People are having a hard time choosing between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. Even the football odds can't seem to decide who's better.
Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 28: 22-16-1 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 18-26 Total
Right now, as you read this, people are having passionate arguments over Sunday's matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Who's going to win this AFC North battle? Will it be the undefeated Bengals (6-0 SU, 5-0-1 ATS)? Or will Ben Roethlisberger's return lift the Steelers (4-3 SU, 5-1-1 ATS) to victory at Heinz Field?
Beats us. At press time, this game is available a pick 'em at some of the books on our NFL odds board. Our consensus reports show 56-percent support for the Bengals, putting enough pressure to move the Steelers down from –1.5 at the open to –1 at most locations. But there's hardly any real difference among these lines. And while Cincinnati is also bringing in about 56 percent of the monies wagered, the average bet on Pittsburgh is two dollars higher at $89. It's a coin flip, folks.
In situations like these, no matter which team you want to add to your Week 8 NFL picks, we're going to recommend making a tiny, tiny bet. There isn't much of a profit margin to chase after. The computer projections we're looking at have Pittsburgh winning by 1-2 points; as usual, the projections are congruent with the football odds – worth a look, though.
The weather shouldn't matter too much to these Rust Belt teams, either. There's a 60-percent chance of rain over Heinz Field at kick-off, which shouldn't bother the Bengals. They're used to it. But maybe, just maybe, we're being a little too quick to jump on the Big Ben Express. How healthy is Roethlisberger? Will his knee hold up after missing four games with a sprained MCL? And how long will it take for him to get back in the flow of the offense? We won't find out until Sunday.
There's another injured Steeler who's gotten about zero ink compared to Roethlisberger. LT Kelvin Beachum tore his ACL two weeks ago and is out for the remainder of the season. That leaves Roethlisberger without the two most important players on his offensive line; center Maurkice Pouncey (fibula) is out until Week 12 at the earliest and might not come back until next year.
That's enough reason in and of itself to recommend the Bengals in this matchup. The uncertainty about Roethlisberger's health is a plus, and the slight lean toward Cincinnati on our consensus reports is encouraging, but here at the ranch, we're big fans of overlooked injuries on the offensive line. Not big enough to open the vault, mind you. Just give us a few zloty on the Bengals, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.
Free NFL Pick: Take the Bengals +1.5 (–104) at Pinnacle