We get one of the most profitable betting situations in the NFL when the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6) host the Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) at Acrisure Stadium in Week 11: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin as a home 'dog. (Spoiler alert: Here comes a whole bunch of trends).
Since the beginning of last season, the Steelers are 4-0-1 against the spread (ATS) as home underdogs with a +7.8 ATS margin.
Pittsburgh is 6-2 straight up (SU) and 7-1 against the spread (ATS) as a home underdog with a +6.8 ATS margin since 2018.
In the Tomlin era (est. 2007), the Steelers are 12-8 straight up (SU) and 13-4-3 ATS as a home underdog with a +5.7 ATS margin.
Over that span, Pittsburgh is 16-13 SU and 20-8-1 ATS as underdogs in divisional games. The Steelers are 9-3 ATS as divisional ‘dogs of +3.5 or more since 2007 and 2-0 ATS at home in those spots.
Watt-powered 'Steel Curtain'
Steelers pass rusher and 2021 Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt made his return last week in the Steelers’ 20-10 beatdown of the New Orleans Saints.
Watt’s only other game this season was in Pittsburgh’s 23-20 Week 1 win in Cincy. He had a sack, two pass deflections, three tackles for a loss, and an interception vs. the Bengals.
Watt is a force multiplier and his presence contributed to the Steelers’ seven sacks of Burrow in Week 1. Pittsburgh’s other edge rusher is OLB Alex Highsmith whose Pro Football Focus's (PFF) 20th-best graded edge rusher (out of 119).
They’ll be facing Cincy tackles Jonah Williams and La’el Collins who grade 66th and 64th, respectively, out of 80 NFL tackles. In fact, the Bengals have the fourth-biggest pass protection mismatch in Week 11, according to PFF.
Also, I’m not a believer in Cincy’s offense sans the injured WR Ja’Marr Chase. The Bengals beat the crap out of the Carolina Panthers 42-21 in the game before their bye last week.
Cincy RB Joe Mixon had a career-best five total TDs and Carolina’s defense no-showed. But, Pittsburgh ranks sixth in yards per rush allowed (4.1), and the Bengals are 27th in yards per rush (4.0).
The Steelers can focus more on Mixon with Chase out of the lineup and make the Bengals one-dimensional on offense. If Pittsburgh can force Cincy into passing situations then the Steelers’ can use their fierce pass rush to create havoc on Joe Burrow.
'Pros (Steelers) Vs. Joe’s (Bengals) Game'
Per Pregame.com, more money is on Pittsburgh while more bets have been placed on Cincy in the consensus market at the time of writing. DraftKings Sportsbook is reporting via VSIN the same discrepancy between the cash and tickets columns.
Typically, it's wise to follow the money when it's counter to the public because sharps bet a lot bigger units than your average Joe. The sportsbooks are using this logic and have lowered Cincy from a 4.5-point favorite on the opener.