NFL Week 14 Betting Picks: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, Ohio
Sunday, December 13, 2015, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Cincinnati -3
Current Line: Cincinnati -2 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 47
Current Total: 49 1/2
Opening Money Line: Bengals -165 / Steelers +145
Current Money Line: Bengals -145 / Steelers +125

The Bengals host the Steelers Sunday in a key AFC North contest.
The Bengals host the Steelers Sunday in a key AFC North contest.

The 10-2 Cincinnati Bengals host the 7-5 Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday in a key contest with playoff implications for both teams. Cincinanti is currently part of a three way tie for the best record in the AFC with the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots. Cincinnati holds the tie-breaker for home field advantage in the playoffs. The Bengals can clinch the AFC South with a win Sunday over the Steelers. Cincinnati can clinch at least a playoff berth with a loss by either the Kansas City Chiefs or New York Jets this week. Pittsburgh is part of a three way tie for the two wild card spots with the Chiefs and Jets, but the Steelers are currently the odd team out because of tiebreakers.

Pittsburgh leads the series 56-35 against Cincinnati. The Bengals won the first meeting this season November 1 in Pittsburgh 16-10 to snap a three game losing streak against the Steelers. Pittsburgh took a 10-6 lead into the fourth, but Cincinnati scored 10 points in the quarter to take the win. The two teams combined for five turnovers, including two crucial fourth quarter interceptions by Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers had a chance to win but time ran out with the Steelers at the Cincinnati 16.

Pittsburgh is coached by Mike Tomlin. The Steelers have home wins over the San Francisco 49ers 43-18, Arizona Cardinals 25-13, Oakland Raiders 38-35, Cleveland Browns 30-9 and Indianapolis Colts 45-10 last week, along with road wins at the St. Louis Rams 12-6 and San Diego Chargers 24-20. Pittsburgh has road losses at the New England Patriots 28-21, Kansas City Chiefs 23-13 and Seattle Seahawks 39-30, along with home losses to the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 in overtime and Cincinnati Bengals 16-10.

Pittsburgh was a 10 point favorite against Indianapolis Sunday and the total was 50.5. The Colts took a 10-6 lead midway through the second quarter, but Pittsburgh would score the last 39 points of the game.  Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 364 yards with four touchdown passes. Antonio Brown caught 2 touchdowns and also had a 71 yard punt return for a touchdown. Pittsburgh had over 500 total yards to just 240 for Indianapolis. The teams combined for 5 turnovers including 3 by the Colts. Pittsburgh is 7-4-1 ATS and the total is 4-8 this season.

Cincinnati is coached by Marvin Lewis. The Bengals have home wins over the Chargers 24-19, Chiefs 36-21, Seahawks 27-24 in overtime, Browns 31-10 and Rams 31-7, plus road wins at the Raiders 33-13, Ravens 28-24, Buffalo Bills 34-21, Steelers 16-10 and Browns last week 37-3. Cincinnati has a home loss to the Houston Texans 10-6 and a road loss at the Cardinals 34-31.

Cincinnati was a 7.5 point favorite against Cleveland and the total was 44. The Bengals dominated from start to finish. Cincinnati scored the first 20 points of the game before Cleveland kicked a field goal on the last play of the first half. The Bengals added 17 points in the second half to complete the rout. Cleveland had the only two turnovers of the game. The Bengals are 10-1-1 ATS and the total is 6-6 this season.

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Pittsburgh is outscoring teams 26-20 this season. The Steelers are #8 in points allowed and #6 in scoring. Pittsburgh is averaging 409 yards per game on offense including 286 passing and 123 rushing yards. The Steelers are #6 or better in all three categories. On defense, Pittsburgh is allowing 366 total yards per game including 276 passing and 90 rushing yards. Pittsburgh is #6 in rush defense but #29 against the pass.  The Steelers are  60/158 on third and fourth down conversions. Opponents are 71/184. Pittsburgh has forced 35 sacks and allowed 25 this year. The Steelers are +2 in turnovers, with a defensive and a special teams touchdown.

Pittsburgh has used three quarterbacks this season. Ben Roethlisberger had completed 65.9% of his passes for 2,707 yards with 15 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He missed several games with a foot injury. Michael Vick started a few games but was benched in favor of Landry Jones. Vick has thrown for 371 yards with 2 interceptions, and also has 99 rushing yards. Jones has passed for 513 yards with 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

Running back DeAngelo Williams has 141 carries for 697 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 25 catches for 256 yards. Le’Veon Bell has 113 carries for 556 yards and 3 touchdowns along with 24 catches for 136 yards. He is out for the season with a torn ACL. Besides Vick and Roethlisberger, no other running back has more than 4 carries.

Receiver Antonio Brown has 93 catches for 1,310 yards and 7 touchdowns. Martavis Bryant has 31 catches for 623 yards and 6 touchdowns. Markus Wheaton has 28 catches for 524 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Tight end Heath Miller has 39 catches for 390 yards and a touchdown. He is questionable with a rib injury. Darrius Heyward-Bey has 18 catches for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Matt Spaeth is questionable with a knee injury. Three defensive players and three offensive linemen are on the injury report.

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Cincinnati is outscoring teams 28-16 this season. The Bengals are #4 in scoring and #1 in points allowed. Cincinnati averages 376 yards per game on offense including 258 passing and 118 rushing yards. The Bengals are in the top 9 in total and rushing offense.  Cincinnati is allowing 338 yards per game including 240 passing and 97 rushing yards. The Bengals are #10 in total defense and #9 in rush defense. Cincinnati is 70/163 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 67/175. The Bengals have forced 32 sacks and have allowed 20. Cincinnati is +8 in turnovers. The Bengals have allowed 2 defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Andy Dalton has completed 66.1% of his passes for 3,191 yards with 25 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and also has 142 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. He is an MVP candidate.

Running back Giovani Bernard has 120 carries for 607 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 37 catches for 386 yards. Jeremy Hill has 162 carries for 588 yards with 8 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown.

Receiver A.J. Green has 70 catches for 1,037 yards and 7 touchdowns. Tight end Tyler Eifert has 46 catches for 522 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is probable with a stinger. Marvin Jones has 47 catches for 595 yards and 4 touchdowns. Mohamed Sanu has 25 catches for 327 yards, along with 48 rushing yards and a touchdown. Receiver James Wright is out for the season with a knee injury. Five defensive backs are questionable or out.

Pittsburgh is 8-0 ATS in December, 4-0 after scoring more than 30 points, and after rushing for more than 150 yards, 5-1 after passing for more than 250 yards, 11-3 against teams with winning records, 20-8 against teams with winning home records, 5-2 in road games, 11-5-1 overall, 1-3-1 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 3-10 after allowing less than 250 total yards, and 1-4-1 after allowing less than 15 points. The under is 6-2 in this series recently. The Steelers are 8-3 ATS overall against the Bengals and 13-2-1 in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati is 7-0 ATS against teams with winning road records, 4-0 against teams with winning records, and against AFC North teams, 8-1-1 after a straight up win and after a cover, 8-1 against AFC teams, 5-1-1 on fieldturf, 5-1 after allowing 15 points or less, 4-1-1 after scoring 30 points or more and after a straight up win by 14 points or more, 4-1 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards,  and after gaining more than 350 total yards, 10-3 in December, 19-6-2 at home, 35-17-3 overall, and 1-7 in week 13. The over is 5-2 in Cincinanti in this series recently. The favorite is 7-3 ATS in this series recently.

Both teams are coming off blowout wins last week. I think this will be a much higher scoring game than the meeting in Pittsburgh last month. The Bengals might be the best team in the AFC but the Broncos and Patriots are very good too. I like Cincinnati to win a close game at home.

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