Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals MNF Pick

December 21, 8:15 PM EST

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
Pitt -14/Cin +14

After starting this season 11-0, winning the NFL betting prop as the last undefeated team in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers suddenly own a two-game losing skid. Fortunately for them, they get a chance to snap that skid when they play the Cincinnati Bengals on this week's version of Monday Night Football. Pittsburgh's already clinched a playoff spot, but it would like to catch Kansas City in the battle for the best record in the AFC. Cincinnati, on the other hand, is playing this one for pride. The Steelers are lined as double-digit road divisional favorites for this one; who do we like for our free NFL pick?

NFL Betting Odds

Week 15 NFL betting odds opened Pittsburgh at -11.5 for this game, with an over/under of 41.5. Early betting action then bumped the Steelers to -13 and dipped that total to 40.

Pittsburgh Betting Preview

The Steelers won 11 straight games to start this season, but they've now lost two straight after falling at Buffalo last Sunday night 26-15. Pittsburgh actually drew first blood at 7-0 early in the second quarter but gave up the next 23 points of the game, sparked by a Ben Roethlisberger pick-6 just before halftime, to trail 23-7 into the fourth quarter. The Steelers pulled to within one score with 12 minutes left but could get no closer and missed ATS as two-point underdogs.

Pittsburgh got out-gained by the Bills 334-224, out-rushed 104-47, lost time of possession by a 35:25 clip, converted just 1/10 on third downs while allowing Buffalo to convert 7/14.

In other words, the Steelers got out-played and deserved to lose.

Prior to last week, Pittsburgh had out-gained each of its previous four opponents. But the Steelers have also now been out-rushed six of their last seven times out, going 3-4 ATS over that span.

Two weeks ago, Pittsburgh blew a 14-0 lead and suffered its first loss of the season, 23-17 to Washington.

At 11-2, the Steelers lead the AFC North by two games over second-place Cleveland, with three to play. But the Browns get one more whack at Pittsburgh in Week 17. The Steelers also now trail Kansas City by one game in the battle for the No. 1 seed in the upcoming AFC playoffs, which includes the only playoff bye in this new extended NFL postseason.

Cincinnati Betting Preview

Meanwhile, the Bengals lug a five-game losing streak into Monday night after falling at home to Dallas last week 30-7. Cincinnati fumbled the ball away on each of its first three possessions of the game, one of which was returned for a Cowboys touchdown, and trailed 17-7 at the half. The Bengals then whiffed on the second half and came nowhere close to covering as three-point dogs.

Cincinnati actually out-gained Dallas 309-272 and won the time of possession by a 35:25 split. But the Bengals lost the turnover battle 3-0, resulting in a -20 points differential, and had a fourth-quarter touchdown, which would have pulled them to within six points, nullified by a penalty.

Prior to last week, Cincinnati had been out-gained each of its previous five games and out-rushed five of its last six games.

Two weeks ago, the Bengals lost to Miami 19-7, missing ATS at +10.5, and three weeks ago, they lost to the Giants 19-17, although they picked up a back-door cover at +6.5. So Cincinnati has scored a total of 31 points in three games since losing QB Joe Burrow for the season to injury. Back-up QB Brandon Allen has started the last three games for the Bengals, but he's now nursing a sore knee. So it might be third-stringer Ryan Finley for Cincinnati Monday night. At 2-10-1 overall, the Bengals are just trying to make some progress toward a brighter future.

Pittsburgh-Cincinnati Recent History

The Steelers own an 11-game winning streak in the rivalry with the Bengals, including that infamous playoff victory five seasons ago, going 8-2-1 ATS along the way. Pittsburgh won the first meeting between these teams this season six weeks ago, 36-10, covering at -6.5. And Burrow played that day for Cincinnati.

Also, that game pushed its total of 46.

NFL Betting Trends

  • Home teams are 103-105 SU, 99-108 ATS in the NFL this season.
  • Favorites are 136-71 SU, 90-116 ATS in the NFL this season.
  • Home dogs are 43-35 ATS in the NFL this season.
  • Double-digit favorites are 20-2 SU, 9-12 ATS in the NFL this season.

Totals Report

Unders are 7-4-2 in Steelers games this season, which are averaging 45 total points. Unders are 7-5-1 in Bengals games this season, which are also averaging 45 points. Unders are 3-0 in Bengals games since Burrow got hurt, which are averaging just 33 points. Unders are 7-2-1 over the last ten meetings between these teams. Unders are 103-102 in the NFL this season, 33-25 over the last three-plus weeks.

Steelers vs. Bengals Prediction 12/21/20

Pittsburgh is struggling a bit as of late, but it's still clearly the better team here, and it needs this one. Cincinnati is just an inferior opponent in this spot, maybe playing with its third-string QB. This looks like one of those games the Steelers lead by 10 points or so into the fourth quarter, then ice things down with a Roethlisberger touchdown pass or a defensive score. We're giving the points here with Pittsburgh.   

Free Pick: 
Take the Steelers -14