The NFL's Week 4 offering of Monday Night Football has the makings of being a very close game. You might notice that I did not say good, because that depends on your definition. If you consider a good game a close one you might be in luck. If you want a game loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, then good might not be your view of this one. However, with two teams facing off that both have plenty of question marks there should be plenty of intrigue in a game that could come right down to the wire.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field, 8:15pm ET Monday September 30th, 2019
1u – Cincinnati Bengals +3.5 @ -110
- Per statschecker since the start of 2018, the Cincinnati Bengals are 8-2 ATS on the road (2-0 this season), and 8-4 ATS when facing AFC opposition (1-0 this season)
- Since the start of 2018, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-7-1 ATS against the AFC (0-1 in 2019) and 3-8-1 ATS as favorites (0-1 in 2019)
Before the season I had this marked as a Steelers win with considerable ease. However, that was before the loss of Ben Roethlisberger and the anemic offensive performances we have witnessed from the Mason Rudolph led Steelers. The Steelers defense has been fine, but that is not a unit that can carry a team if the offense is struggling. They need this offense to offense to fire, and I thnk the Bengals defense is good enough to stop them running riot.
Outside of that dreadful Week 2 performance the Bengals defense has been solid this year, holding their two opponents to an average of 21 points on the road. The problem has been the offense getting them over that mark. That is my biggest concern here, but we saw the 49ers move the ball at will on the Steelers in Week 3, and the Bengals should be able to have some success. This game is unlikely to be a blowout win by the Bengals but they have a very real chance of stealing a win in their rivals home stadium, or at the very least keeping them to a three-point or fewer margin of victory.
1u – Under 45 Total Points @ -109
- The Bengals have scored an average of 18 points per game, and have allowed an average of 21 points in their two road games
- The Steelers average 23 points per game in their last two games
This game does not have the makings of an offensive explosion for me. The Steelers defense is not great, having allowed 85 points this season, but they have forced turnovers in each of their last two games which is a promising sign. Both of these teams have been ravaged by the 49er’s offense this season, but that might be a sign that the 49ers are actually pretty good as opposed to telling us these defenses are bad. The Bengals offense is unlikely to be able to take advantage of the Steelers defensive failings, and the Bengals defense has held up very well against mediocre offenses this season. I am expecting a slow start to this game with a flurry of scoring later in the game, but not enough to take this one over 45. I am expecting a similar score line in this one to the Bengals game at the Bills, with around 40 points being scored.
By Ben Rolfe