Editor’s update 4:45 p.m.: The Steelers are a 3.5-point favorite as kickoff approaches, and the betting public thinks they’re the side to take. 54 percent of handle and 58 percent of tickets bet at DraftKings Sportsbook are on the Steelers -3.5. Additionally, 74 percent of handle and 57 percent of tickets bet are on the Steelers moneyline. The point total was sitting at 45 on Sunday, but with 56 percent of handle and 68 percent of tickets bet on the under, it has come down to 44.5
The past two weeks of Monday Night Football haven’t been anything special. At first glance, you might think the same about this week. The difference here is that BOTH teams are bad. In Weeks 2 and 3, the Browns and the Bears were clearly the better teams over the Jets and Washington. But for the first time in NFL history, two 0-3 teams will face off on Monday night, which would hopefully mean it’s a fair fight.
With Ben Roethlisberger out for the season and this Steelers team looking completely different than it has in years, I’m throwing away the fact that the Bengals haven’t beaten their AFC North rivals in eight consecutive games. Both teams are coming off of 4-point losses and will be eager to get their first wins of the season. The last time the Steelers started off 0-4 was in 2013, while the Bengals haven’t had a record like that since 2008. That’s a dark, dark place inhabited by teams whose only hope is to look forward to the following season, although I’d say it’s pretty grim for these division rivals regardless of a win this week.
The Steelers benefit from being at home and having their offensive studs healthy. In two games against the Bengals last season, James Conner had 175 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns and 48 receiving yards. Against a team who’s allowing the second-most rushing yards per game, this should be a great spot for Conner to get his season going. Meanwhile, JuJu Smith-Schuster’s been hovering at 81 receiving yards per game through the first three, but he only reeled in his first touchdown of the season last week courtesy of Mason Rudolph. He’ll likely continue to see volume, especially with Vance McDonald doubtful to play and the Steelers rushing to get newly acquired Nick Vannett up to speed.
The opposing quarterback, Andy Dalton, will be without his no. 1 receiver, A.J. Green, once again this week. Fortunately, Tyler Boyd and John Ross have picked up the slack, averaging 83.3 and 97.3 receiving yards per game respectively. The Steelers are ranked third-to-last in passing yards allowed per game. As you can see, there’s plenty of potential for this game to have a lot of a offense. Perhaps that’s just my optimism poking through, though.
While it’s taking place in Pittsburgh, I’m taking the Bengals in this Monday night matchup. Andy Dalton will take advantage of this poor passing defense and will avoid an 0-4 start with a come-from-behind victory. My sights are set on James Conner coming back into fantasy relevance with a heavy usage and at least one touchdown.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Bengals at Steelers
Point Spread: Bengals +3.5
Total Points: 44.5
Money Line: Bengals +155; Steelers -180
Overall: Bengals 0-3; Steelers 0-3
ATS: Bengals 2-1; Steelers 1-2
O/U: Bengals 1-2; Steelers 1-2
Notable Prop Bets
- Andy Dalton over 1.5 pass TDs: -112
- Tyler Boyd to score a TD and team to win: +425
- James Conner with over 67.5 rushing yards: -125
- TJ Watt with over 0.5 sacks: +100
- The Steelers have won each of their last eight games against the Bengals.
- The Bengals have covered the spread in each of their last six road games.
- Seven of the Steelers’ last eight night games at Heinz Field have gone OVER the total points line.
- The Steelers have lost the first quarter in eight of their last nine Monday night games.
- James Conner has scored at least one touchdown in five of the Steelers’ last six games as home favorites.
- John Ross has scored a touchdown in three of the Bengals’ last four games against AFC North opponents.
- Jaylen Samuels has scored a touchdown in each of the Steelers’ last two night games at Heinz Field.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster has scored a touchdown in each of the Steelers’ last two home games against the Bengals.
- Giovani Bernard has scored a touchdown in each of the Bengals’ last two night games against the Steelers at Heinz Field.
Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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