Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens Pick, Odds & Analysis

by | Dec 30, 2022 | nfl

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (10-5 SU, 6-8-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, January 1, 8:20 PM EST
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
TV: NBC

Point Spread: Pit +3 / Balt -3 (Did you know that you could be betting on games at -105 instead of -110? Imagine how much money you would have saved last year! TONS! Be wise! Save money in 2023 and moving forward! Make the switch to reduced juice NFL betting at BetAnySports!)
Over/Under Total: 36

It will be an old-fashioned AFC North slugfest on Sunday Night in Baltimore. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be in town to take on the hometown Ravens. Baltimore is limping into the playoffs, while the Steelers must win out and have a lot of help to be playing past week 18. BOVADA.LV is making the Ravens 3-point favorites in this contest and setting the Over/Under at a paltry 36. Let’s buy a Steeler ticket and count on the Steelers to stay within the number and maybe even sneak out a win. Here are three reasons.

Pickett Is Playing Better

Kenny Pickett took over the starting role from Mitch Trubisky in week 5. He played like a rookie out of the gate but has turned the corner recently. Since week 12, he has started and finished three games, and Pittsburgh has won all 3. He’s completed 66% of his passes in that span, hooking up for two touchdowns against only one interception. Pickett is still a work in progress and is only averaging just over 6.1 yards per attempt, but he is at least giving the Steelers a competent quarterback that won’t make mistakes that costs his team the game. Fellow rookie WR George Pickens has also emerged to play a bigger part of the offense opposite of Diontae Johnson. The emergence of a competent passing game has kept defenses from loading up against the run, which has made the running game more effective. The Steelers have averaged 150 rushing yards per game since their bye if we throw out the week 14 game that Pickett was knocked out of against the Ravens. Pickett will have his chance to make his mark on this rivalry this week, but he will have his hands full with a very tough Raven defense.

The Raven defense was meandering through the season until the arrival of Roquan Smith in week 9. Smith was a good player on a bad defense for the Bears but has turned into a great player on a very good defense for the Ravens. Since week 9, Baltimore has only yielded more than 14 points in 1 game and is allowing an average of 10 points in the other six games. They had completely shut down opposing running games until the last two weeks when the Browns and Falcons both topped the century mark on the ground. Teams have been able to throw against the Ravens lately, including Mitch Trubisky racking up 276 passing yards in the week 14 loss in the Steel City. In true Trubisky form, Mitch also threw three interceptions to the Ravens, contributing to the Ravens’ 6th position in the league for defensive takeaways. I think Pickett will be able to pass the ball this week and get to the plus side of the field. We will then see if he can find the endzone at least a couple of times or just settle for field goals. Pittsburgh’s offense should do its part to win or at least cover this game.

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Baltimore’s Offense Is A Mess

Lamar Jackson hasn’t played since he left early in the week 13 game with the Broncos. The Ravens have averaged 11.5 points per game in the four games without Jackson but somehow have won 3 of those games. Backup QB Tyler Huntley has been playing though injuries himself and has not been as efficient as he was in 2021. Baltimore’s receiving corps wasn’t good all year, and now they are without Rashod Bateman and Devon Duvernay, who are both injured, leaving Demarcus Robinson as the only wide receiver on the roster with more than 20 catches this year, but he is averaging less than 10 yards per reception. Mark Andrews is still playing at a high level, but with no help, defenses can scheme to shut him down. The running attack has been improved as J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards get healthier, including 215 rushing yards in week 14 against the Steelers. It is unclear if Jackson will return, but if he does, he will not be 100%, so it is doubtful he is a huge upgrade over Huntley this week. As the Ravens have locked up a playoff spot, I expect one more week of Huntley behind center, which will not equal a lot of points.

The Steeler defense has put together back-to-back A+ performances coming into this game and have been stingy against the run most of the year. After allowing the Ravens to run for 215 in week 14, the Panthers (who ran for 300 yards last week) to only total 21 rushing yards, then limited the red-hot Josh Jacobs of the Raiders to 44 yards on 15 carries last week. Pittsburgh is 5th on the season, allowing only 4.0 yards per carry, and has only allowed seven rushing touchdowns all year. The Steelers can be beaten in the passing game, but the Ravens threw for only 94 yards in week 14, and I wouldn’t expect much more this week.

These Games Are Always Close

The last three times the Ravens and Steelers have clashed, the game has been decided by 3 points or less, including Baltimore’s 16-14 week 14 win. This game will be another in a long line of AFC North battles that is a 1-point game, and the team that is trailing will have the ball as the clock winds down with a chance to win the game. In this type of game, 3 points is like having a pot of gold. Over the second half of the season, with Pickett at QB, the Steelers are probably the better team. We are getting the better team plus 3 points with Pittsburgh in a game we expect to be a coin toss.

Take The Points With Pittsburgh

Let’s count on Kenny Pickett and Mike Tomlin to keep this game within a field goal or maybe sneak out a win. Play the Steelers +3. Place your NFL football bets for FREE this week by scoring a 100% real cash bonus up to $500 at the web’s oldest and most trusted online bookie: Everygame Sportsbook! Simply enter promo code PREDICTEM on their Special Offers page after making your first deposit and before placing your first bet and your balance will be automatically updated!