A pair of 0-1 teams from the AFC North look to pick up their first win of the 2013 campaign when Pittsburgh heads to Cincinnati for a hard-hitting Monday night affair. The Steelers were by far the more disappointing team in Week 1 but a game against a division rival could shake them up and get them ready for the season. Here’s a look at this matchup in the sportsbook.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Monday, September 16th – 8:30 PM ET
Odds: Bengals -6.5
What’s Up With The Steelers?
Offensively, the Steelers looked terrible in a 16-9 loss at home to Tennessee, racking up just 194 yards, including a meager 31 on 15 rushes. Ben Roethlisberger was 21-of-33 for 191 yards with a touchdown and a pick for the Steelers, who also had a couple of turnovers and didn’t find the end zone until Jerricho Cotchery’s four-yard reception from Roethlisberger with 1:23 left to play. At least the defense held up their end of the bargain as Ryan Clark led the way with 13 tackles, but they can’t hold up the team all season. The offense has to find its mojo quickly or else it could be a long season in the Steel City.
Can The Bengals Bounce Back?
The Bengals lost a 21-10 third-quarter lead in Chicago, falling 24-21 to the Bears and three turnovers certainly didn’t help their cause. Andy Dalton was 26-of-33 for 282 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he was also picked off twice and while many are picking the Bengals to be somewhat of a sleeper in the AFC, they’re not good enough yet to overcome three-turnover days. Vontaze Burfict had eight tackles for a Cincinnati defense that didn’t have any sacks to its name, which may be a little alarming against a Chicago team that had to retool its offensive line. It isn’t time to panic yet in Cincinnati, but they have some pressure to deal with this season and they didn’t get off to a good start.
As the home team, the Bengals are a 6.5-point favorite, even though the Steelers have won and covered in seven of the last 10 meetings between the two. The road team won both meetings last season as the Steelers won 24-17 in Cincinnati, while the Bengals returned the favorite by a 13-10 score in Pittsburgh. The Steelers don’t mind going to Cincinnati in the slightest as they’ve won nine of their last 10 road games against the Bengals, covering the spread in eight of them (one game was also a push).
While the Bengals have a better chance to win the game straight up, 6.5 points is a lot to bet against a veteran Pittsburgh team with a lot of pride and they should look at that line as a show of disrespect. With some matchups, there may be a mental advantage and it appears as though the Steelers have that over the Bengals, although last year’s win for Cincinnati in Pittsburgh may have erased a little of that mistake. If you’re looking to bet straight up, take the Bengals but if you want play against the NFL spread, go with the Steelers.
Pick: Steelers +6.5