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

Leave a comment

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

Unbeaten Aztecs to start hot, and the NCAA basketball best bets you need to make this weekend

AP Photo
Leave a comment

The San Diego State Aztecs will look to keep their perfect season going on Sunday, while Texas Tech and Kentucky tangle in a matchup between two Top-20 teams on Saturday night. Rohit Ponnaiya digs into the college basketball odds and brings you his favorite bets and predictions for the weekend.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

The game of the night Friday will take place in the Big East as Marquette tangles with Butler. After falling 76-61 to Villanova on Tuesday (which made us a bit of money), Butler has now lost three straight games after beginning the season with a 15-1 record. In Butler’s last three games they’ve allowed 112.3 points per 100 possessions and a large reason for that is that they’ve been sending opposing teams to the line. Over that three game span they’ve given foes an average of 26.7 free throw attempts per game.

That’s bad news against a Marquette squad that has scored at least 82 points in each of it’s last three games and is led by the leading scorer in the country in Markus Howard. Howard has averaged 35 points per game over his last five contests and has averaged 12.5 FTA over his last two. As a team the Golden Eagles know how to get to the line, attempting 23.6 free throws per game, 18th highest in the country. We like the Over 64.5 on Marquette’s team total. 

EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS

Two Top-20 teams face off in the Lone Star State on Saturday as the Kentucky Wildcats travel to Lubbock to face Texas Tech at 6:00 p.m ET. This matchup should get plenty of action with the Red Raiders coming off a Final Four finish while Kentucky is…well Kentucky.

Texas Tech is coming off a road loss against TCU but is 9-1 at home. Chris Beard’s Red Raiders are known for their defensive intensity and this year’s squad ranks 7th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to the KenPom rating system. That said, Kentucky ranks 42nd in defensive efficiency and 32nd in offensive efficiency (while Texas Tech ranks 97th on offense).

Kentucky has three guards (Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey) that love to apply pressure on opposing ball-handlers while also being able to create their own shot. With Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery, Calipari’s squad has a (pardon the pun) big edge in size and rebounding ability. And unlike past editions of the Wildcats, this team has plenty of veteran experience so don’t expect them to be rattled playing in hostile territory.

We’re expecting Texas Tech to have the chalk and backing UK as the likely underdog, but if public action makes the Wildcats the faves the value will be on the Red Raiders.

HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN DEVILS

It’s the battle of Arizona on Saturday night as the Arizona State Sun Devils host the Arizona Wildcats. These teams met up on January 4, with the Wildcats routing ASU by a score of 75-47. But don’t expect to see a repeat of that score with the Sun Devils now enjoying home-court advantage.

The Wildcats led by guard Nico Mannion and big man Zeke Nnaji are 13-5 but they have been very beatable when playing outside of Tucson. They’re 9-2 ATS at home but just 1-6 ATS on the road and at neutral sites. They have an average scoring margin of plus-26.6 ppg at home but that falls to minus-1 ppg away from home.

The Sun Devils also play way better in front of their home crowd, outscoring opponents by a margin of plus-15.7 ppg in Tempe, compared to minus-7.2 ppg when they have to travel. Take the home side to cover as underdogs.

THE LAST OF THE UNBEATENS

The last unbeaten team in the country are the No. 4 San Diego Aztecs who head to Vegas to take on the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels on Sunday. The Aztecs have an aggressive defense and have been holding opponents to just 56.7 ppg on 36.7 percent shooting. But SDSU has been effective on the offensive end of the floor as well, ranking 14th in the country in offensive efficiency.

UNLV has been solid, winning seven of the their last nine games and going 6-3 ATS, but they might be out of their depth here. Their two losses during that span were by 14 points against Nevada and seven points against Boise State. The Aztecs beat Nevada by 13 points and clobbered BSU by 18 after leading by 23 points at halftime.

UNLV has been sloppy with the ball turning the ball over 14.6 times per game, second-worst among all Mountain West teams. SDSU has just 11.1 turnovers per game on offense while their pesky defense forces 15.2 TO per game. The full game spread might be a bit too rich for our blood but with the Aztecs fifth in the nation with an average first-half scoring margin of plus-9.2 ppg, look for them to cover the 1H spread. 

MID-MAJOR TO WATCH: DAYTON (17-2 SU, 11-8 ATS, 13-6 O/U)

Dayton is flying up the rankings currently sitting at No. 7. Their 17-2 record is even more impressive when you consider that both defeats were in overtime to quality opponents, falling 90-84 to Kansas and 78-76 to Colorado.

Led by forward Obi Toppin (19.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 62.3 percent shooting) the Flyers are first in the country in field goal percentage at 52.5 percent and rank third in scoring with 83 ppg. On Saturday they take on the Richmond Spiders who can also fill up the basket converting at a clip of 47.5 percent from the field, including a sizzling 57.6 percent from the floor over their last three games. The Over is worth looking at.

NATIONAL TITLE ODDS

Gonzaga isn’t a program to sleep on anymore, currently sitting at No. 1 in the polls and with the best odds to win the National Championship at +1000. The Zags have the top rated offense in the nation, putting up 88.8 ppg on 50.6 percent shooting and those numbers jump up to 93.5 ppg and 52.5 percent at home.

On Saturday, Gonzaga hosts Pacific and will probably be favored by more than 20 points. Gonzaga is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings at home between the two teams dating back to 2016, and the average score of those games was 80-52 in favor of Gonzaga.

If you want to look at a team that’s tumbled down the odds board look no further than the Memphis Tigers who came into the season at +1300 after a terrific recruiting class. After top freshman James Wiseman was suspended and then chose to leave the school, Memphis has looked ugly, coming off a 80-40 smackdown at the hands of Tulsa on Wednesday night. The Tigers currently sit at +6000 odds and even that might be generous. Memphis will try to get back on track on Saturday as they host SMU.

BETTING TRENDS

• By holding Memphis to just 40 points, Tulsa managed to cash the Under for the sixth game in a row. The Golden Hurricanes are 15-4 to the Under and will take on UConn on Sunday. Thanks to a defense that ranks inside the Top-50 teams in the country in opponent FG percentage and an offense that ranks outside the Top-250 in FG percentage, the Huskies have also been a great Under bet, going below the total in 12 of their last 16 contests.

• Virginia has been awful on offense, terrific on defense and plays at the slowest pace in Div 1. But oddsmakers might set the total for their Sunday matchup on the road against Wake Forest a tad too low. The Demon Deacons have gone 8-0-1 to the Over in their last nine games and are 7-1 O/U at home this season.

• Austin Peay is 7-0 ATS in their last seven games overall and is a perfect 6-0 ATS at home this season. On Saturday, the Governors will host the Belmont Bruins in a Ohio Valley Conference matchup. The Bruins are coming off a 10-point loss on the road against Murray State and have failed to cover in their last two away contests.

NHL Midseason betting review: Stanley Cup futures odds and best bets

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the NHL heading into the All-Star break we take a look the updated futures odds to win the Stanley Cup as well as the best and worst teams to wager on in terms of Moneyline, Puckline and Over/Under bets.

Despite Washington leading the way for the Presidents’ Trophy this season, Tampa Bay still has the best odds to win the Stanley Cup. The Lightning are followed by the Boston Bruins and the defending Stanley Cup champions the St. Louis Blues.

On the other hand, the Toronto Maple Leafs have fallen outside the Top-5 and now sit at +2000, while the San Jose Sharks have plummeted from a Stanley Cup contender to a +8000 long shot.

Here are every teams’ odds to win the Stanley Cup, courtesy of the Superbook at Westgate:

Teams Odds to win Stanley Cup (as of Jan 23)
Tampa Bay Lightning +600
Boston Bruins +800
St. Louis Blues +800
Washington Capitals +1,000
Colorado Avalanche +1,000
Vegas Golden Knights +1,000
Pittsburgh Penguins +1,200
Dallas Stars +1,200
Arizona Coyotes +1,600
Florida Panthers +2,000
Toronto Maple Leafs +2,000
Vancouver Canucks +2,000
Edmonton Oilers +2,500
Calgary Flames +2,500
New York Islanders +4,000
Carolina Hurricanes +4,000
Nashville Predators +4,000
Columbus Blue Jackets +4,000
Philadelphia Flyers +5,000
Winnpeg Jets +5,000
Minnesota Wild +6,000
San Jose Sharks +8,000
Montreal Canadiens +10,000
New York Rangers +10,000
Buffalo Sabres +10,000
Chicago Blackhawks +10,000
Los Angelas Kings +50,000
Anahiem Ducks +100,000
Ottawa Senators +200,000
New Jersey Devils +200,000
Detroit Red Wings +1,000,000

The Capitals don’t just have the best record in the league, they’ve also been the best Over bet as well as the top team to back on the moneyline returning a profit of +9.35 units for bettors this season.

Thanks to rookie goalie Elvis Merzlikins and a group of forwards that can’t find the back of the net, the Columbus Blue Jackets have been the NHL’s best Under bet. The top team to back on the puckline as a favorite has been the surprising Vancouver Canucks who lead the Pacific Division.

While the Golden Knights were sweating sportsbooks when they made their Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago, oddsmakers have made some of that money back this season as the Knights have been the second-worst money team in the league. The Knights are still way ahead of Detroit who has cost bettors dearly with a loss of almost 20 units.

BEST OVER BETS

Teams Over/Under
Washington Capitals 31-18
Florida Panthers 30-17
Nashville Predators 28-17
Toronto Maple Leafs 28-18
Tampa Bay Lightning 27-20

BEST UNDER BETS

Teams Over/Under
Colombus Blue Jackets 18-32
Dallas Stars 16-29
Carolina Hurricanes 21-29
San Jose Sharks 21-28
Calgary Flames 20-27

BEST MONEY BETS

Teams Total Money Won (based on 100$ bets)
Washington Capitals $935
New York Islanders $700
Colombus Blue Jackets $605
Pittsburgh Penguins $596
New York Rangers $567

WORST MONEY BETS

Teams Total Money Won (based on 100$ bets)
Detroit Red Wings $-1992
Las Vegas Golden Knights $-1010
Los Angelas Kings $-916
San Jose Sharks $-895
Toronto Maple Leafs $-829

BEST PUCKLINE TEAMS AT -1.5 

Teams Total Money Won as Puckline Favorite (PL record as favorite)
Vancouver Canucks $840 (11-12)
Colorado Avalanche $771 (14-14)
Chicago Blackhawks $480 (7-8)
Florida Panthers $410 (13-17)
New York Rangers $375 (5-5)