NFL Picks: Betting Trends Suggest That Bengals & Steelers Will Go 'Under' 48

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, October 31, 2015 9:53 PM GMT

Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 9:53 PM GMT

The undefeated Bengals travel to Pittsburgh in a hotly anticipated AFC North clash with the Steelers. But will this be a defensive struggle or shootout in the Steel City? Let's analyze what the oddsmakers are offering for a total in our NFL picks.

Big Ben Returns
There could not have been a more opportune time for the Steelers All-Pro quarterback to return from the trainer's table and back onto the gridiron. Ben Roethlisberger is making his return after suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee back on Sept. 27 and reports are that he has had no issues during practice this week. That is nothing but good news for a Pittsburgh offense that could not get in gear under backup Michael Vick and only responded when third-stringer Landry Jones stepped in and took the reins stunning the Cardinals 25-13 at Heinz Field. But last week he was handed the starting assignment and could not get the same results. Jones was picked off twice and had a game ending fumble that turned his professional starting debut into a 23-13 defeat.

But all of that is in the rearview mirror. Roethlisberger has had over a month to get healthy and getting him in the pocket will have a reverberating effect on all the offensive players around him. Wideouts Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, as well as running back Le'Veon Bell will all benefit from Big Ben back in action and that should help the Steelers boost their 20.5 average points scored since Roethlisberger has been out. If you have been betting the under in Pittsburgh's games this season in your NFL picks then you are 6-1 with low cashing in all but one game.

 

Cats Stay Undefeated
Andy Dalton is finally putting all the naysayers to rest leading an offense that ranks 3rd in the NFL averaging 30.3 points per game and solely responsible for the 5th ranked passing attack. Dalton has done it all this season but his critics are shaking their heads saying, "just wait for the postseason." Well, we don't have to do that because the only thing we need to figure out is if he and his offense will be as prolific this Sunday afternoon as they have been all season long.

Running back Jeremy Hill has been a disappointment this season (especially for those who reached up and grabbed him high in their fantasy football draft) but Giovani Bernard has filled the void, morphing from a third down option to an almost every down back. The rushing game ranks 12th in the league averaging 122.2 yards per game. Therefore the Bengals feature a two-pronged attack and the Steelers need to be ready for both.

 

Betting Analysis
The NFL odds makers understand that there will be a natural lean on the over, especially with the return of Big Ben Roethlisberger. The question is how close will he be to his normal self? Roethlisberger could return with a fresh arm and none of the bumps and bruises that everyone else has incurred over the past month since he has been sidelined. Or he could still be ailing but desperate to return to the field and help his team. That's a question we cannot answer but one would have to believe the team doctors would not give him clearance if he was not ready to go. But then again, maybe he's just a very good actor.

The problem with simply going along with the crowd and betting over is that both teams boast pretty good defenses. Cincinnati owns the 12th (20.3 PPG) ranked defense while Pittsburgh is even better at No. 7 (18.7 PPG). I believe that Pittsburgh will feature a balanced attack and let Le'Veon Bell take more than a few cracks at the Bengals' 17th ranked run stop unit. That means more time on the ground and less pressure on Big Ben to make it happen. Running the ball means chewing up the clock and I believe that this will be a more grind-it-out game than many believe.

Here are a few stats to bolster that contention:

Under is 9-1-1 in Steelers last 11 games overall.

Under is 6-0-1 in Steelers last seven vs. AFC.

Under is 7-1 in Steelers last eight games in Week 8.

Under is 5-0 in Bengals last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record.

NFL Picks: Play Under 48 at GTBets

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