Steelers Ravens Betting – Steelers Continue To Dominate In Baltimore
Sports betting players can argue all day about what the best rivalry in the NFL is, but there is no debate over which one has more bitter feelings involved as Pittsburgh and Baltimore despise each other, and the AFC North always comes down to their games. The party gets started early this year as the Steelers head to Baltimore, where they have owned the Ravens recently.
What: NFL Betting
When: Sunday, September 11th, 1:00 PM ET
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5
Why Bet On Pittsburgh Steelers
There are few reasons not to bet on the Steelers, who have been to the Super Bowl three times in six seasons, winning twice, although they’ll be hungry after losing last year to Green Bay. The offense should be better if Emmanuel Sanders continues to improve and new signing Jerricho Cotchery can stay healthy. Isaac Redman had a great preseason and if he can take some of the pressure off Rashard Mendenhall, the Steelers should be set in the backfield. We all know what Ben Roethlisberger can do at quarterback, but the offensive line has to improve in pass protection. Defensively, the Steelers have everyone back from the No.2 unit in the NFL, and we don’t expect them to take a big step backwards in 2011. Coordinator Dom Capers will continue to dial up some of the wackiest blitzes you’ve ever seen, forcing the opposition into making mistakes.
But the key here is the health of Troy Polamalu, the Defensive Player of the Year who struggled mightily in the second half of the season with an ailing Achilles, and Green Bay picked on him in the Super Bowl. When he is healthy, that allows Capers to take more risks because Polamalu is back playing centerfield, and of course, he’s still one of the premier safeties in the league when it comes to stop the run. James Harrison also has to recover from two back surgeries during the offseason, and he says he is at 80% right now. These two have to be healthy in order for the Steelers to get back to where they were last year.
Why Bet On Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are perennially on the fringes of being NFL betting favorites, and a major reason for that is because they can’t get past the Steelers, but it’s not like they’re not equipped. Joe Flacco appears ready to take the next step in his development, and he has a deep threat now in Lee Evans, who will be opposite Anquan Boldin. Ray Rice continues to be, arguably, the most versatile back in the league and Ricky Williams was brought in to give him a breather from time to time. The defense lost coordinator Greg Mattison to Michigan in the NCAA, but the Ravens continued to be one of the best defensive teams in the league after Rex Ryan left, and this should be no different. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs are all back and new coordinator Chuck Pagano has been with the team since 2008, so there shouldn’t be much of a change.
Baltimore’s hopes for the season rest with the offense, as Flacco lost his favorite targets in Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap, who are both gone. Mason led the team in catches for first downs last year while Heap was third behind Boldin, and Flacco now has to find other players to go to when he needs to move the chains. Boldin will obviously be a big target, but the onus will be on young tight end Ed Dickson to fill the void left by Heap.
How It Will Play Out
NFL betting odds have the Ravens as a 2.5-point favorite at home against the Steelers, which sounds about right as six of the last nine meetings between the two have been decided by four points or less. In Baltimore, the Steelers are 4-1 SU and 2-2-1 ATS in their last five trips, with three games going over the posted total, and they always get up for a visit to Baltimore.
Look for the Steelers to open up the season with a win on the road against their biggest rivals, and third down could be the difference. Roethlisberger is familiar with his receivers while it may take Flacco some time to get used to playing without Mason and Heap, and when it comes to a meeting between two teams of similar abilities, small things like third-down conversions will make the difference. In a typically hard-hitting game, go with Pittsburgh away from home in your online betting picks.
Steelers Ravens Betting Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5