There is no sense denying that the Cincinnati Bengals have a monkey on their back. Since Marvin Lewis became the head coach (and he is now in his 13th season), this team has made the playoffs six times, and six times they had been beaten in the first round of competition. That includes each of the last four years. This might be the best team Lewis has ever had in Cincinnati, but they are potentially handicapped by not having their starting quarterback on board. The Pittsburgh Steelers got into the playoffs by virtue of the loss suffered by the New York Jets last weekend, and they will have to go about their business without their starting running back. These teams will meet in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs at 8:15 PM ET on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. Even after the opening kickoff, BetAnySports customers will have the opportunity to place wagers in real time as the game is in progress, challenging the football playoff odds through the magic of Live Betting Extra.
Among AFC teams, Cincinnati at the best pointspread record, at 12-3-1 ATS. They won their first eight games, but went 4-4 the rest of the way. Of course, since they are in the same division as the Steelers (the AFC North), there were two encounters this season. In the first one, a 16-10 Cincinnati victory at Heinz Field, Ben Roethlisberger was just coming off an injury and was intercepted three times. In the return match, Andy Dalton suffered a fractured right thumb and had to be replaced by AJ McCarron, who had 280 yards passing but also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Pittsburgh won that game 33-20, then they beat the Denver Broncos the next week. Inexplicably, Pittsburgh loss to Baltimore 20-17 two weeks ago, but recovered in time to defeat the Cleveland Browns last weekend, which, coupled with the Jets’ loss to the Buffalo Bills, put them into the #6 seed.
In the reduced juice football playoff odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, Pittsburgh is laying points on the road:
Pittsburgh Steelers -3 (+105)
Cincinnati Bengals +3 (-115)
Over 45 points -107
Under 45 points -103
The Steelers had already been going without Le’Veon Bell, their star running back who had a serve a suspension at the start of the season but then came back into the lineup and rushed for 556 yards. It was a good thing they had DeAngelo Williams on hand, as he was more than adequate as a fill-in, with 907 yards and 11 touchdowns. But now Williams has suffered a foot injury and has been ruled out of this game. So the unfamiliar name of Fitzgerald Toussaint will be heard during the telecast, as the Steelers’ feature back. He only carried the ball 18 times on the season, so there has to be cut some concern on the part of head coach Mike Tomlin, although he has denied it.
If the Steelers are indeed one-dimensional, that is obviously good for the Bengals, because as BetAnySports patrons should know, they have put forth one heck of a defensive effort this season. Only one time in the last nine games has any team rushed for 100 yards against them, and the secondary has pulled down 21 interceptions. This Cincinnati stop unit ranks third in the league in points allowed per drive and fifth in touchdown percentage in the red zone.
So can AJ McCarron, who won a national championship at Alabama, make judicious use of his receivers? Tyler Eifert is a good guy to have when you are inside the 20 yard line, as his 13 touchdown catches would attest. Marvin Jones is actually the guy who has the best relationship with McCarron, and he chipped in with 65 receptions for 816 yards this year. AJ Green had 1297 yards and is the guy that Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Keith Butler will probably worry about most.
BetAnySports is prepared to give you all the excitement you are hoping for, and even a little bit more, in the football playoffs. That’s because, with reduced juice, you can get much more value in your wagering action, and then you have the convenience of a lot of payment methods, including the virtual currency of Bitcoin…… So there is no excuse for not signing up right NOW!