Just the 1.5 points down on the weekend, although 3 winning bets isn’t good enough. So on to Monday night and two teams I know more about than most of the others…
As most people who have read my work before know, I’m a Bengals fan, I like to think I’m a particularly pragmatic one though, I accept we’re not good this year on offence, I understand that Burfict is a bit of a dick sometimes but a hell of a linebacker when he’s on the field. So I feel I can usually keep it fairly neutral and informative…
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) @ Cincinnati Bengals – o/u – 43
The Steelers are pricks.
And on to the Bengals…
… The Steelers are on a roll and are where they should be near the top of the division, on paper they have a stronger roster than any other team, the leading rusher, and receiver are both on this team so they should the 1 or 2 seed every year, and in fairness they are usually near there. But, personally, I don’t think they have a good enough coach to get them over the hump and into the championship game. They lose games they shouldn’t against opposition they should be walking all over and that costs them home-field which inevitably costs them in January when they have to travel to Foxborough and get out-done by Belichick year on year. They have won 6 in a row now to top the division at 9-2. Their losses came at the Bears and at home to the Jaguars in Big Bens break-down 5 INT game. Mike Tomlin, the smug prick that he is, has already basically said he’s looking forward to the week 15 match with the Patriots, which in his words is “one of the two games” vs them this year which will decide what happens in the second one… While he is probably correct. He’s an arrogant prick and I wouldn’t be surprised if they lose against the Ravens the week before the Pats game.
Defensively they have come a long way and are one of the best units in the league, they’re “hard-hitting” not dirty honest. Especially not Mike Mitchell, he’s a damn angel. In fairness whatever they do, they do it well, they may be missing Mitchell this week, although it looks like Shazier will be playing. Despite his propensity for helmet to helmet hits, he’s a damn good athlete and defensive player! They also destroyed the Bengals offensive line in their first matchup of the year, especially the second half where Dalton was seeing ghosts.
Anyway, the offense is where most of the betting interest will come from. Big Ben has been good in recent weeks, mainly because he’s been at home. His form on the road is considerably worse and his record against the Bengals statistically isn’t good either. He’s a tough one to figure out in a game like this, but his yards being set at 260 is pretty high, especially if his bestest buddy Antonio Brown misses out or is limited. He’s a game-time decision tonight. If I was a betting man I’d say he’d go under 260.5 – 10/11 at Skybet.
Wide receiver is all a bit up in the air, so to speak, with the decision on Antonio Brown pending, I can’t imagine him missing out, but he did miss a couple of training sessions in the week which usually means he’ll be out of the game. His yards are set at 85.5 on Skybet, again at 10/11 and the Bengals usually do a pretty good job of keeping him quiet, he’s only passed that mark in 1 of the last 5 games between the two, ending with 87 yards and they shut him down pretty well after the first quarter in the first game this year. If they do that again then Juju Smith-Schuster should should have a decent game if he’s fully back from his hamstring injury. If not it’s then all on Martavis Bryant. It’s better for all if AB does play as he’ll open it up for the other two, neither of whom are ready to take the workload that Brown gets week in, week out. In fact, I’m not altogether sure where that would go,
I would imagine Eli Rogers would be more involved, well that was my thoughts anyway, it looks like, according to someone from ESPN it would mean more Juju, Darius Heyward-Bey and Justin Hunter, none of which interest me from a betting stand point! It does however mean that Juju at 55.5 would be a decent overs play.
At running back they have LeVeon Bell and him only. He’s on a franchise tag so they’re running him into the ground this year with around 30-35 touches per game and he ran all over the Bengals last time they faced each other. It’s not usually worth touching his yardage lines as they’re so high, usually above 100 or so, and that’s no different tonight, although 88.5 on Betvictor (cunts) should probably go over albeit at 8/13 so probably not worth it on the odds. He’s actually disappointed me this year in TD scoring (only scored in 4 of their 11 this season), but that’s mainly due to the Steelers inefficiencies in the redzone. Amazingly the Bengals are better in the redzone than the Steelers, 53.33% to 46.51%.
Tight ends aren’t really worth mentioning, although is Jesse James is big odds then could be worth a shout, it seems that Vance McDonald is carrying a knock again. 11/4 for him… I’ll pass.
I do like “L.Bell 15+ Rushing Carries & 2+ Receptions & Steelers 2+ Match Sacks” at 7/4 on Skybet as one of my 3 for 2 on the request-a-bets.
The kicker for the Steelers is actually worth mentioning, partly due to their problems in the red zone they’ve kicked a hell of a lot of FGs this year, and beat the Bengals 24-20 the other year with 6 field goals involved! Steelers o1.5 first half FG is tempting at 7/4 because of that fact, but always a risk going for 2 FGs in a half!
Over to my Bengals, known commonly as the cleanest and kindest team in all the league, well except Burfict and Pacman Jones of course. The league and the rest of the losers on the internet will be watching the game intently waiting to grab video captures of Vontaze breathing on someone the wrong way so they can post it in the morning. In fact I’ve heard rumours that the league are trying to ban Burfict for his part in Gronk assaulting someone yesterday, I mean it must have been something to do with him.
Andy Dalton has had a mixed year at QB behind a terrible offensive line which really hasn’t helped him much! He was a big part in the team starting the season 0-3, but he’s also done a decent job in getting them back to 5-6 albeit mainly from beating god-awful teams (the Browns twice…) He’s not thrown an interception in 5 games, and in fact, although much maligned has only thrown interceptions in 3 games all season, 2 came against the Steelers first time out though.
His wide receivers haven’t been great, but not completely awful either, he’s spread the ball around well which is a good and a bad thing, I would prefer if they just threw the ball to AJ Green 15 times a game as the Texans do with Nuk, but they have been able to get Brandon Lafell involed a lot, and even Alex Eriksson has scored a couple of TDs and caught a few passes a game in recent weeks. I have a feeling he’ll get smashed to bits if they try it tonight though. Tyler Boyd has been finally getting some game-time recently! He had a good rookie season but wasn’t involved for a lot of this season. A rookie who has been involved this year… not #9 overall pick John Ross. Marvin hates him for some reason so doesn’t play him, but Josh Malone had an important target last week against the Browns which drew a foul and kept the Bengals in control of the game. Basically I won’t be backing anything on player props for the Bengals tonight, Green could go for 200 but he could also get 20 yards. 64.5 for him, again on Skybet is reasonable, I would lean over but won’t be backing it. Brandon LaFell is set at 35.5, he’s over that in 3 of his last 5, so again, I would lean over but avoid.
At running back it’s all Joe Mixon finally, and he had a breakout week last week against an apparently good Browns run defence. He had his first 100 yard game and got a touchdown. I would expect them to lean on him a lot tonight and providing he doesn’t fumble again should be in throughout the game. He’s set to 58.5 yard on Paddypower but it’s a tough run defence again tonight. Once again, I would like to think he’ll beat that line, but I won’t be backing it. – It may just be my Bengals pessimism, but it could well be that logic is breaking through! I just don’t know.
At tight end they have found a replacement Tyler, with Eifert out. Again. For the season Tyler Kroft has been in for the season and has played well, scoring 5 TDs. He’s scored the last 2 games consecutively, although against the Broncos and Browns who are historically bad vs the Tight end! The Steelers are third vs the tight end only conceding 2 TDs all season to the position.
The Bengals defence is being horribly under-rated by most, which in fairness is what happens to the Bengals team usually. Steelers concede 17.5 pts on average, the Bengals 19.5 they’re the 4th and 10th best teams respectively. So… in theory. It should be a low scoring game, but you never can tell with these two teams.
So everything to me points to a Steelers win, but even without everything the teams have done this season if you just take into account the teams records in prime-time and you’d back the Steelers every time. The Bengals don’t turn up when they’re on TV, especially Andy Dalton. He has a 5-12 record in prime-time with a QBR of 37. That’s a Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Mark Sanchez kind of record. Whereas Big Ben and the Steelers always show up on TV.
- Big Ben under 260.5 passing yards – 10/11 (Skybet) – 2pts
- Total field goals scored – o3.5 – 1/1 (365) – 1pt
Then a couple of request-a-bet for the 3 for 2 offer on Skybet –
- “L.Bell 15+ Rushing Carries & 2+ Receptions & Steelers 2+ Match Sacks” at 7/4
- “Both teams to score 1+ TDs & 1+ FGs in each half” at 12/1
Then take your pick for the freebie! Something like Bengals 17-24 Steelers at 100/1 or something ridiculous!
Biggest write-up I’ve done in a while so apologies if it’s a bit rambling! Good Luck if you follow anything, I hope that you’ve got some hints on the game anyway.