The NFL schedule for week ten has an AFC North battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. Before the season not many experts predicted that the Bengals would be battling with the Steelers for the divisional title, but that is exactly what this game is all about.
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The Bengals are easily one of the surprise teams of the season and they have racked up six wins with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Andy Dalton has done a great job of spreading the ball around the field and avoiding blitzes. Skeptics of the Bengals fast start will look to the teams schedule up to this point. The Bengals have beaten teams like the Colts, Browns, Jaguars, and Broncos, so it is understandable to think that they only have six wins due to a soft schedule, and when they play the Steelers this week they will get their first true test of the season.
This becomes a must win for the Bengals if they want to get the respect that they are looking for. The Steelers beat the Patriots, but outside of that, they also don’t have an impressive list of teams that they have beaten this year.
The Bengals have been winning with a very impressive defense that has been overlooked this year. The Bengals are fourth overall in total defense in the NFL right next to the Steelers. They play well against the run and the pass and have more than just solid defense headed into this game. Their offense is clicking and Andy Dalton is incredible in the red zone. The tall receivers led by A.J. Green will be able to exploit the Steelers corners that were exposed against the Ravens.
The NFL week 10 odds also reveal that the Bengals are being ignored by the betting public. The Steelers opened as three point favorites and that number is starting to go up as 80% of the betting public money is on the road Steelers. Not only does the line favor the home team, but the sports betting trends also suggest a play on the Bengals.
The Steelers are 8-21-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 30 games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 against the AFC, and 1-4 ATS in their last five road games. The Bengals are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games following a win, 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 games as an underdog of 0.5-3.0, and 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall. That was not enough so I wanted to dig deeper.
When investigating for NFL Trends for this game, I went to the best NFL Trends website. This is a complete database of trends for every team in the NFL and it allows you to input your own parameters in search of trends. Using NFL Trends I came up with these gems for this game.
So I broke down the Steelers and found these gems. Since 2006 the Steelers on the road against the AFC are just 15-18 ATS (45%). Add in that the Steelers are a favorite in that game that number drops to 8-12 (40%), which leads to another huge trend in this game. When on the road since 2006 and the Steelers are favorites of less than four and they lost in their last outing failing to cover the spread, the Steelers are a woeful 2-4-1 ATS (28%).
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This is the biggest game of the year for Bengals and they will show up ready to play. The Steelers are still hurting from the last minute loss to the Ravens and will fall behind early and often. The Bengals are in a home divisional underdog spot and that is too good to pass up.