Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals, at Cincinnati
Kickoff: Monday, September 16th, at 8:40PM Eastern
Line: -6 Bengals, Total: 40.5
Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin was the youngest head coach in the NFL to ever lead a team to the Super Bowl. Now, Tomlin’s team is facing another first- being an underdog to the Cincinnati Bengals when they square in tonight’s game. At YouWager, the Bengals are posted as a 6 point favorite in this matchup. Why? Pittsburgh suffered a 16-9 defeat to the Tennessee Titans in Week 1. Cincinnati lost to Chicago 24-21 in Week 1. The difference? Cincinnati led Chicago by 11 points in the 3rd quarter.
Understandably, many sportsbook bettors were not expecting Pittsburgh to lose to Tennessee. But the mighty Steelers, the powerhouse that many of YouWager’s NFL football wagering fans have banked on successfully in the past, were not exactly present. Pittsburgh’s defense was very effective against Tennessee’s running game. The infamous Steel Curtain only permitted one play to go more than 15 yards, only allowing the Titans to average 3.6 yards per play, and a total of 16 points. Pittsburgh’s offense, however, was another story. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, usually an intimidating factor in any contest, was sacked 5 times by Tennessee. Pittsburgh only rushed for 32 yards, and they scored their points in the last two minutes of the game. The Steelers simply don’t seem to have the kind of depth they have enjoyed in the past without receiver Mike Wallace and running back Rashard Mendenhall. Tight end Heath Miller is recovering from an injury and center Maurkice Pouncey’s knee will keep him out for the entire season. Roethlisberger’s receiving corps still looks fairly strong, but they are not as formidable as they have been in recent years. To win against Cincinnati, the Steelers will need a better, bolder offensive strategy to advance on the Bengals. Pittsburgh’s running game was a major factor when the Steelers beat Cincinnati in 2012.
During the 11 NFL seasons Marvin Lewis has been head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, they have only been the favorite in two matchups against Pittsburgh. In both of those games, the Steelers won. Under Lewis, the Bengals are 6-15 straight up and against the spread against the Steelers. Since 2003, on Monday night football, the Bengals are 2-4 straight up and against the spread. Before ultimately losing t the Bears, the Bengals had 21-10 lead in the 3rd quarter, with A.J. Green’s touchdowns and a tough defense. That defense failed them ultimately, but they could be an improved unit on Monday night. Their pass rush could be quite effective against Big Ben and company. They will also have to manage to hold on to the ball when they face the Steel Curtain, and reduce the turnovers.
This is the first time Cincinnati has been a favorite against Pittsburgh since 2006. The Steelers have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Bengals, but this time, they are 6 point underdogs at YouWager. The Total is 40.5. Game time tonight is 8:40PM Eastern.