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

Running up the points with Rockets, and the college football bets you need to make in Week 12

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Are you ready for some more MAC-tion? Because there are two more games on the schedule Wednesday night. We break down the best bets for these games and take a look at the weekend ahead in college football – from sides and totals to props and everything in between.

ROOM TO ROAM

The Toledo Rockets might be only slight favorites for Wednesday night’s MAC tilt with visiting Northern Illinois, but they have a significant advantage in at least one area – and it could turn this one into a bit of a laugher. The Rockets come into the game with the nation’s No. 12 rushing offense, averaging nearly 251 yards per game on the ground – and they’ve been especially dominant over their previous two games, racking up a combined 664 rushing yards in narrow victories over Eastern Michigan and Kent State. The Huskies, meanwhile, are coming off getting routed 48-10 to Central Michigan in which the Chippewas posted 327 rushing yards.

An edge like this makes Toledo a terrific option in a variety of different bet scenarios; we recommend buying a few points in their favor and taking an alternate line of -6.5.

MIAMI (OH) FOR 3

The Miami (OH) Redhawks should have little trouble filling the board Wednesday night as they host a Bowling Green defense that ranks among the worst in the nation in points allowed. But while the Falcons have surrendered a mind-boggling 33.8 points per game so far this season, the Redhawks might not necessarily be headed for a parade to the end zone. Miami (Ohio) has one of the worst touchdown-to-field-goal ratios in the country coming into Week 12, having scored 22 TDs compared with 16 FGs – six of those coming over the course of their current three-game winning streak.

Miami (Ohio) is a big-time favorite here, and is a good bet to open the scoring given BGSU’s 2.5 first-half-points-per-game average on the road this season. We like the Redhawks FG to kick off the point parade.

GILBERT  GETTING BACK

Kansas State’s premier rushing threat might be back on the field this weekend. Wildcats senior James Gilbert practiced on Tuesday and is trending in the right direction as he recovers from an undisclosed ailment that kept him out of last week’s 27-24 loss to the Texas Longhorns. It was originally thought that Gilbert would be in the lineup vs. Texas, but he was a late exclusion – and Kansas State struggled in his absence, finishing with a paltry 51 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Gilbert ranks ninth in the Big 12 Conference in rushing yards (558) while adding five touchdowns on the ground.

Gilbert’s return would invigorate a Kansas State rush attack that has a favorable matchup against a West Virginia defense allowing 173 rushing yards per game. We recommend the hosts ATS if Gilbert is deemed fit to return.

WAKING NIGHTMARE

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have seen their season take a terrible turn with word that standout wide receiver Sage Surratt will miss the remainder of 2019 with an undisclosed injury. Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson confirmed Tuesday that Surratt, who wasn’t featured on the team’s depth chart ahead of its Week 12 encounter with Clemson, would be out for the rest of the season – though he wouldn’t specify what was wrong with the star wideout. Surratt finishes the year with 1,001 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 66 receptions as the premier target for quarterback Jamie Newman.

The absence of Surratt should give bettors even less of a reason to bank on Wake Forest, which has seen the line shift as far as four points in Clemson’s favor. Look for the Tigers to keep the undermanned Deacons below their team total.

Too late to start fading the Fins, and the NFL bets you need to make in Week 11

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This may require a double-take, but listen up. The Miami Dolphins have been the best bet in the NFL since the start of October. Yes, those Miami Dolphins. We break down the odds and let you know what bets we like in Week 11 of the NFL as we dive into sides, totals, props and more. 

STAYING HOT IN Q1

The hottest team in the league right now is Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens. After knocking off the Patriots in Week 9, they turned their crosshairs on the winless Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10. The Ravens ran just 48 offensive plays but managed to put up 49 points. Lost in the 49-13 win was the fact that Baltimore moved to 8-1 against the first-quarter spread after winning the first 15 minutes 14-0.

This week, Baltimore is a 4-point home favorite versus a Houston team that is coming off their bye. If you don’t trust a team coming off a blowout win versus the worst team in the league and/or covering their last three games, take a look at the 1Q Ravens -0.5 (-105) as an alternative.

Baltimore is second in the league in first quarter points per game at 9.5 and third in the league in points against in the first quarter at 3.67 while the Texans are 0-3-1 on the road this year in the first quarter. Take the Ravens 1Q -0.5.

FEAST AWAITS EVANS

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face a very motivated New Orleans Saints team Sunday, but NOLA will be without their top cornerback in Marcus Lattimore. The third-year CB is week-to-week with a hamstring injury meaning Bucs WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will face sub-par corners in P.J. Williams and Eli Apple.

As Brad Evans pointed out on twitter, this is especially great news for Mike Evans who has struggled over his career versus Lattimore. Evans put up a donut early this year in Week 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and averaged 9.5 targets for three catches and 34 yards in two games in 2017 (last year Lattimore struggled following up his 2017 DROY but has been much better this year).

Even with Jameis Winston getting sacked nearly four times a game, Evans is averaging 139 yards a game over his last four contests. Jump on Evans’ receiving yard total on any number below 85 and check in on his reception total, hitting the Over on any number below 7.

LOADING SCREEN

No team in the league relies on the screen game more than the Minnesota Vikings. Per ESPN, Minnesota is averaging 9.8 yards per screen attempt which is 3.5 yards more per attempt than the No.10 team.

The beneficiary of this is running back Dalvin Cook who gashed the Cowboys in primetime every time he got the ball with blockers ahead of him. Over the last three games, Cook has amassed 193 yards receiving and will face a Denver Broncos’ defense that is giving up 8.6 yards per pass to RBs since Week 8.

Grab the Over on Cook’s receiving yards on any total less than 40 yards.

LOADING SCREEN PT. 2

If you’re tailing the Cook receiving yards play and want some action on the other side of the ball, maybe look to fade the Broncos’ backfield in receiving yards. Denver is the worst team at generating yards on the screen game (3.7 yards per attempt) and neither Phillip Lindsay nor Royce Freeman has topped 17 yards receiving in the last two weeks. In the only game Brandon Allen has started at quarterback, Lindsay wasn’t targeted at all and Freeman saw one target which he lost a yard on.

Feel confident in taking Lindsay’s Under receiving yards on anything greater than 19 and Freeman’s Under on any number greater than 25.

AIN’T FADING THE FINS NOW

The best team ATS over the last five weeks has been the Miami Dolphins. The former 0-7 team has rattled off five-straight wins ATS and face a Buffalo Bills team that has zero offensive identity of late and trailed the Dolphins by five points heading into the fourth quarter just four weeks ago.

We are a little bearish on Miami hitting a sixth-straight win ATS but have no problem fading Josh Allen’s Bills who are putting up just 288 yards of total offense over the last three weeks, good for sixth-worst. Their once stellar defense now sits 12th in Wtd DVOA — 9th against the pass and 27th against the run.

The Bills needed 22 4th-quarter points in their last meeting to cover their team total and we don’t see Brian Daboll’s offense clearing 23.5 points since they are 2-5 O/U that total in their last seven.

Get on the Bills’ team total Under 23.5 now, as it may drop under this key number later in the week.