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

VanVleet picks up where he left off in the playoffs, and the NBA bets you need to make Tuesday

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Opening day of the 2019-20 NBA season is here with the defending champion Toronto Raptors hosting the New Orleans Pelicans. The late matchup pairs the top two choices to win it all, according to the NBA betting odds, with the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the new-look Los Angeles Clippers. 

If you’re betting on the NBA openers, we have the best bets and prop predictions for Tuesday’s two games.

BIG CHANGES IN THE BIG EASY

The Pelicans sport one of the most overhauled rosters in the NBA after trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and draft picks. New Orleans then selected Zion Williamson first overall in the draft, but unfortunately, his debut will have to wait as he is expected to miss the first couple of weeks with a knee injury. Some more big pickups include Derrick Favors and J.J. Redick.

Although Redick is playing for a new squad this year, while with Philadelphia he had success versus the Raptors in the playoffs, shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 41 percent from beyond the arc, and scored 15 or more points in four of those seven postseason games. With an increased role on the Pelicans and some good shooting numbers, back Over his points total of 16.5 on PointsBet.

NO HANGOVER HERE

The Raptors kick their season off playing a double-header with the first game at home to the Pelicans. The 2018-2019 season saw the Raptors set franchise records in points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, and 3-point shots made. A regression is expected with Toronto losing both Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green but still finds itself a 7-point favorite in the season opener.

With the Championship banner being hoisted, rings handed out, and the Raptors looking to start the schedule strong, look for them to take care of business and cover at home as 7-point favorites.

RIGHT SAID FRED

With Toronto PG Kyle Lowry undergoing surgery on his finger in the offseason, don’t be surprised to see big numbers out of Fred VanVleet in the first few games of the schedule.

Last season, VanVleet averaged 27.5 minutes with 11 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. Although this is a revamped Pelicans roster with many new faces, New Orleans struggled to defend opposing point guards last year, allowing 23.3 points per game and the league’s highest assists per game average at 9.1 to that position. If he carries over his postseason play, VanVleet will be a major player and offensive contributor for the defending champs. Take Over his assists total of 4.5.

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

The Lakers start their second season with LeBron James at the helm but has more support behind him with guys like Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and Danny Green. The Clippers were also busy in the offseason, adding MVP talents in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

George will not be playing in the opening game (out until November while recovering from shoulder surgery), which plays a major role in shaping this spread, which sees the Purple and Gold as short “home” favorites in the war for the Staples Center.

LeBron and the Lakers have a lot to prove after a terrible finish to 2018-19 and we like them to cover as 2.5-points favorites Tuesday.

DOWN TO DEFENSE

With both Leonard and Patrick Beverly on the floor, the Clippers will be a difficult team to score on. With George out of action and this L.A. offense not firing on all cylinders, the Clippers certainly have the defense to keep things close.

The Lakers have plenty of scoring options but miss out on the services of Kyle Kuzma (18.7 ppg in 2018-19), who will be sitting out in the opening game with a foot injury. While it’s Game 1 of an 82-game season, this Los Angeles rivalry could have playoff intensity right out of the gate. We like a lower-scoring game and the Under 225.5 points Tuesday night. 

Lakers vs Clippers NBA betting picks and predictions: Davis will dominate down low on opening night

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The 2019-2020 NBA season starts off with a bang tonight as two revamped teams with some of the best players in the world take to the court in Los Angeles as the Lakers face the Clippers. 

Expectations are sky-high for both teams after the Lakers added Anthony Davis as a running mate for Lebron James, while the Clippers are led by last year’s NBA Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard. These rivals will be highly motivated to begin the season with a win and stake an early claim as the best team in the league.

We break down the odds for the Battle of L.A. and give you five of our best bets and predictions.

QUICK HITTER

The biggest move the Lakers made in the offseason was obviously the addition of Anthony Davis. But he’s not the only new face with Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley all in line to receive significant minutes in their rotation.

The Clippers have also gone through a makeover adding Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Maurice Harkless. While George won’t play until at least mid-November after undergoing shoulder surgery, the other two should log major minutes.

Playing together in practice and the preseason is no substitute for the actual defensive intensity of an NBA game. So expect both offenses to take some time to gell and back the Under on the 1Q total.

PICK: First Quarter Under 58 (-115)

FIRST HALF BET

The first quarter might see from offensive jitters from both teams but they should begin to settle down after 12 minutes. Lebron James, in particular, should have little problem facilitating the offense while the underrated additions of Green and Cook should improve their three-point efficiency which was among the worst in the league last year.

On defense, they match up well with the Clippers with Lebron able to switch onto Leonard while Bradley can give Lou Williams fits. Rajon Rondo is listed as questionable with a calf injury but if he’s good to go that will be yet another Lakers defender that can pressure opposing ball-handlers.

The Lakers also have a height advantage which should help them win the battle on the boards and get more second chances. Bet on the Lakers to cover the short first-half spread.

PICK: First Half Lakers -1.5 (-120)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

Davis looks like a great fit in the Lakers offense next to Lebron. The Brow can run the pick and roll, attack down low and hit jumpers when he needs to. He gets to face a Clippers team that was among the worst at defending inside last season, giving up 50.7 points per game in the paint. Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac and JaMychal Green will have a major mismatch on their hands against the Lakers star.

Last year Davis combined for 41.8 points, rebounds and assists per game but that includes a stretch towards the end of the season where New Orleans severely limited his minutes. Before the All-Star break, he combined for 45.2 points, rebounds, and assists per contest. Take the Over on his PRA total tonight.

PICK: Anthony Davis – Points, Rebounds and Assists Over 41.5 (-115)

 

FULL GAME TOTAL

The O/U for this game opened at 227 on Saturday and has already dropped to 224 and for good reason. The Clippers should be terrific at defending on the perimeter with Patrick Beverly and Leonard while the Lakers will miss Kyle Kuzma’s production on the offensive end of the floor. Kuzma averaged 18.7 ppg last season but the forward is still recovering from a foot injury.

The Lakers should be much improved at defending the rim with Davis and Howard, which will force Leonard and Lou Williams to carry the offensive load.

The Lakers added plenty of experience and size in the offseason. That might be a formula for winning but also means that they added older players and guys that prefer to set up in the half-court rather than running the floor all game. Expect them to play at a slower pace than last season and take the Under 224.

PICK: Under 224 (-110)

FULL GAME SIDE

As we enter this new era of “Super-Duos” in the NBA the Clippers could find themselves at a disadvantage without one half of their duo. Leonard will do his part on both ends of the floor but the Clippers will need a heroic display from Lou Williams and improved defensive play from their big men if they want to hang with the Lakeshow.

The Clips won’t have an answer for AD and Lebron will come out as healthy and as motivated as he’s been in years. As the season goes on, expect Lakers coach Frank Vogel to start resting his superstars, but he has said that there won’t be any minutes restrictions for Lebron or Davis at the start of the year. Count on the Lakers viewing this as a statement game and back them to pull off the win while covering.

PICK: Los Angeles Lakers -3.5 (-105)