For the time since Boomer Esiason quarterbacked the Bengals, the Steelers are poised to be home underdogs against visiting Cincinnati on Sunday night.
Various Nevada sports books have AFC North-leading Cincinnati (9-4) as a 2.5-point favorite at Pittsburgh, which is on the fringes of playoff contention at 5-8.
We have go all the way back to Oct. 8, 1989 to find Cincinnati in the role as favorites in Pittsburgh. On that day, the Bengals (-3.5) defeated the host Steelers 26-13 on the AstroTurf at Three Rivers Stadium.
Since then, it’s been the same story: the visiting Bengals are underdogs, and usually big underdogs at that. In the last 23 matchups between the clubs in Pittsburgh, the Steelers have been favored by an average of about 7.3 points, according to data from the Jim Feist and Marc Lawrence point spread archives.
The Bengals have played the Steelers tough in Pittsburgh in recent years, winning five of the last 10 matchups, including last season’s meeting. They have been underdogs of 5.8 points on average in those 10 games, according to Lawrence data. By contrast, the Bengals were underdogs of an average of 8.6 points in Pittsburgh from 1990-2002, per Feist archives.
A season ago, the Bengals were 3.5-point underdogs at Pittsburgh. Now, it’s the Steelers who will try to be upsetters on their home field for the first time since a truly golden age of music was captured via the magic of cassette tape.