Thursday Night Football Betting: Ravens at Steelers

Thursday Night Football Betting: Ravens at Steelers

The disappointing 0-3 Ravens caught a break when Ben Roethlisberger went down with a knee injury in Week 3. Taking to the road on a short week desperate for a win is a less than ideal scenario, but not having to face one of the league’s top quarterbacks might make the pill easier to swallow on Thursday Night Football. With the exception of the ageless Steve Smith, no one on Baltimore’s offense is meeting expectations. One-year wonder Justin Forsett is playing like, well, a one-year wonder. The rest of the wide receiving corps is laughably bad, and the only other pass-catcher to display a pulse is tight end Crockett Gilmore. The Steelers turn to washed-up Mike Vick to salvage their season. Good luck with that. Here’s a preview and prediction for Week 4 of Thursday Night Football.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh +3

If not for Big Ben’s absence, this line would be Steelers by at least 4.5. But the Ravens could care less, because they absolutely have to notch a W to have any hope of reaching the postseason. The Bengals beat them in a barnburner last Sunday, so they are essentially 3.5 games behind first place in the AFC North. Flacco to Steve Smith worked well versus the Bengals, and the Steelers secondary is more than a bit suspect. However, getting Forsett on track is critical to offensive success. Baltimore isn’t beating anyone by throwing it 50 times a week. The defense is giving up too many big plays down the field, and the void left by Terrell Suggs’ season-ending injury has yet to be filled. As a unit, they rank 27th in points allowed, which isn’t good enough when facing the likes of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Baltimore is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games.

Despite a glut of losses in the offseason, the Steelers defense has been surprisingly stout, ranking 6th in scoring and 9th against the run. Budding talents like Ryan Shazier, Bud Dupree, and Stephon Tuitt are paying dividends, and they will need to continue their stellar play to offset an offense that will struggle to move the sticks without their Super Bowl-winning signal-caller. Vick hasn’t been a competent player since 2011. He still has the arm to fire shots to Brown, but for the Black and Gold to sustain drives, Bell must carry the load. The Ravens would be foolish not to stuff the box to contain Bell, meaning Vick will have no choice but to convert when open receivers are available. He’s also very susceptible to ghastly turnovers, so ball security and decision-making will be keys to victory. Pittsburgh is 6-2 ATS in its last eight at Heinz Field.

In the last ten meetings, the Ravens are 4-5-1 ATS. The Steelers are 2-0-1 ATS thus far in 2015, while Baltimore is 0-3. This looks like a trap pick for a bad Baltimore team. Even without Ben, the Steelers at home motivated to prove doubters wrong are the safer play.

Bet Pittsburgh +3