The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a bye as they welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to town in a battle for the AFC North (1pm ET Sunday; TV: live on CBS).
The Steelers are the only undefeated team remaining entering week 8 of the NFL season. They were able to take down the Tennessee Titans, giving them their first loss of the season. Titans’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 45-yard field goal that would have forced overtime giving the Steelers their sixth win on the season with a 27-24 victory. This was one of the more exciting games of the week in which was an insane slate of games. It was one of six games that were decided by one score. We saw the Sunday Night Football game go to overtime with the Cardinals ultimately besting the Seahawks to hand them their first loss of the season.
The Ravens were clear favorites with the online sportsbook betting sites for USA players to win the AFC North, but currently sit in second place behind the undefeated Steelers. Their only loss on the season came at the hands of the Chiefs. Read on for our Steelers vs Ravens predictions, full preview and Sunday NFL game betting picks.
Strength on Strength Battle
This is another battle of strength on strength. We saw this last week when the Steelers rush defense was able to limit a strong Titans’ run game to 82 yards in the game. They held Derrick Henry to 75 yards rushing, which was his second lowest total of the season. This week we see the Steelers, who are ranked second in yards allowed per game (68.8), versus the Ravens, who are ranked first in rushing yards gained per game (164.3). Last week as we predicted we saw the dominant run defense win out and limit the leading rusher in the NFL. Will the Steelers be able to clamp down again?
This is a different rushing attack with the Ravens’ star quarterback, Lamar Jackson, leading the way. The third-year QB leads the team in rushing yards, average yards per carry, is tied for first in attempts, and also tied for first in rushing touchdowns. Jackson is an entirely different challenge than Derrick Henry was last week. He is one of the more dynamic players in the NFL and can break any play for a score. This will be quite the challenge, but if anyone is up for the task it is the Steelers and their stout defense.
Jackson and the Ravens have struggled through the air so expect the Steelers to load up to defend the run and make Jackson and the Ravens beat them in the passing game. The Ravens rank 31st in the NFL in passing yards per game with 177.8. Jackson ranks 27th in the league with only 1,135 passing yards on the season thus far. The Ravens have the weapons in the passing game, but they haven’t been able to put it all together yet. This won’t be the week to get right against a Steelers secondary that has been fairly strong. They rank 6th in the NFL and give up an average of 217.5 passing yards per game. The Steelers defense against the Ravens offense is one of the bigger mismatches of the game. The Steelers matchup well on the ground and should be able to dominate a lackluster passing attack.
Can Steelers’ offense continue to roll against strong Baltimore defense?
The Ravens defense will likely need to keep them in the game. As discussed in this preview, we see the Steelers’ defense being able to hold their own. Our biggest concern is the loss of starting linebacker and leader Devin Bush. This did not seem to have too much of a negative impact last week, but we will see if that is the case again. The Steelers offense has been strong so far this season. The biggest question of this matchup is if this will continue. The Steelers rank 6th in the NFL in points per game (30.5), but the Ravens rank 1st only allowing 17.3 points per game. The Steelers rank 11th in rushing yards per game (129.7) and the Ravens defense ranks 10th only allowing an average of 109.0 yards on the ground per game. This is quite an even matchup across the board.
Our Preview’s Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
USAbetting is going to be rolling with the road underdog Steelers getting 3.5 0r 4 points. This line has been bet down after opening Pittsburgh +5.5 despite the public being all over the Steelers. This signifies some sharp money is coming in on the Ravens. 62% of bets and 80% of the money is currently on the Steelers. We are going to side with the public on this one despite the Ravens coming off a bye.
One trend that leans towards the Ravens is head coach John Harbaugh’s success with an extra week of preparation and rest. He is 9-3 straight up coming off a bye. We still think this is a bit too high of a line for a divisional game that we think will be lower scoring. We are also going to be taking the under 46.5 total points being notched. We see this as a close and physical game that will lend to the under and the underdog. We ultimately think Baltimore will pull out a close one at home. We see this as a 21-20 Ravens win in what should be an exciting game. So to summarize, the best betting options and the culmination of our Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens predictions is: