Judging by the records, it would be a safe assumption the Cincinnati Bengals would be heavy favorites at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. At 10-2, the Bengals have a stranglehold on the AFC North division, and can clinch the crown with a win over their rivals this Sunday. However, the early line in this game shows anything but the Bengals as heavy favorites.
As of Tuesday, the line on the game has the Bengals as 3-point favorites at home against a division opponent. A 3-point spread is very typical for the home team, and looking at it this way makes the game almost seems like a pick'em selection. The Week 8 matchup which saw the Bengals win 16-10 could have a hand in the early line, as the Steelers held the high-powered Bengals offense to their second lowest point total of 2015, but the easy direction to point for the low line is to the Steelers' offense.
In Week 8 Ben Roethlisberger was just returning to the lineup following a MCL sprain. Roethlisberger wore a bulky brace on his left knee and visibly look bothered by the injury. Roethlisberger threw 3 interceptions which equated to the Cincinnati victory. Since that game the Steelers offense has been as prolific as any in the league. Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, DeAngelo Williams and Heath Miller comprise the most complete and lethal offensive units in the league.
Despite the Bengals being clear favorites to win the AFC North, the Steelers have plenty to play for. Pittsburgh can enhance their odds of making the postseason for the second straight season with a victory, and at the same time will ease some of the tension out of their Week 15 matchup against Denver Broncos at Heinz Field. No matter how you view this game, the early odds on this game show this contest to be a close one between two bitter AFC North rivals.