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Bengals vs. Steelers prediction: Bet on Pittsburgh as a home underdog

Without stud WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati’s offense will struggle to cover inflated number

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in the 2022-23 season opener. Despite beating the Bengals 23-20 in overtime, Pittsburgh is a home underdog in Sunday's rematch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in the 2022-23 season opener. Despite beating the Bengals 23-20 in overtime, Pittsburgh is a home underdog in Sunday's rematch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)Read moreAndy Lyons / Getty Images

The last time we saw Bengals vs. Steelers, the AFC North rivals played a bizarre, back-and-forth Week 1 overtime thriller that nearly ended in a tie.

After blowing a 17-3 second-half lead, Pittsburgh pulled out a 23-20 victory with a 53-yard field goal at the buzzer. This after both kickers missed field goals earlier in overtime and Cincinnati’s kicker shanked a game-winning extra-point with two seconds left in regulation.

With the win as a 7-point underdog, the Steelers bagged the first big upset of the 2022-23 season.

Since then? Both teams have sprinted in opposite directions, with the Bengals going 5-3 (6-2 ATS) and the Steelers going 2-6 (3-4-1 ATS).

So it makes sense that Cincinnati is a road favorite in the Week 11 rematch. We just happen to think oddsmakers are giving the Bengals a bit too much respect.

Here’s our Bengals vs. Steelers prediction for a game that got flexed out of the Sunday Night Football slot.

Note: Odds updated as of 11:30 a.m. ET on Nov. 18.

Bengals vs. Steelers Prediction

  1. Steelers +4 (at Caesars Sportsbook)

Bengals vs. Steelers Prediction: Analysis

A lot of things point Cincinnati’s direction in this matchup, beyond what’s happened with both teams since Week 1.

For starters, the Bengals are coming off a bye, and they shredded the Steelers by double digits in three straight meetings prior to Week 1 (including two victories in Pittsburgh).

They also, of course, have an enormous edge at quarterback (Joe Burrow vs. rookie Kenny Pickett). However, Burrow once again will be without difference-making wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who remains sidelined with a hip injury.

The Bengals overcame Chase’s absence in their most recent game on Nov. 6, scoring six touchdowns in a 42-21 victory. But that was against the lowly Carolina Panthers. And running back Joe Mixon had the game of his life, accounting for five of the touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving).

Thanks to Mixon, Cincinnati busted out to a huge first-half lead, so Burrow didn’t have to shoulder the load. Still, he needed 28 passes to throw for 206 yards against Carolina.

That was after going 25-for-35 for just 232 yards in a 32-13 upset loss at Cleveland on Halloween — the first game without Chase. That defeat to the Browns dropped Cincinnati to 2-3 on the road this season.

One of those wins was a come-from-behind rally at New Orleans in Week 6, and Chase (7 catches, 132 yards, 2 TDs) was largely responsible for it.

» READ MORE: Eagles-Colts line on the move after Eagles drop first game

This week, Burrow goes up against a Steelers defense that has game-wrecking linebacker T.J. Watt back (Watt tore his pectoral late in the Week 1 game at Cincinnati and didn’t return until last week.) It’s a defense that sacked Burrow seven times in Week 1.

Finally, the Steelers have been feisty over the past month. They shocked Tom Brady and the Buccaneers 20-18 as a 10-point home underdog four weeks ago.

Seven days later, they went toe to toe with the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday night, losing 16-10 as a seven-point road underdog. The 16 points was a season low for the Dolphins in games Tua Tagovailoa has started.

Pittsburgh did get spanked in Philadelphia the following week (35-13), but it came out of its bye and beat the Saints 20-10 as a one-point home favorite last Sunday. With Watt (four total tackles) back on the gridiron, the Steelers held the Saints to 186 total yards — the same Saints who racked up 399 yards against the Bengals a few weeks earlier.

Another positive in last week’s victory for Pittsburgh: Pickett protected the football, going 18-for-30 for 199 yards with no turnovers.

If Pickett can turn in another mistake-free performance against Cincinnati, we’re confident the Steelers’ improving defense will do its part to keep this close.

Do we envision an outright upset? It wouldn’t be shocking, especially since Pittsburgh easily could be 4-0 at home. Prior to beating the Saints and Bucs in their last two home games, the Steelers lost 17-14 to the Patriots and 24-20 to the Jets.

Grab the points at Caesars Sportsbook with Pittsburgh in what should be a low-scoring battle.

Bengals vs. Steelers Odds (via Caesars Sportsbook)

  1. Point spread: Bengals (-4) @ Steelers (+4)

  2. Moneyline: Bengals (-205) @ Steelers (+170)

  3. Total: 40.5 points

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