Steelers vs. Ravens Week 8 Spread Pick
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (5-1 SU, 3-3 ATS)
Week 8 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 1, 2020 at 1PM EDT
Where: MT&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
Point Spread: PIT +3.5/BAL -3.5 (Intertops - 200% Bonus! Deposit $25 and they’ll give you a FREE $50 bet! Must use bonus code ROOKIE200 after deposting)
Over/Under Total: 47
The Pittsburgh Steelers come to MT&T Stadium for a massive AFC North showdown with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. In a week full of big games, this might be the Big Kahuna, with the unbeaten Steelers in what looks like a tough spot with the 5-1 defending division kingpin Ravens. This game could have major consequences, as both looms as two of the top three AFC contenders this season heading into week eight. The Steelers were able to hold off the previously-unbeaten Titans last week, winning 27-24 on the road. Baltimore had last week off, which followed a tight win over Philly, their third win in a row.
The Weariness Factor
I would imagine Baltimore backers are at least in-tune with the dichotomy of each team in terms of energy potential. Baltimore had last week off while the Steelers were battling it out with Tennessee, struggling horribly in the second half and needing some good fortune to avoid what would have been a gigantic comeback-win for the Titans. With a 27-7 lead well into the third quarter, the wheels starting falling off. The offense looked erratic, and the defense faded considerably. The “D” managed to get it together late and save the win.
The prior week, the Steelers smacked Cleveland around in an easy win, but other than that, Pittsburgh’s road to 6-0 hasn’t been a picnic, with all their other games being struggles that were really hard-hitting and punishing battles. They’ve been really fortunate from an injury standpoint. But the fatigue was palpable in the second half last week. And consecutive road games against the undefeated Titans and now the Ravens is a lot to ask. Then again, I might not be the only one who bet against the Steelers this season, assuming they were due to hit a wall, and the last thing you want to do at the end of the season is to look back and recall how much money you lost questioning a really good team.
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Challenges for Baltimore
Most everything looks in order on the Ravens’ side of things, at least comparably dominant to the team that took over this division last season, while also not really setting the world on fire as they did in 2019. Pittsburgh is the part of the equation that has changed. Last season, the Ravens got Pittsburgh Light, winning both games, with the one in Pittsburgh still a very close came even without Ben Roethlisberger. And he now returns to face a Baltimore team he didn’t face last season that is a better team than what he last saw in 2018. But the same applies to Pittsburgh, who finds themselves now leading the division.
Having covered just one spread since September 20, the Ravens haven’t been blowing teams out like last season. The first two weeks looked routine enough, but a conclusive home-loss to the Chiefs, a tepid win over Washington, and their near pre-bye collapse to the Eagles have them looking a bit suspect in spots. There is only so much you can say at 5-1, and with their reputation, there has been some pretty fat spreads for them to cover. But also, maybe Lamar Jackson’s aerial game has taken a small step back this season. Marquise Brown and TE Mark Andrews have been productive, but overall, it’s been a little lukewarm. Jackson’s running numbers are also a bit down, with others getting touches like Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and rookie JK Dobbins. It’s just that Jackson seems a little more-subdued over the last month or so.
If Baltimore is, in fact, a bit diminished on offense, that’s bad news against the top-ranked Steelers’ defense. Baltimore is the top-ranked rushing offense in the league, going against a defense that is also among the best in repelling the run with that dominant front. And their pass-defense doesn’t lag too far behind. The Steelers have playmakers all across this field, and Jackson and Company might be tested more than they have all season on Sunday.
Can Pittsburgh Offense Deliver?
With three picks, Big Ben had his worst game of the season last week and still beat an unbeaten team on the road. But a similar level of inaccuracy this week would be costly against an opportunistic Baltimore defense and guys like Marcus Peters. And that Baltimore defensive-front is pretty intense, even for a dynamic O-line like Pittsburgh’s. While their dominance has perhaps waned some on the Baltimore defense, other than the loss to KC and that shaky second half against the Eagles, they’ve been pretty solid. Troubling sequences aside, their 17.3-point allowance per game ranks first in the NFL.
The Steelers with Roethlisberger are a team with a future. Last season without him, success was elusive, and they’re now unbeaten, so there’s only so much one can really say. At a tick over 30 points per game, they’ve been pretty good from a bottom-line standpoint, but sometimes, they labor. James Conner is an asset at running back. They have that really good line. But the main problem is the aerial game, where a once-thriving Steelers passing-game is looking for a cast to form. JuJu Smith-Schuster’s takeover of the number-one receiver role has been somewhat of a disaster. And while dangerous guys produce big in different games, like receivers Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, James Washington, and tight end Eric Ebron, getting a full comprehensive performance out of their passing-game as a whole has been tough.
Lay the Points
Again, picking against the Steelers, by in large, hasn’t worked this season. In fact, they do appear to be a team with a chip on their shoulder, trying to atone for the failings of the past two seasons. I just see a matchup of this magnitude coming at the wrong time for Pittsburgh, who might be sagging slightly and a bit worn-out for their second daunting road-test in as many weeks. I’m taking the Ravens in this one.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Baltimore Ravens minus 3.5 points. Bet your Pit/Bal pick FREE by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at one of the web’s best NFL betting sites: MyBookie!