Add Bengals With Your Wild Card Weekend NFL Picks vs. Steelers

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, January 8, 2016 8:51 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 8:51 PM UTC

Division rivals meet when the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Cincinnati Bengals at 8:15 PM ET on Saturday. Can the Bengals beat the NFL odds at home?

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NFL Pick: Bengals +3

Best Line Offered: at Bovada


Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals 8:15 ET CBS
Noting that all Wild Card home dogs are 13-9 SU, 15-6 ATS for the playoffs, we must note that the record improves to 9-3 ATS, if our home dog has the better record.  As a result, there is a definitive value edge when the division rivals (Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals) meet at 8:15 ET on Saturday night in this playoff game televised by CBS.  For, while Pittsburgh authored a solid 10-6 SU season, the Bengals were 12-4 SU for the year.  These teams met twice this season with the Bengals winning (16-10) in Pittsburgh before the Steelers returned the favor with a (33-20) victory at Cincinnati on December 13th.  That was the game in which Bengals’ QB Dalton was injured.  He has not played since and is not expected to play in this contest. 


Cincinnati Bengals
Dalton was replaced in the starting lineup by Alabama 2nd year QB McCarron, who led the Cincinnati Bengals to a 2-1 SU ATS mark down the stretch.  Unfortunately for the Bengals, making the playoffs is no guarantee of success.  For, they have gone 0-5 SU ATS the last 5 years when making the promised playoff land.  In last week’s (24-16) win, no cover, vs. Baltimore, the Bengals went to their strong ground game, outrushing Baltimore 27/145 to 21/59.  With a (+2) net TO margin aiding the victory, I must note that any NFL team who had exactly a (+2) net TO margin in their game this season was 43-14 ATS for the year.  Much like his time at Alabama, McCarron has been a successful “game manager.”  Again today, he will look to hand off the ball to RBs Hill and Bernard, while controlling the line of scrimmage.  Once that has been established, McCarron has lethal weapons in TE Eifert, who has 13 TDC and WR AJ Green, one of the best wide-outs in the league.  If the Bengals are to win, it will most probably be in a workmanlike fashion, as the Cats have yet to crack the 300 yard mark on offense in any of McCarron’s starts.  They will also be aided by the No. 2 defense in the league that allows just 17.4 PPG.


Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have injury concerns of their own, as RB Williams, who filled in quite ably for RB Bell, is listed as questionable for this contest with an ankle he injured last week in the Steelers’ (28-12) victory against Cleveland.  In that contest, however, the Steelers rushed just 19 times for 30 yards.  With Williams at less than full strength, the Steelers will revert to a strong passing game, behind QB Roethlisberger, throwing to one of the best WR corps in the NFL, including Brown, Bryant, Wheaton and TE Miller.  Ben completed 66% of his passes for the season, leading the Steelers to 6.5 offensive YP play (the most prolific offense among teams playing this weekend).  Unfortunately for the Steelers, Ben has not been as careful with the ball, as was necessary.  This resulted in the fact that Roethlisberger enters the playoffs with a humbling 24/18 ratio for the season.  

It is looking more and more that this will be an offensive matchup of the Bengals’ ground game against the Steelers’ passing game.  An additional note regarding the selection shows us that when these teams last met on this field, the Bengals were a 3 point home favorite.  

I invite you to put the NFL odds in your favor and join me with my NFL pick on the Cincinnati Bengals (+3), as they gain their first playoff victory in 6 years and extend the Steelers’ playoff winning drought to 5 years.

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