Steelers vs. Ravens Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds: How to Factor in the Motivations of Pittsburgh & Baltimore
USA Today Sports. Pictured: James Conner
- The Ravens have clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs while Pittsburgh is competing for a playoff spot.
- How should you evaluate the motivations of both teams in this AFC North showdown?
Steelers at Ravens Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds
- Odds: Steelers -2
- Over/Under: 37
- Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: CBS
Odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes are hanging in the balance of Sunday’s result against Baltimore, as well as Tennessee-Houston. With a win and a Titans loss, the Steelers are in. The Ravens, on the other hand, already have the AFC’s No. 1 seed locked in and are resting starters.
With the stakes and context in mind, our experts preview this matchup and make their pick.
Steelers-Ravens Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Ravens
Mark Ingram (calf) isn’t expected to play after suffering a calf strain last week. Additionally, Marcus Peters (chest) and Mark Andrews (ankle) are banged up. That said, the Ravens aren’t expected to play most of their starters since this game is meaningless for them.
Even if Andrews and Peters play, I’d doubt they play the whole game.
The Steelers already ruled out offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey (knee), and James Conner sounds like he’s in jeopardy of missing this game with his quad injury that forced him out of last week. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Steelers Rush Defense vs. Ravens Rush Offense
This mismatch is a direct result of the Ravens resting starters to prepare for playoffs: Likely MVP Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and starting guard Marshal Yanda will all sit. That represents the core of a Ravens’ rushing attack that’s been the most dominant in the NFL this season.
The Steelers, by contrast, will be at full strength with a playoff spot still in their sights. They’re the third-most efficient against the run by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. They also allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and had success at limiting the Ravens rushing attack in their earlier Week 5 meeting. In that game, the Steelers held Ingram to 44 rushing yards on just 2.3 yards per carry. In fact, all Baltimore running backs combined for just 68 yards on 26 carries.
I expect a strong performance from the Steelers defense against a severely-undermanned Ravens rushing attack. — Mike Randle
Matthew Freedman: Steelers +2
The Ravens have almost no incentive to play this week. But the Steelers will be motivated.
The Steelers are losers of two straight, but have been a winning team since they lost Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2 and added defense-altering safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in Week 3.
- Weeks 1-2 (two games): -16 point differential, 14.5 points scored, 30.5 points allowed
- Weeks 3-16 (13 games): +2.8 point differential, 19.2 points scored, 16.5 points allowed
Since Week 3, the Steelers are 9-4 against the spread (36.1% ROI). I’d bet them down to a pick’em.
Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.