Can the Pittsburgh Steelers Upset the Shorthanded Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Dec 13, 2023 12:00 AM
The Cincinnati Bengals have been playing fairly well since the Joe Burrow injury. Can the Pittsburgh Steelers change that in Week 16?

Though quarterback Joe Burrow is done for the remainder of the season, the Cincinnati Bengals will not let their odds to make the NFL playoffs fade away. Will they keep fighting to do the improbable during their Week 16 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers?

  • What: Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals
  • Date: Saturday, December 23, 2023
  • Time: 1:30 p.m. eastern standard time
  • Where: Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Point Spread: Broncos (TBA), Chargers (TBA)

If you place serious stock in the latest NFL online betting odds, you will absolutely have faith in the Bengals to get the job done.

FavoriteBovadaBovadaUnderdog
Cincinnati Bengals-130+111Pittsburgh Steelers

Please remember to double-check these online NFL betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Steelers vs. Bengals odds are accurate entering Tuesday, December 12. That gives the best NFL online betting sites plenty of time to make adjustments leading into opening kick-off on December 23

And since we’re delivering these NFL Week 16 picks so far in advance, we’ll be looking at the Steelers vs. Bengals moneyline and Steelers vs Bengals point spread odds alone. The over/under will drop later. For now, we’ll lay out the case for each team and deliver our final prediction.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t say we’re surprised by the Bengals entering as favorites over the Steelers. Maybe oddsmakers and the general betting market are that impressed with their Week 14 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Or perhaps the linemakers believe Pittsburgh will be in full 2024 NFL draft odds mode.

Still, whenever a team doesn’t have their QB1 under center, it’s fair to wonder whether their offense can hold up. To that end, this game has “Steelers get the Week 16 upset!” written all over it. Or maybe not. We can’t be sure until we dig into the details—which we’ll do now.

The Case for Betting on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16

Oddsmakers have fallen out of love with the Steelers over the past month or so. It’s hard to blame them. Pittsburgh’s offense was always a wild card, but it has struggled to no end lately. Through their past four games, the Steelers are averaging just 13.5 points. It comes as no surprise they are just 1-3 during this stretch. They have also seen their once-solid NFL playoff betting odds crater into oblivion as a result of these struggles.

Counting on an offensive resurgence against the Bengals isn’t necessarily an intelligent thing to do. Then again, it might be.

Cincinnati ranks 30th in net yards allowed per rushing attempt and 31st in net yards allowed per passing attempt. They don’t let opponents score a bunch of points, but they are opponent-friendly when it comes to moving the chains. There will be opportunities even a roller coast offense like Pittsburgh’s can capitalize on.

What’s more, the Steelers defense remains legitimate. They are seventh in points allowed per game, and only three teams have forced more interceptions on the season. 

Coming up with picks would be difficult if Joe Burrow were under center for the Bengals. He’s not. Even if Cincinnati elects to lean on the ground game instead of air it out, that merely enables the Steelers to throw the kitchen sink at their offensive line.

Pittsburgh Steelers To beat the Cincinnati Bengals
Bovada
+111

The Case for Betting on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16

Most wrote off the Bengals immediately after Burrow’s injury. That makes sense. His absence left them incredibly reliant on backup quarterback Jake Browning

Apparently, though, that’s not the end of the world. Cincinnati is 2-1 since handing the reins to Browning. More impressively, the QB2 is completing over 75 percent of his passes and averaging more than 10 net yards per passing attempt.

Though it looked like the Bengals would shy away from saddling him with real passing volume during his first start (a loss to the Steelers), everything has flipped on its head the past two weeks. Browning has attempted 61 passes during Cincinnati’s two-game winning streak

Moving the ball against Pittsburgh’s defense will be tough. Browning knows this himself. His first start of the year came against them in Week 12, when the Bengals mustered just 10 points. 

That’s concerning. It’s not daming. Browning now has more reps under his belt. Getting an extensive look at the Steelers’ defense will also arm him with a level of familiarity. 

Cincinnati Bengals To beat the Pittsburgh Steelers
Bovada
-130

Official Steelers vs. Bengals Week 16 Prediction

Do you have the stomach to predict an upset in this one? Because we sure do. 

While we don’t mean to downplay Browning’s success of the past two weeks, tussling with Pittsburgh’s defense is a different experience altogether. Plus, even if he’s on point, there’s no guarantee the defense follows suit. The Bengals have one of the most inconsistent defenses in the league. And if we had to choose, it feels like they’re on the decline. Cincinnati now ranks 28th in third-down defense and has slipped to 15th in red-zone prevention. 

For all of the Steelers’ offensive topsy-turviness, they do a good job protecting the ball. That should be enough to give them an advantage against a defense notorious for their all-over-the-place execution.

OSB Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers (+111)

Pittsburgh Steelers To beat the Cincinnati Bengals
Bovada
+111

Who Covers the Point Spread in Week 16: Pittsburgh Steelers or Cincinnati Bengals?

Week 16 point spread betting lines for Steelers vs. Bengals have already dropped. Before we move further, we’d just like to remind you yet again that these NFL point spread betting odds are accurate entering Tuesday, December 12. Keep this in mind as you plan when to submit your wager. 

Below you can see the latest Bengals vs Steelers point spread betting lines:

  • Cincinnati Bengals, -2.5 (-110)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers, +2.5 (-110)

If you don’t have the stomach to predict a Steelers upset over the Bengals, the point spread offers you some additional wiggle room. It isn’t much, but it’s enough. Three of Pittsburgh’s past four games have been determined by three points or fewer. In a game that pits them against a backup quarterback, this one could end in a similar fashion if their own passing game is underwater.

OSB Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers, +2.5 (-110)

Pittsburgh Steelers To cover the point spread against the Cincinnati Bengals
Bovada
-110

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your 2023 NFL betting:

  • EXCLUSIVE BONUS
    Bovada
    4.3/5
    50% bonus up to $250
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetOnline
    4.1/5
    100% bonus up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • EXCLUSIVE BONUS
    BetUS
    4.4/5
    125% up to $2,500
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Xbet
    4.3/5
    $500 Sign-up Bonus
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetNow
    4.5/5
    100% up to $1,000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • MyBookie
    50% bonus up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Bookmaker
    100% up to $400
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Sportsbetting
    3.6/5
    50% up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • EveryGame
    $500 Sign Up Bonus
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • WagerWeb
    3.5/5
    100% up to $1,000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetDSI
    3.3/5
    100% up to $500 + $500 at BetDsi's Casino
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetNow
    4.3/5
    100% up to $450
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

Online Sports Betting may receive compensation if you sign up through our links. Rest assured, we avoid biases and provide honest opinions on sportsbooks. Read our affiliate disclosure here.