Steelers Ravens Odds
The Baltimore Ravens (9-2) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) Sunday at 4:25 PM ET in a big AFC North division showdown. Oddsmakers have listed the Ravens as a seven-point favorite.
Why Baltimore Covers
The Ravens will be all business Sunday as they can clinch a playoff berth and perhaps even the AFC North division title. Baltimore, which is just one game behind Houston for the best record in the AFC, can win a second straight division championship with a win over the Steelers and a Cincinnati loss to San Diego.
Winning hasn’t been too difficult a task for Baltimore at home where it has won 16 in a row. The Ravens have won each of their last four overall, and their defense has been lights out during this stretch.
Initially it looked like the Baltimore defense would struggle after losing linebacker Ray Lewis to a triceps injury. After all, it allowed 43 points to the Texans in its first game without Lewis. However, the Ravens have bounced back and and have only allowed a total of 58 points (14.4 per game) over their last four games.
The defense was especially sharp Sunday when it recorded a season-high six sacks and allowed a season-low 280 yards against the Chargers. The defense could be poised for another strong effort if Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn’t able to go. Big Ben is currently listed as questionable with a shoulder injury.
Baltimore QB Joe Flacco has struggled on the road, but he has been lights out at M&T Bank Stadium. He has averaged 322.4 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions for a 108.3 passer rating at home this season.
Why Pittsburgh Covers
The Steelers need this game worse than the Ravens. They have lost their last two to fall from the thick of the AFC North division race to barely being in the playoff picture. They are currently tied with division rival Cincinnati for the AFC’s second wild-card spot.
The Steelers played the Ravens to a 13-10 ball game without Roethlisberger two weeks ago as the defense held Baltimore to only 200 yards of offense.
Pittsburgh ranks No. 1 in the NFL in total defense with 257.2 yards allowed per game and fourth in scoring defense with 19.1 points allowed per contest. This stout unit could be even stouter Sunday as five-time All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu could see the field for the first time since Week 5.
The Steelers have been an outstanding investment in bounce back spots. In fact, they have covered the spread in 10 of their last 12 games following a loss. They are also 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 road games versus a team that has a winning record at home.
The Ravens are riding a lengthy winning streak at home, but they are starting to be overvalued because of it. Consider that they are just 2-6 against the spread in their last eight home games.
These two have played close games for years. Each of the last two and six of the last eight meetings have been decided by three points. It is also worth noting that Pittsburgh has won or lost by just three points in 10 of the last 11 meetings.