NFL Football Betting: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Football Betting:  Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Two games on Christmas Day as the penultimate week of the season continues. In this preview we’ll take a look at the early game on the board, an AFC North battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. This is a crucial game for both teams. The Steelers currently lead Baltimore by one game in the standings but the Ravens won the first meeting of the year taking a 21-14 decision at home on 11/6/16. A victory here will give them a tie for the division lead *and* the head to head tiebreaker heading into the final week of the season. A Pittsburgh victory here will clinch the division for the Steelers. Pittsburgh enters the game on a 5 game winning streak while the Ravens have won five of their last 7 games.

Both teams have plenty of banged up players as you’d expect at this point of the season. The Ravens might have the most significant absence, however, as they’ll be without cornerback Jimmy Smith who is suffering with an ankle injury. That’s bad news for a Ravens’ defense that has been excellent against the run but has been less impressive against passing attacks. The Steelers can hit them in both areas with Antonio Brown and Le’Von Bell. The Steelers have won and covered five straight and have been money in the bank in December–they’re on a 12-2 ATS run in the final month of the year.

Baltimore has dominated head to head play over the last three seasons winning 5 of the last six meetings going 4-1-1 against the spread. They’re 2-1 SU at Pittsburgh going 1-1-1 ATS. They’ve won the last four games going 3-0-1 ATS. They benefitted from the scheduling situation on 11/6 as they were catching Ben Roethlisberger still rusty coming off of knee surgery. Baltimore has struggled on the road this season going 2-4 SU/1-4-1 ATS. They’re 1-4 SU/ATS as an underdog and 0-3 SU/ATS as an underdog in this price range (+3.5 to +7 points). The Steelers are 7-3 ATS against conference foes and 3-1 SU/ATS against divisional rivals. In the last four weeks of the regular season the Steelers are 9-1 SU/8-1-1 ATS over the last three years. The absence of Smith looks huge.