The Cincinnati Bengals have lost five of six against the Pittsburgh Steelers and covered the spread just once during that three-year span. Oddsmakers believe they can turn that around when they host the Steelers on Monday night, however.
The Bengals were a 6.5-point home favorite early Monday with a total of 40.5, according to SB Nation's lines provider, OddsShark.com. Both numbers remained fairly constant during the week.
After six straight years of going 3-1 SU or better in the preseason, there was some concern for the Steelers coming into the regular season off an 0-4 preseason, both straight up and against the spread. Pittsburgh looked terrible on offense against the Tennessee Titans last week, mustering up just 194 total yards in a 16-9 loss at home as a seven-point favorite.
Pittsburgh's inability to rush the ball was a concern last season and it has carried over into this one with just 31 rushing yards in Week 1.
The Cincinnati Bengals held a fourth-quarter lead over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in the opening week, but couldn't close it out as they eventually lost, 24-21, as a three-point road underdog. Coming into the season with what looks to be great balance on both sides of the ball, the Bengals are a popular pick to make the playoffs.
And they may even win the AFC North if the Steelers and Ravens continue to struggle.
In order to take a step toward doing that, the Bengals will have to snap some losing trends of recent years. In addition to being just 1-5 SU and ATS in their last six games against the Steelers overall, Cincinnati is 1-11 SU and 1-10-1 ATS in its last 12 home games against Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati is also trying to break out of a 1-4 ATS slump on Monday Night Football.
All of those negative trends came against a Pittsburgh Steelers team that was a perennial Super Bowl contender. Was last week just a fluke, or are the Steelers headed towards a down year in 2013? Pittsburgh is just 4-7 SU and 3-8 ATS in its last 11 road games.
The total has gone under in each of the last three games between these AFC North rivals. Monday night's lines were moving slightly, with a flood of new MNF props hitting the wagering wire Monday morning.
Prediction: The OddsShark computer predicts a 14-10 Bengals win, which would be a Steelers cover. If that pick is accurate, the total would go well under the total.