Steelers-Ravens Betting Preview: Will Big Ben Get Revenge in Baltimore?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ben Roethlisberger (7), Terrell Suggs (55).
Betting odds: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
- Spread: Ravens -2.5
- Over/Under: 47.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: This game is sort of a poor man’s Chiefs-Browns from a betting-market standpoint.
The Ravens are getting just about a quarter of the bets as a 2.5-point home favorite, but the line has only moved a half-point in Pittsburgh’s favor.
The money split is closer to a 70/30 in Pittsburgh’s favor, with Baltimore getting 7% more dollars than bets at the time of writing (click here for updated data).
With Baltimore’s bet sizes larger on average, we can see why books have been reluctant to move the line much. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Ravens have dropped two straight games heading into this contest against their one and only division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In Flacco’s career, he has faced the Steelers with the Ravens coming off consecutive losses twice. Baltimore is 2-0 straight up and 1-0-1 against the spread in those games (covering by 5.3 ppg), winning one at home and one at Heinz Field. — Evan Abrams
In the Mike Tomlin era, the Steelers are 28-18-3 ATS as underdogs, including 10-4-2 ATS against the AFC North. — John Ewing
Did you know? If you’re thinking “It sure seems like every time Flacco and the Ravens face Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, the spread is at 3-3.5 points” … well, you would be right.
The two quarterbacks have faced off 18 times in their careers (regular season and postseason), with 14 of those spreads closing between -3 and -3.5 (per our Bet Labs data).
We’ll see if this one moves back into that 3-3.5 range by kickoff. — Abrams
Roethlisberger and the Steelers have won — and covered — three consecutive games heading into Baltimore.
Big Ben has only been listed as an underdog in six games in his career on an SU and ATS winning streak of three or more games. Pittsburgh is 5-1 ATS in those games, with its only loss coming in Super Bowl XLV against the Packers. — Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Steelers defensive line vs. Ravens offensive line
The biggest strength on the Steelers defense is the pressure it generates up front (its 24.0 sacks are tied for second in the NFL). That means Flacco could be running for his life in M&T Bank Stadium behind the Ravens’ mess of an offensive line.
The potential loss of left tackle Ronnie Stanley is enormous in this particular matchup, especially when you consider the other injuries along the Ravens offensive line. Baltimore could potentially be without three of its five starting linemen.
Matt Skura has really struggled at center and Hroniss Grasu was an absolute disaster at left guard last week. If Stanley is indeed out, Cam Heyward (and the pressure Pitt inevitably brings on that side) should have a huge day against two backups on Flacco’s blindside. — Stuckey
Metrics that matter: Flacco will be throwing behind a vulnerable offensive line because the Ravens have no semblance of a rushing attack this season.
Their 3.6 yards per carry ranks 31st in the NFL — only the Cardinals (3.4) are worse. Some of that can be put on the running backs, but most of the blame falls on the linemen.
Don’t expect that to change against a Steelers defensive line that ranks top five in both adjusted sack rate and against the run.
The Ravens O-line had excelled in pass blocking all season (No. 4 adjusted sack rate), which allowed the passing game to mask the running issues at times. But now injuries have thrown that into question, as we saw last week in Carolina.
If Baltimore can find a way to pass block effectively, it will take advantage of a weak Steelers pass defense. If not, you can mark down a third straight loss for the Ravens. — Stuckey
Which team is healthier? Steelers
Roethlisberger (finger) is dealing with a non-throwing hand injury and is fine. Other than Le’Veon Bell (holdout), the only notable Steelers who might not suit up Sunday are linebacker Bud Dupree (illness) and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh (foot).
The outlook is less optimistic for the Ravens, who risk being without running back Alex Collins (foot), cornerback Marlon Humphrey (thigh), safety Tony Jefferson (hamstring), linebacker C.J. Mosley (thigh) and left tackle Stanley (ankle).
DFS edge: Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster have each caught 46 passes this season, but Brown’s eight touchdowns (six more than JuJu) have easily made up for Smith-Schuster’s 42 more receiving yards.
Both receivers remain weekly must-starts in any season-long format, but the Ravens’ sixth-ranked defense in overall DVOA certainly deserves some respect, especially considering its history at home against AB.
Brown has scored just one touchdown and hasn’t cracked 100 yards in eight career games in Baltimore. Brown costs $8,400 on DraftKings and carries a meandering +0.8 Projected Plus/Minus, according to our FantasyLabs Models. — Hartitz
Bet to watch: Ravens -1.5 First Half
The Ravens have lost back-to-back games SU and ATS entering Week 9, including a double digits loss to the Panthers last Sunday. They are primed for a bounce back and I think it will happen early at home.
In his career, Flacco is 48-28-4 (63.2%) against the first half spread at home, and since the start of the 2016 season, the Ravens are 6-1 against the first half spread at home after an SU loss, covering the spread by 4.3 ppg.
Additionally, Flacco has had success against the Steelers in the first half, going 12-6 against the first half spread in 18 career meetings, including 6-1 at home.
A lazy narrative this week may be that Steelers want revenge after losing to the Ravens a month ago, but in Roethlisberger’s career he is just 30-35-1 ATS when trying to avenge an SU loss.
He is 4-9-1 ATS in that spot against the Ravens, failing to cover five of his past six games in that spot. — Abrams
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.