Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

Heinz Field

Pittsburgh, PA

Betting

Sportsbooks have been fairly fluid with the lines for this game. The battle between winless teams does not look pretty. The Steelers are the Moneyline favorite to win tonight’s game at -175. The spread is currently set at -3.5 (+100) for the Steelers. As for the total, it is set at 44.5 (-105 under). So, what we’re seeing here is a Steelers squeaking out a victory by 3 points or less in a low scoring game. Personally, I’m avoiding the Moneyline and spread for this matchup. However, I do see the over hitting in this battle of bad defenses. I have 0.5 units on the OVER, the same amount on Andy Dalton OVER 260.5 passing yards, and another 0.5 units on Tyler Boyd OVER 70.5 receiving yards. The Steelers have the worst slot corner play in all of football, which is where Boyd does most of his damage. Dalton also averages over 327 passing yards per game.

Injuries

On the Bengals side of things, star receiver A.J. Green remains without a timetable to return. On offense, starting LT Cordy Glenn is ruled out which could spell problems for Dalton. The Bengals defensive side of the ball will be hurting for depth in tonight’s game. D-lineman Kerry Wynn, Ryan Glasgow, and Carl Lawson are all either out or doubtful to play which leaves the team extremely thin on the D-line.

On the Steelers side, Ben Roethlisberger is done for the season so Mason Rudolph continues to take the QB reps. He’ll likely be throwing to a new TE though as Vance McDonald is doubtful to play. This leaves newly acquired Nick Vannett to take care of the TE reps. On defense, starting ILB Vince Williams is out, leaving rookie linebacker Devin Bush to handle the ILB work.

Steelers Offense vs. Bengals Defense

The Steelers have had one of the worst running games in all of football this season. James Connor is averaging less than 3 yards per carry and the team is suffering because of it. Teams are able to focus on the teams best player, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and attempt to slow him down. JuJu has been the only player that has seen some success, even if it is not his normal amount. The Steelers are averaging under 280 yards of offense per game. If there was ever a night to get things going, it would be tonight against the equally putrid Bengals defense.

If there are any positives for this Bengals defense it is that they can get to the QB and force turnovers. The Bengals defense struggles to stop the opposition but at least they can create the occasional turnover. If they can do the same thing tonight, they have a chance to win.

Bengals Offense vs. Steelers Defense

The Bengals offense is one of the most pass-happy in the NFL. This is a result of them playing from behind most of the time. An offense centered around Dalton throwing the ball is not an offense that exudes confidence. Starting runningback Joe Mixon has been even less effective than the Steelers ground attack. As previously mentioned, the Steelers can be attacked in the slot. Don’t expect a “get right” game for Mixon but Boyd should see some positive work against the Steelers weak point.

Just like the Bengals defense, this Steelers defense is bad. But, they force even more turnovers than the Bengals do. With Glenn out for the Bengals, T.J. Watt and Stephon Tuitt should be able to get plenty of pressure on Dalton to generate some poor throws. 

Prediction

Bengals: 24

Steelers: 18

Guaranteed Touchdown Scorer: Tyler Boyd

Dart Throw Touchdown Scorer: Auden Tate

Conclusion

Something has to give tonight! Somebody is going to earn their first win of the season. Who do you think wins tonight? Let me know in the comments below!

-Mitchell Seefeldt

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