The desperate Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday looking for their eighth win in a row in this AFC North rivalry. Kickoff from Heinz Field is at 4:25 p.m. ET. To make the postseason for the fifth straight year, Pittsburgh (8-6-1) needs to defeat Cincinnati and hope the Ravens lose at home to the Browns. The Bengals (6-9) are playing hard down the stretch, having covered three straight, and would love to play spoiler. Pittsburgh has plenty of injury questions coming in, including star wideout Antonio Brown (knee) and running back James Conner (ankle). Nevertheless, bookmakers list Pittsburgh as a 14-point favorite, with the over-under for total points set at 45 in the latest Steelers vs. Bengals odds. Before you make any Steelers vs. Bengals picks and predictions, see what SportsLine's Mike "Top Dog" Tierney has to say.
A renowned sportswriter who has covered the NFL for decades and reported from seven Super Bowls, Tierney has an eerie feel for the Bengals. In his last six spread picks for or against Cincinnati, Tierney has nailed them all, giving his followers a big return. In Week 14 vs. the Chargers, Tierney told his followers to back Cincy (+14) without hesitation. The result: Chargers 26, Bengals 21 -- another easy cash in a game Cincy nearly won outright.
Now, with the Bengals facing a desperate Steelers team, Tierney has locked in another confident pointspread pick. He's only sharing it over at SportsLine.
Tierney knows the Steelers are itching to take out their frustration on Sunday after losing four of their last five in excruciating fashion. Their last three defeats all came by a field goal, with questionable officiating playing a role. Statistically, Pittsburgh is an elite team, ranking fourth in total offense (407.3) and scoring (27.5). Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger just shredded a much better defense in New Orleans for 380 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.
If Brown sits, JuJu Smith-Schuster would be elevated to the No. 1 role and should rip Cincinnati's 30th-ranked pass defense. Brown and Smith-Schuster are the NFL's fifth teammate combo to post 100 catches and 1,200 receiving yards in the same season, and they did it in 15 games. Smith-Schuster had 15 targets against the Saints last week, converting 11 of them for 115 yards.
But just because the Steelers boast an explosive offense doesn't mean they'll cover the spread against Joe Mixon and the Bengals.
Cincinnati has covered three straight games overall and four of its last five road contests thanks in large part to running back Joe Mixon, who leads the AFC with 1,063 rushing yards. He's averaging 4.7 yards per carry with nine touchdowns. Driskel has played better than most expected, accounting for eight touchdowns and three turnovers in relief of Dalton (thumb).
Five of the last six meetings in this bitter rivalry have been decided by one score or less. In Week 6, Cincy was extremely competitive with the Steelers, losing 28-21 as Mixon averaged 5.8 yards per carry and scored a touchdown.
We can tell you Tierney is leaning Over, but his much stronger play is on the side. Tierney has isolated a motivational angle that almost no one is talking about, and it has him going big on one side of the spread. He's only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine.
Who wins Bengals vs. Steelers? And what overlooked motivational angle makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see Mike Tierney's strong against-the-spread pick, from the seasoned expert who's nailed six straight spread picks involving the Bengals.