two out of every three bets are on the home team.
Bottom LineThis isn't a game that requires any over-analysis, because it will likely be a waste of time. All we need to know is that we are dealing with two of the most boom-or-bust teams in the NFL. Three of the four units rank in the bottom five in consistency this season. The most consistent unit is the Steelers defense, who have been consistently bad all year.
My main questions are ....
Did Dalton put the "prime-time choker" label to rest with his win last week? I'm not ready to trust him, but the underlying numbers do indicate that he has a considerable advantage in this matchup. A.J. Green is also listed as "probable", so it will be all-systems-go on Sunday.
How much will home-field matter? I think it could be a lot, depending how the game goes early. If Pittsburgh can jump out to a lead in the first quarter, it could be a long day for the Bengals. This season, Pittsburgh are 5-2 at home.
In the end, which side do you trust more? This is going to be one of the biggest bet games of the weekend, and I really have no idea which side I lean to. There is simply too much uncertainty on both sides of the ball. If you believe in Dalton, there is value at +3.5. All things considered, they are a better balanced team overall. If you think his prime-time failures are legit, go ahead and lay the -3.5, because I think there is a greater chance that this point spread rises rather than go down to -3.