blowout losses would still comfortably get 'over' this number as well. Cincinnati has to figure out scoring in the 2nd half sooner rather than later, even if it is in serious garbage time. Their team total is juiced to the 'under' at 13.5, a number that's low enough to give them the benefit of the doubt in going 'over'.

    Pittsburgh should find their way back into the mid-20's with AFC North rivals doing what they do against Cincy's defense, and a significant majority on the 'under' for a MNF game with a total this low is a situation begging to be gone against. Got to be the 'over' or nothing for me.

    Head-to-Head History

    • Nov. 15, 2020 - Pittsburgh 36 vs. Cincinnati 10, Steelers -6.5, Push 46
    • Nov. 24, 2019 - Pittsburgh 16 at Cincinnati 10, Steelers -5.5, Under 37.5
    • Sep. 30, 2019 - Pittsburgh 27 vs. Cincinnati 3, Steelers -3.5, Under 45.5

    Steelers vs. Bengals
    Handicapping the Side

    The 'over' line of thought has to generally have enough faith in the Bengals finding the end zone on multiple occasions, which suggests that taking the points here would be the way to go as well.

    Not a particular side to break the bank on, but you know it will be the needed side for the oddsmakers, and if the Steelers aren't slumping and have been showing some of their true colors lately, isn't being two-TD chalk on the road inside the division a little much?

    Pittsburgh's rankings on yards per attempt through the air and ground are not pleasant to see for Steelers fans, but to have that much room to grow and be sitting 11-2 SU is still a good thing. That being said, trusting them to win by this number right now, as Pittsburgh has not looked anything like the team that beat the Bengals 36-10 in the first meeting.

    Still, nothing any Bengals offense under Zac Taylor has had much success against the Steelers, as Cincinnati has scored 3, 10, and 10 points in three tries. That's another thing leading the support on the 'under' love and it makes sense too.

    This is an offense that's put up just 10.3 points per game over their last three for a reason, and even without Burrow, if the system is as operational as it needs to be, there has to be success found with anyone.

    Those questions lurk with any Bengals selection on any week, but there are similar questions to be asked about the Steelers offense, and they are the ones laying double digits. I'll take my chances with the home dog, as most results where they do show up and put up a fight big enough to get an 'over', Cincinnati stays inside this number as well.

    The Bengals are 9-4 ATS off a double digit loss at home, getting embarrassed by the Dallas Cowboys and Andy Dalton of all people. I'll trust they show some pride after that happens.

    Key Injuries


    • RB James Conner: Quad - Questionable
    • OL Kevin Dotson: Shoulder- Questionable
    • LB Vince Williams: COVID-19 - Questionable
    • CB Joe Haden: Concussion - Questionable
    • G Matt Feiler: Shoulder - Out


    • QB Ryan Finley: None - Probable
    • S Shawn Williams: Suspension Served - Probable
    • QB Brandon Allen: Knee - Out
    • LB Logan Wilson: Ankle - Out
    • DT Geno Atkins: Shoulder - Out

    2020 Monday Night Football (MNF) Betting Results

    Betting Results

    Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS)

    • Home-Away: 4-10 SU, 7-7 ATS
    • Favorites-Underdogs: 9-5 SU, 6-8 ATS
    • Over-Under: 7-7
    2020 Monday Night Football Betting Results
    Week Matchup Line/Total Score ATS-Total
    1 Pittsburgh at N.Y. Giants Steelers -6, 44 26-16 Favorite-Under
    1 Tennessee at Denver Titans -3, 41.5 16-14 Underdog-Under
    2 New Orleans at Las Vegas Saints -4, 47.5 34-24 Underdog-Over
    3 Kansas City at Baltimore Ravens -3.5, 55 34-20 Underdog-Under
    4 Atlanta at Green Bay Packers -5, 56.5 30-16 Favorite-Under
    5 L.A. Chargers at New Orleans Saints -7, 49 30-27 (OT) Underdog-Over
    6 Arizona at Dallas Cowboys -1, 56 38-10 Underdog-Under
    7 Chicago at L.A. Rams Rams -6.5, 44 24-10 Favorite-Under
    8 Tampa Bay at N.Y. Giants Buccaneers -12.5, 47 25-23 Underdog-Over
    9 New England at N.Y. Jets Patriots -9, 42 30-27 Underdog-Over
    10 Minnesota at Chicago Vikings -3.5, 44 19-13 Favorite-Under
    11 L.A. Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -4, 47.5 27-24 Underdog-Over
    12 Seattle at Philadelphia Seahawks -6.5, 49.5 23-17 Underdog-Under
    13 Buffalo at San Francisco 49ers -1.5, 48.5 34-24 Underdog-Over
    14 Baltimore at Cleveland Ravens -3, 43.5 47-42 Favorite-Over
    15 Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - - -
    16 Buffalo at New England - - -

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