Bengals vs Steelers NFL betting picks and predictions: Bet on a Bengals comeback

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The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football, with both teams hungry for their first win of the season. The Steelers are coming off a pair of close losses after getting wrecked by the Patriots in their season opener, while the Bengals are coming off a tight game on the road where they fell to the undefeated Bills.

From the first whistle to the last we break down the odds for this AFC North showdown and give you our five best bets and predictions. 

CINCINNATI BENGALS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-3, 45)

QUICK HITTER

The Steelers are a shell of the offense they were just two seasons ago, with the Killer B’s all gone: Ben Roethlisberger on the IR, Le’Veon Bell with the Jets and Antonio Brown out of the league.

Wait a second, there is one Killer B still left, that’s right it’s kicker Chris Boswell! The 2017 Pro-Bowler is 5-5 on field goals this season and has been the first Steeler to score in two out of Pittsburgh’s three games this season (and was the second Steeler to get on the board in the other contest).

Pittsburgh’s second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph is looking for his first NFL victory after taking over for Roethlisberger. Rudolph has thrown for just 286 yards through his first two career starts and has been especially shaky at the beginning of games. In the first half of those two games he completed just 53.3 percent of his passes for a total of 40 yards.

The Steelers will struggle to punch it into the endzone with Rudolph at the helm but should still be able to move the chains a little bit against a Bengals D that allows 7.3 points per game in the opening frame. We like the Over 0.5 on the Steelers first-quarter field goals. Also consider taking Pittsburgh to get exactly one FG in the first quarter which pays out at an intriguing +180.

PICK: First Quarter team field goals – Pittsburgh Over 0.5 (+137)

FIRST HALF BET

The Bengals defense has been atrocious this season allowing 406.3 yards and 27.7 points per game. They’ve been especially brutal in the first half where they give up 17.3 ppg.

The Steelers are the opposite; while they also have a poor defense they perform better before half time (10 ppg allowed) and then crash and burn in the second half (more on that later).

Even with a lack of game-breakers on offense we like the home side’s chances of being able to cover the modest 1H spread.

PICK: First Half Spread – Pittsburgh -2.5 (-120)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

Bengals QB Andy Dalton aired the ball a lot in the first two weeks of the season, with 51 throws in Week 1 against the Seahawks and 42 pass attempts against the 49ers the following week. However, that was largely due to the Seahawks stacking the box to stuff the run while the Niners jumped out to a big lead early and forced Cincy to pass.

Last week, Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon showed signs of hitting his stride, churning out 60 yards on 15 carries and picking up an additional 34 yards through the air against a tough Bills defense.

The Bengals offense plays best when they can lean on their running game. Mixon has had trouble finding holes behind a subpar Bengals offensive line this season but his job should be easier against a Steelers run defense that allows 139.3 rushing yards per game. The Steelers have also been very vulnerable to pass-catching backs, allowing a league-high 73.3 receiving yards per game to RBs.

Take the Over on Mixon’s total yards from scrimmage.

PICK: Rushing and Receiving Yards – Joe Mixon Over 81.5 (-115)

FULL GAME TOTAL

While both teams are pretty bad on defense with Cincinnati 24th in the league in Defensive DVOA and Pittsburgh 26th, they’re actually even worse on offense. The Steelers are 29th in the league in Offensive DVOA while the Bengals are one spot behind them at 30th.

The Steelers not only have an inexperienced QB in Rudolph but they also lack play-makers at skill positions. Running back James Conner is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry and has yet to break 100 yards this year, not in a game, in total for the ENTIRE season. JuJu Smith-Schuster is productive but he can’t do it all by himself, and let’s be honest he’s nowhere near as good as a prime Antonio Brown.

While the Bengals have some talented skill players they have a terrible offensive line and they are prone to mistakes, with the most turnovers in the league at 2.7 per game. Pittsburgh on the other hand leads the league in takeaways with 2.3 per game. I’m expecting both offenses to make their share of mistakes in this one. Back the Under.

PICK: Under 45

FULL GAME SIDE

While Cincy got blown out against the Niners in Week 2 they’ve actually been very competitive in their other two games, both on the road. They lost by just a single point against the Seahawks in Week 1 and came back to take the lead in the fourth quarter last week before a late TD by Frank Gore gave the Bills victory.

Those late spurts on offense could prove very useful against a Steelers stop-unit that is giving up a whopping 18.3 points per game in the second half. Pittsurgh might get out to an early lead but they could have trouble seperating themselves from the Bengals, especially down the stretch.

The Bengals are 6-0 ATS in their last six games dating back to last year and are 6-1 ATS in their previous seven games on the road. With the Steelers just 4-10 ATS in their last 14 home contests, take the Bengals to cover as road dogs on Monday night.

PICK: Cincinnati +3

PointsBet USA unveils partnership with Detroit Tigers

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In the absence of MLB games until – hopefully – later this month, MLB betting made some news Thursday with the announcement that PointsBet USA is now the official gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers. It’s the first such arrangement between a sports betting entity and an MLB team, made possible by PointsBet USA’s recent agreement with MLB designating the sportsbook as an authorized gaming operator by the league.

“The PointsBet team is excited to announce our groundbreaking deal with the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball, becoming the first legal sports betting operator in U.S. history to partner with an MLB franchise,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said in a news release. “We offer the most betting options in the world on MLB games via our unique PointsBetting product, and we are excited to inject a unique and robust betting proposition into the great state of Michigan.”

Michigan legalized sports betting in December, for both brick-and-mortar and online operators, and books began taking bets in March. PointsBet USA is not only the first book to partner with an MLB franchise, but the first to partner with any Michigan-based professional sports team.

As part of the multi-year deal, PointsBet USA will have TV broadcast-visible branding at Comerica Park, a sponsored presence on the Tigers’ digital platforms, and will be integrated into The District Detroit app and the MLB Ballpark app.

“We are thrilled to welcome PointsBet as a gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers,” said Chris Granger, group president of sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings. “Our incredible fans will love the unique experiences and innovative offerings that PointsBet’s personalized platform provides. We look forward to the fan-friendly enhancements this will bring to the game-day experience in and around Comerica Park for years to come.”

NBA betting: Eight seeding games to bet when NBA returns

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NBA betting is back on the board with the NBA season restarting in Orlando after the COVID-19 shutdown. From July 30-August 14, the 22 remaining teams with NBA Championship aspirations will face off against each other to determine playoff seeding, so get ready for some exciting matchups.

We take a look at eight must-bet NBA seeding games to watch as the league returns to action.

Clippers vs Lakers (-1.5, 218.5), July 30, 9 p.m. ET

When the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, take on Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA doesn’t get much better than this. Opening day and Christmas Day also featured this marquee matchup and the opening night of the restart in Orlando will mark the fourth time this season that these LA rivals have faced off.

The Lakers are third in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing 106.9 points per game, while the Clippers hold opponents to just 43.6 percent shooting from the field, also third-best in the league. With both teams coming in off lengthy breaks, there may be some rust on the offensive end of the floor making the Under 218.5 an intriguing play.

Betting trend to watch: The Clips won the first two meetings while the Lakers won the last one in March. The Under hit in each of those contests with an average score of 108.7-106.7 in favor of the Clippers.

Celtics vs Bucks (-5, 217.5), July 31, 6:30 p.m. ET

Barring an absolute collapse, the Milwaukee Bucks will wrap up the No. 1 seed in the East, but they will still likely want to play MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo in this one just to shake off the cobwebs after the break.

This could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals and it will be interesting to see how Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker looks after being hampered by knee issues following the All-Star break. Boston split the series with Milwaukee during the season and Walker torched the Bucks both times, scoring 32 points against them in November and putting up 40 on them in January.

Betting trend to watch: Milwaukee opened as a five-point favorite, with the total set at 217.5, but don’t count out the Celtics, who have gone an impressive 14-4 ATS as an underdog this season.

Rockets vs Mavericks (+1.5, 225.5), July 31, 9 p.m. ET

The battle between James Harden and Luka Doncic will be a treat for basketball fans, but the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks have plenty of firepower in addition to their All-NBA guards.

With the full game total for this contest opening at a reasonable 225.5, keep an eye on the first half total when it drops.

Betting trend to watch: Fast starts have been a trend for both squads, with Houston leading the league with 59.9 first-half points per game and Dallas second with 59.3 ppg. For good measure, the Rockets also rank 25th in the NBA in first-half scoring defense, surrendering 58.1 ppg.

Heat vs Nuggets (-1, 212.5), August 1, 1 p.m ET

Both the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets could see their seeding change dramatically based on how they perform in Orlando. Miami has an absolute gauntlet to run through with its first four games against Denver, Toronto, Boston and Milwaukee.

The Nuggets have long had a massive edge at home, due to the increased elevation at the Pepsi Center, and losing that advantage in Orlando could hurt. Then again, Miami could be in the same boat considering that they posted an average scoring margin of plus-9.3 ppg at home — and that plummeted to minus-2.7 in away contests.

Betting trend to watch: The Heat have been one of the highest-scoring teams in the league during the first quarter, but have really struggled to put the ball in the hoop at the end of games, averaging just 26 ppg in the fourth quarter. With Denver holding opponents to just 26.2 fourth-quarter points per game on the road, this is a trend you’ll want to consider when live betting in the final 12 minutes.

Bucks vs Rockets, August 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

It’s always a blast watching two MVP favorites face off against each other, and after Harden came up short against Antetokounmpo last year there seems to be a lack of respect between the two superstars. The Greek Freak took a potshot at Harden when he selected his team during All-Star weekend, with the Rockets guard responding with, “I wish I could be 7 feet and run and just dunk. Like, that takes no skill at all.”

Betting trend to watch: Unfortunately for the small-ball Rockets, defending in the paint is their biggest weakness, especially after trading away Clint Capela left them with the 6’5″ PJ Tucker often manning the center position. Houston allows 51.5 ppg in the paint, sixth-worst in the league, and Giannis is the most dominant inside scorer since Shaq, putting up 29.6 ppg this season.

Grizzlies vs Pelicans, August 3, 6:30 p.m. ET

Not only will this matchup feature the two best rookies in the league in Ja Morant and Zion Williamson, but it will also be a prime spot for the New Orleans Pelicans to gain ground on the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

New Orleans was impressive on offense even without Zion and have become even more unstoppable since the first-overall draft pick joined the team on January 22. Once Zion joined the fold the Pelicans averaged 120.1 ppg and played at the fastest pace in the league.

Betting trend to watch: Thanks in large part to Morant, Memphis also looks good on the offensive end of the floor, ranking seventh in the league in both possessions per game and shooting percentage. With both teams electrifying on offense – and terrible on defense – this should be a very fun game with the Over worth looking at.

Trail Blazers vs Nuggets, August 6, 8 p.m ET

There might not a more dangerous team currently outside a playoff spot than the Portland Trail Blazers, who arguably boast the second-best backcourt out of all 22 teams in Orlando and will also get center Jusuf Nurkic back from a broken leg. The Nuggets are third in the West but sit only 1.5 games behind the Clippers and 1.5 games ahead of the Jazz, so every game matters.

This is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference semifinals, where the Blazers upset the Nuggets in seven games. In three games head-to-head this year the Nuggets went 3-0 SU and ATS.

Betting trend to watch: Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard has struggled against Denver, averaging 21.6 ppg on 37.7 percent shooting over his last seven regular-season games against the Nuggets. Although he played better during the playoff series last season, it was CJ McCollum who carried the Blazers offense, especially in Game 7 when Lillard went 3-17 from the field.

Raptors vs 76ers, August 12, 6:30 p.m. ET

There might not be much on the line if the Toronto Raptors have already secured a seed by this time, but if their nerve-wracking seven-game playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers last year is any indication, this should still be a great game.

Betting trend to watch: It will be interesting to see how these teams play on neutral ground. Toronto has been one of the best teams in the league away from home, going 23-9 SU and 16-15 ATS and posting an average scoring margin of plus-4.2 ppg. On the other hand, the 76ers have been terrible on the road, going 10-24 SU, 9-23 ATS and posting a scoring margin of minus-5.3.