Bengals Know They Have A Huge Opportunity In Front Of Them
The Cincinnati Bengals know that if they keep winning, they will force the New England Patriots to keep winning in the race for a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Sunday, December 15
Betting line: Bengals -2.5
Why Cincinnati Will Win
The football betting dynamics of this game are complicated, but the Bengals should be given a very good chance to win. First, one must appreciate where this team has come from.
Cincinnati was 6-4 a few weeks ago and seemed to be once again in line to be the kind of team that slipped into the playoffs with a 9-7 record but didn’t do anything with the opportunity. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game in over 20 years. They have not advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs in that same period of time. This is a franchise that has historically fallen short when given a chance to establish itself as one of the two or three best teams in the AFC. The Bengals have often owned a great deal of talent, but they have not been able to translate that talent into results, and this is why a cloud has hung over the franchise for so long. The Bengals were a consistent team in the 1980s, making the Super Bowl under two different coaches, Forrest Gregg and Sam Wyche. Ever since Wyche left, though, Cincinnati hasn’t been the same, and so when this team fell to 6-4, the outlook didn’t appear to be too promising.
Yet, in the past three weeks, the Bengals have looked legitimately good. Cincinnati’s defense and special teams made lots of big plays in wins over Cleveland and San Diego. Then, this past weekend, the offense came alive in a 42-point display against the Indianapolis Colts. The Bengals are almost certain to be a top-three seed in the AFC, and they have a very real chance of catching the New England Patriots for a top-two seed and a first-round bye. If New England loses one of its three remaining games, the Bengals could pass the Patriots for a first-round bye, thereby getting to the divisional round of the postseason. This is something past Cincinnati teams wouldn’t have done. The Bengals just might be turning the corner.
Why Pittsburgh Will Win
The kinds of points that support a given betting play are often complex, but in this case, the biggest reason to bet on the Steelers is simply that the Bengals are going to have a tough time affirming themselves as one of the AFC’s top teams. Can Cincinnati overcome its history and avoid a single stumble during the stretch run of the season? Pittsburgh might be out of the playoff hunt, but this is a home game, in the division, at night. The Steelers will want to spoil Cincinnati’s season if they can’t go to the playoffs themselves.
Who Will Win
For a bettor, this is a hard game to size up, but Cincinnati’s emergent consistency is really hard to overlook at this point. Take the Bengals, even though the Steelers are likely to push them.
NFL Betting Pick: Bengals -2.5
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