The AFC North showdown at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh will see the Cincinnati Bengals taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. Both teams are still winless in 2019, so we expect to see a thrilling battle between divisional rivals.
The Steelers are listed as 3-point favorites with the total at 45.0 points. They are 1-2 ATS on the season, while the Bengals covered on two occasions. The under is 2-1 on both sides.
The Steelers are 16-3 SU and 13-5-1 ATS in their last 19 meetings with the Bengals and 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS in the previous nine at Heinz Field. The under has hit in eight of the previous ten head-to-head duels in Pittsburgh and seven of the last ten H2H duels overall.
However, the Steelers lost Ben Roethlisberger for the season due to an elbow injury. Their offense has been struggling, scoring just 16.3 points per game (28th in the league). Likewise, the Steelers are racking up only 64.0 rushing yards per contest (28th).
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On the other side, the Bengals are the worst team in the league in rushing yards per game (41.7). Also, they are posting miserable 2.4 yards per carry. On the other hand, Andy Dalton is 3rd in the league with 979 passing yards. He tossed for five touchdowns and three picks, while Cincy is averaging 18.0 points per game (25th).
Without Big Ben, the Steelers have to lean on their defense that is allowing 28.3 points per game (28th) on 442.0 total yards (29th). Still, there are some young and talented players who could step up and make this Steelers’ D much better.
On the other side, the Bengals are surrendering 27.7 points per contest (27th) on 406.3 total yards per game (also 27th). They are struggling defensively which was expected. The Steelers’ chance will be Cincy’s run defense that is allowing 168.7 yards per game (31st).
It means James Conner will have to put on a strong performance. The third-year RB is averaging only 2.9 yards per carry this season, and this is his chance to get the things going. Conner has 97 rushing yards and a TD over the first three weeks, while he tallied 973 rushing yards and 12 rushing TD last season.
James is set at -125 odds to score a TD anytime against the Bengals. I expect the Steelers to use him as much as they can, so Conner should surpass a 15.5-carry line at -135 odds. Also, he should be a nice pick at -120 to post more than 67 rushing yards.
While Pittsburgh should lean on Connor, the Bengals will rely on Andy Dalton’s arm. It means that Andy could easily surpass a 260.5-yard line at -120 odds and throw another interception at -175. Dalton is 3-12 in 15 games against the Steelers, tossing for 19 TD and 13 picks while averaging 210.7 passing yards per game.
From this point of view, this should be a tight clash that could easily go either way. The Steelers have been dominating the Bengals lately, but it’s been with Ben Roethlisberger under center. Considering Mason Rudolph’s performance in Week 3 (174 yards, 2 TD, 1 Int), the Steelers’ offense will need some time to gel the things.
I expect the Steelers to run the ball a lot and keep the clock running. Likewise, the Steelers’ defense should have the best game of the season. They are playing at home and meet the Bengals’ one-dimensional offense.
Therefore, I would rather go with the under on the totals instead of picking the winner. Also, I’m backing James Conner to surpass his rushing-yard mark with at least 16 carries.
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