Steelers visit Bengals in Monday Night Football betting

By: Willie Bee | Saturday, November 6, 2010
Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens has scored five of Cincinnati’s 14 touchdowns on the year.

ESPN programming execs were no doubt licking their chops when they scheduled Monday's matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals.  A midseason battle between division rivals expected to contend for the playoffs certainly looked appealing when the MNF slate was released back in April.

It still remains a crucial contest for both teams despite some of the sheen off the game.  Pittsburgh, 5-2 straight up and 4-3 against the NFL spread, needs a win to keep pace with or even overtake the Ravens in the AFC North depending on Baltimore's outcome against the Dolphins on Sunday.  Cincinnati is desperate to stop a four-game losing skid and possibly resurrect its season which currently stands at 2-5 both SU and ATS.

Pittsburgh opened as a three-point favorite at 5Dimes before that was bet up to five by Friday evening.  Monday's total started at 42½ at the same shop but had been reduced to 41.

Monday's contest marks the third consecutive road tilt for the Steelers who fell at New Orleans last week, 20-10.  The game was a battle defenses and kickers through three quarters with the Saints taking a 6-3 lead into the final 15 minutes.  A pair of fourth-quarter TD passes by Drew Brees and a late Ben Roethlisberger interceptions sealed the win for the Saints who closed as one-point favorites.

Roethlisberger completed 17 of 28 passes for 195 yards and the one pick, by far his worst of three efforts since returning from his early-season suspension.

Cincinnati's latest setback came here at home a week ago to the Miami Dolphins, 22-14.  The Bengals held a 14-6 lead late in the second quarter before two Miami field goals in the final minute of action before the half pulled the Dolphins to within two heading into the break. Cincinnati then went scoreless in the second half while Miami added 10 to its total.

Like the Steelers in their loss at New Orleans, the Bengals were one-point underdogs to the Dolphins.

Carson Palmer was 17-for-38 on the day for just 156 yards through the air.  He hooked up with Terrell Owens for both of Cincinnati's touchdowns in the first half.  The one constant in the four-game skid for the Bengals has been Carson and Owens combining to put points on the board.  Unfortunately, the pair has been the only offense of note for the Bengals who have been outscored 32-15 in the final quarter over the last three losses, roughly the points differential in the trio of defeats.

Cincinnati won both meetings between the two squads last season, snapping a five-game losing streak the Bengals had in the series.  Their 23-20 win as 3½-point underdogs at home also broke a nine-game skid to the Steelers in Cincinnati, a streak that dated back to Dec. 30, 2001.

Six of the last nine played in Cincinnati have stayed below the total, a span that predates Paul Brown Stadium where six of the Bengals' last eight contests have also cashed for 'under' bettors.

Monday's weather in Porkopolis should be excellent.  Clear skies are in the forecast with temperatures likely in the mid-50s for the start of the game (8:30 p.m. ET, 5:30 PT) before dropping into the 40s by game's end.

The two AFC rivals will meet again in Pittsburgh in Week 14 (Dec. 12).  Next up for the Steelers is a battle at home against the Patriots in the Sunday Night Football broadcast.  The Bengals will travel to Indianapolis next week to face the Colts.

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