It’s an all AFC North clash for Monday night football this week, with the faltering Pittsburgh Steelers travelling to Ohio to face the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have managed to win just two games all season, while the Steelers, who looked indomitable until December, have lost their last two. Pittsburgh will want to make sure that it returns to form before the post-season begins. Read on to see where we think the best betting value can be found in this intriguing game!
Steelers need to sharpen up
Last week the Bengals were beaten 30-7 at home by the Dallas Cowboys. Significantly, the Bengals fumbled the ball on their first three possessions. That was the first time that an NRL team had fumbled on its first three possessions in over seven years, and highlighted the kind of issues that have affected the Bengals all season. One of those fumbles was committed by halfback Giovani Bernard, who had not personally previously fumbled since he was a rookie back in 2013. Cincinnati will need to be sharper than that on Sunday, as they are facing a defense that is ranked third in the NFL in yards per game allowed (303.1) and first in points allowed (18.2).
The Bengals are not helped by uncertainty over who will play at quarterback on Monday. Brandon Allen has a leg injury and will be assessed on a day-by-day basis leading up to the game. If he can’t play then Ryan Finley may step up to start.
If the Steelers want to head into the play-offs as contenders then they are going to have to sharpen up their offensive running game. They are currently in possession of the NFL’s second-worst rushing attack, averaging 89.1 yards per game. Their chances of a first-round bye in the play-offs have gone now, so it may well be wise to rest a few players this week. The team have gone five months without a week off, so the injuries and staleness are starting to mount. Freshening things up for Monday might be a good idea for head coach Mike Tomlin.
Our Pick: Steelers to win by 7-12
Our tip for this game is that the Steelers will end their recent blip and win pretty convincingly. 888Sport is offering odds of +400 on them winning by seven to 12 points and those odds look pretty tempting to us. While the men from Pittsburgh are clearly a little stale, we predict that they will return to form and give themselves a real boost heading into the business end of the NFL season. That victory should see them finish sixth in the AFC overall.
Our pick: Steelers by 7-12 @ +400 with 888Sport