15* Steelers/Ravens AFC North No-Brainer on Pittsburgh +8
Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore,
12/02/2012 16:15 EDT,
Score: 23 - 20
Point Spread: +8/-110 Pittsburgh
The Steelers simply need this win more as they are currently the No. 6 seed in the AFC if the season were to end today. Baltimore has some breathing room in the AFC North as it is three games clear of both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. It doesn’t want to lose this game, but it certainly can afford to.
While Big Ben is expected to miss this game, I don't believe it will make as big of a difference as this line is indicating. It was going to be either Ravens favored by 3 or 3.5 if he was going to play, and I don't think he's worth 4.5 to 5 points, especially hobbled the way he is.
There is good injury news for the Steelers heading into this one. Practicing fully again on Friday were wide receiver Antonio Brown (ankle), safety Troy Polamalu (calf), tackle Max Starks (back), and nose tackle Casey Hampton (illness). All four players are listed as probable and expected to play on Sunday.
This has been a very tightly-contested series, and there’s a good chance this one goes down to the wire as well. Six of the last eight meetings have been decided by exactly 3 points. Pittsburgh actually outplayed Baltimore without Big Ben in their first meeting. It outgained the Ravens 309-200 for the game, but a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown by Jacoby Jones was the difference in a 13-10 Ravens' victory.
Pittsburgh has the better defense in this one, which is why it will be able to keep this game close, and possibly pull off the upset. It ranks 1st in the league in total defense (257.2 yards/game), while the Ravens rank a woeful 24th in total defense (373.0 yards/game).
This play falls into a system that is 76-34 (69.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. It tells us to bet on road teams (PITTSBURGH) - revenging a loss against opponent, off a road loss.
The Steelers are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games following a S.U. loss. Pittsburgh is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Ravens are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 home games. The underdog is 7-3-2 ATS in the last 12 meetings. Bet the Steelers Sunday.