Ravens vs. Steelers Pick – Week 5 Predictions
Baltimore Ravens (2-2SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, October 6, 1:00 EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Point Spread: Balt -3.5 / Pitt +3.5
Over/Under Total: 44.5
The Baltimore Ravens invade Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field for a Week 5 AFC North battle. 5Dimes has made Baltimore 3 point road favorites, but the play is to take the Home dog Steelers in this division rivalry. Here is the handicap.
The Ravens Offense Isn’t Flying So High.
Baltimore was one of the most challenging teams to figure out coming into the season. Most pundits felt quarterback Lamar Jackson would struggle to step forward as an NFL passer, but after lighting up the Dolphins and Cardinals in the first two weeks of the season, there was hardly any room left on the Ravens bandwagon. However, the Ravens have fallen back to earth in the last two weeks, being blown out by the Chiefs on the road and then by the Browns at home last week. The offensive numbers have been okay in the previous two weeks, but that is primarily due to some garbage time production. The offense has not been able to convert 3rd downs when it was critical to keep drives going, and Jackson has not been as good of a passer as he showed against Miami and Arizona. Going into a hostile environment in Steel City against a team whose season is on the line is not the equation for the offense to get right. The formula for defenses coming into the season was to make Jackson win games as a passer, and that will be Pittsburgh’s strategy this week. I expect to see the Jackson we have seen the last two weeks, not the one we saw against the Dolphins.
Pittsburgh’s defense has been toasted most of this season and must play better this week. There is a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball for the Steelers, But they haven’t fully gelled in 2019. Their team speed has been upgraded with first-round linebacker Devin Bush and recently acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick. This gives defensive coordinator Keith Butler the tools to combat Baltimore’s running game. Pittsburgh’s defense is allowing 5.4 yards per play, and they played their best game of the season on Monday night against the Bengals – sacking Andy Dalton 8 times. The defense got right against a bad Bengal offense, and I expect the trend to continue this week against the Ravens.
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Mason Rudolph and the Steeler Offense Can Be Successful Against Baltimore
Rudolph was thrown into action in week 2 when Big Ben’s elbow knocked him out. Rudolph struggled in his relief work and then again in week three against the 49ers. But he started to show some improvement last week against Cincy, thanks primarily to a better performance by the offensive line. Rudolph had time to work against a weak Bengal pass rush and connected on 85% of his passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns. James Conner answered the call making a significant contribution in the passing game, and there was finally some production from the Steeler #2 receiver, with Diontae Johnson catching all 6 of his targets for 77 yards including a 43-yard score. This should start to take some pressure off of JuJu Smith-Schuster. The running game continued to struggle and will look to get on track this week. The Steeler offense is showing some life and should be able to match last week’s performance against Baltimore.
The Ravens defense is not what it was in the past. They are dead last in the league in yards per play allowed at 7.0. They have allowed over 500 yards in each of their last two games, including last week against a Browns squad that has a bottom-five offensive line. Baltimore managed to sack Baker Mayfield only once in 33 drop backs and Cleveland converted 50% of their 3rd and 4th down attempts. Pittsburgh’s O-line was considered a top 5 unit coming into the year and should be able to win the line of scrimmage in this contest. I look for Pittsburgh to have their best offensive performance of the year this week against the Ravens.
There Is Line Value on the Steelers
The winner of this game will be tied for first place in the AFC North if the Browns lose on Monday night. The two teams that Baltimore has beaten this year were Miami and Arizona – the two worst teams in the league. The Ravens were not competitive with the Chiefs – which we can look past, but they were outplayed by a middle of the road Cleveland team at home. Pittsburgh has not performed any better, but if the schedules were flipped, they would have at least two wins even with Rudolph under center. Pittsburgh has a better defense and strong home-field advantage. The line implies Baltimore would be 9 point favorites if this game were in Baltimore, which is crazy for a team allowing 7 yards per play. After the strong Monday performance, I would have expected the line being close to pick-em in Pittsburgh, so there is value on the Black and Gold.
Take the Steelers with the 3.5 Points
In this division rivalry game, getting more than a field goal with the home team is a rarity. Take the points and ride with the home dog Steelers. Based on recent history, this game will likely be close. The best way to bet games like this is to insert it into a multi-game teaser. You can move the line up to 19 points in NFL games using monster teasers at 5Dimes! They also offer -105 discounted odds on ALL sides and totals! Click here to sign up and start betting smarter!
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