Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens – Week 17 NFL Betting Analysis
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7 9-6 ATS) at Baltimore Ravens (13-2 9-6 ATS)
The Ravens have wrapped up the top seed in the AFC for the playoffs and in their season finale will rest several starters, which is why they are only a 1-point home favorite against the Steelers. The total for this AFC North showdown is sitting at 39.5.
The Steelers have to win this game and have the Tennessee Titans lost to the Houston Texans to make the playoffs. If both lose Pittsburgh still has a shot, but a long one so this season finale is vital for them.
The Ravens have nothing to play for and they will rest star QB Lamar Jackson, fellow 1,000+ yard rusher Mark Ingram, G Marshal Yanda, S Earl Thomas, and DE Brandon Williams as well as a couple of other key players.
The Steelers have lost two games in a row where their offense has stalled only scoring 10 points in each game.
Earlier this season in Pittsburgh the Ravens beat the Steelers 26-23 in OT.
Turnovers Hurt Again
In the Steelers last game, they lost to the New York Jets 16-10. Devlin Hodges for the start under center but was pulled after tossing two INT and he has four INT in the previous game. Mason Rudolph came in and had a TD but then had to leave with an injury with Hodges finishing the game. Hodges will get the start in this game and has to avoid the turnover against a solid Baltimore defense.
Hodges has a lot of pressure and this is especially the case wince lead RB James Conner is questionable with an injury. Kerrith Whyte and Barry Snell Jr. combined for 38 yards on 13 carries in the loss to New York and if Conner cannot go they will get the reps in the backfield.
The Ravens rank 4th in the league defending the pass and 7th defending the run but their D will be without some key players.
Backups Will Go
With Jackson and Ingram not playing Robert Griffin III will get the start under center and Gus Edwards will be the lead RB.
RG3 has not played much this season behind Jackson and has passed for 129 yards with a TD and an INT. Edwards is the team’s 3rd leading rusher with 581 yards and 2 TD and in the Ravens last game, which was a 31-15 win over the Cleveland Browns, he rushed for 66 yards and averaged a solid 5.5 yards per carry.
The Ravens are led by the run game, which ranks 1st in the league in rushing yards per game, and I look for them to lean on the run in this game.
The Steelers’ defense ranks 5th in the league against the pass and 10th against the run and even in two losses they have only given up 33 points in their last two games.
Not only are the Steelers 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games but the underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four games between them and the Ravens. Still, Baltimore is at home and riding an 11-game win streak. The Ravens will run the ball well and while Pittsburgh will give them a fight Baltimore will win and cover in their house.
PICK: Ravens -1