Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals Betting Odds Preview - NFL Week 7

Week Seven’s Sunday Night Football will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Cincinnati Bengals. This is an AFC North divisional game and both teams need this win badly. The Steelers have a record of 2-3 and the Bengals are only slightly better at 3-3. Both teams are trailing the 5-1 Baltimore Ravens in the division standings. Pittsburgh is favored to win this game at a 3 point margin and an over/under of 46 points.

Here are some reasons why the Steelers may not win this game. On the road this season Pittsburgh is 0-3. Pittsburgh has a lower average points scored per game than Cincinnati with 23.2 and 24.8 points respectively. Troy Polamalu, injured calf, is still listed as out and there is no indication that he will be ready to play this week. He has only played two games this season and Cincinnati is the 8th best passing offense in the NFL. LB LaMarr Woodley is still listed as out due to hamstring trouble. RB Rashard Mendenhall hurt his Achilles a few weeks back, he saw limited action last game, but is listed as questionable for this week. Other RB Issac Redman is also questionable for this game because of an ankle injury.

However, there are just as many reasons to doubt that Cincinnati can win this game. Cincinnati beat Cleveland (now 1-5) in Week Two but then lost last week to Cleveland by roughly the same margin as they won the first game. They also lost to Miami who is emerging as a decent team. Their win over Washington was notable but Washington is a running team while Pittsburgh leans on the pass. Three of Cincinnati’s CB are on the injury report. Cincinnati’s defense allows an average of 27.2 points each game while the Steelers allow less with an average of 23 points. QB Andy Dalton has thrown 9 interceptions this season. Yes he has 1726 yards passing and 12 TDs, but he will be facing the 4th best pass defense in the NFL this week.

Clearly both teams have been troubled up to this point in the season. Offensively the two teams have comparable offensive production. Total, passing, and rushing averages are near equal or within 20 yards of each other; slight edge to Cincinnati on the running game. Defensively Cincinnati allows an average of 50 yards more per game than the Steelers; that could be looked at as one more drive’s worth. Furthermore, when at Cincinnati, the Steelers have been 5-1 since 2001. Last season Pittsburgh beat the Bengals handily in both meetings.

This does seem to be shaping up to be a close game because of each team’s troubles this season. Covering the spread will be difficult for either team. A 46 point total seems high though given that in the past two games both teams have scored averaged 18.5 points per game. The biggest reason not to pick the Bengals should be Dalton’s interception problems stemming from forcing his passes into places he should not. If the Steelers lose it will be because Dalton kept control and capitalized on his strong receiving group and Pittsburgh’s defense was not healthy enough to keep up.

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