Monday Night Football Betting – Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (12/4)
The Pittsburgh Steelers have consistently had one of the best defenses in the National Football League, and that has propelled them into a commanding lead in the AFC North. But leads have a way of evaporating, and with the Baltimore Ravens starting to come on a little, the Steelers have to keep winning, not only to reaffirm their division edge, but also to contend for home field advantage in the post-season. On Monday night they will pay a visit to the Cincinnati Bengals at a place where they’ve had much success over the years – Paul Brown Stadium. This game will be televised by ESPN, and while BetAnySports customers are watching it, they can partake in real-time wagering through the facilities of Live Betting Ultra.
The Steelers (9-2 straight-up, 6-5 against the football pointspread) have won fourteen of their last 16 games in Cincinnati, and they do revel in the idea of talking trash about the Bengals. Cincinnati has had kind of a hardluck season, in that they have lost three games by four points or less, and they also have undergone some changes on staff, including a transition from Ken Zampese to Bill Lazor at the offensive coordinator position. Andy Dalton had a rocky start, but he’s been playing better lately, behind better protection, and has thrown seven touchdown passes over his last three games without an interception.
Certainly Antonio Brown will do everything possible to participate in this game, but he was not involved in practices on Friday or Saturday for the Steelers, and his toe injury could keep him out. He is the guy being pushed by the Pittsburgh press for MVP consideration, as he leads the league with 80 receptions and 1195 yards. He has also been targeted more than any other receiver in the league.
In the Monday night football betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Steelers are laying points on the road:
Pittsburgh Steelers -5
Cincinnati Bengals +5
Over 43 points -110
Under 43 points -110
Ben Roethlisberger has not had his best season (16 touchdowns, 10 interceptions), but he has thrown eight TD passes in his last two games, and he has enough depth at the wide receiver spot that this team could probably get by on a temporary basis without Brown. One of the reasons for that is the emergence of rookie Juju Smith-Schuster, who has averaged 17.2 yards per catch. If Brown is out, Darius Heyward-Bey, who has seen limited action, may have a bigger role, as could Martavis Bryant. And then, of course, there is the activity provided by Le’Veon Bell, who came into this weekend’s action as the league’s leading rusher (981 yards), catching passes out of the backfield.
BetAnySports patrons might recall the first meeting between these teams, in which Pittsburgh held Cincinnati to 179 total yards. Dalton failed to connect with his top receiver, AJ Green, in the second half, and the Steelers rolled to a 29-14 victory. Until they had a nail-biter against the Green Bay Packers last week, the Steelers had held five opponents in a row to 17 points or less.
The challenge for the Bengals on offense will simply be to move the chains. Only three teams in the NFL are worse than they are in third-down conversions (33.6%), while Pittsburgh allows only 34.5% on defense. At the same time, while Pittsburgh’s offense has had its share of difficulties pushing the ball across when they are in the red zone (only 28th in the league), there is no better team than Cincinnati at preventing touchdowns in red zone situations (only 39.5%). We are thinking that the Bengals’ stop unit could keep them very much in this one, and so we are leaning toward the “under” in the Monday night football betting odds.
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