By Charles Jay
The Baltimore Ravens are a game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North, but if they can win on Sunday afternoon, they will have the advantage of the tie-breaker, because they will have achieved a season sweep. These teams will clash at 4:30 PM ET at Heinz Field, and if you are a BetAnySports customer, you are in luck, because even after the opening kickoff, you can continue your action utilizing the state-of-the-art software available through Live Betting Ultra.
Baltimore has been known to be double-tough against the run, allowing only 3.5 yards per carry, but they are obviously going up against a rather irresistible force in Le’Veon Bell, who has 1146 yards on the ground. That’s been the perfect recipe to open things up for Ben Roethlisberger, who has thrown 26 touchdown passes and been sacked only 17 times. The fact that he doesn’t have to run for his life, as he has done in previous seasons, is a real boost. The guy who will have a lot of responsibility on Sunday is Alejandro Villanueva, the former West Point cadet who will have to deal with Terrell Suggs for much of the game. Suggs, it should be noted, has eight of Baltimore’s 30 sacks.
Baltimore is 8-6 straight-up and 6-8 against the football pointspread, while Pittsburgh is a game ahead of them at 9-5, both straight-up and ATS.
In the BetAnySports odds upon which we will make our NFL betting picks on Sunday, the Steelers are favored:
Pittsburgh Steelers -6
Baltimore Ravens +6
Over 44.5 points -110
Under 44.5 points -110
Can Baltimore run the football? Well, we’ll see if that is able to happen with the combination of Terrence West and Kenneth Dixon, but this team has been rather mediocre in that department this season, and take note that Pittsburgh’s “D” is fifth in the league, allowing only 89.1 yards per game on the ground. These Steelers, who had a total of 69 yards over the first three quarters in the first meeting, yet still out-gained Baltimore by a 277-274 margin, have given up only 60 points over the last five games. Not surprisingly, all those five games have been victories.
The Ravens’ top corner, Jimmy Smith, will not be able to play, as he has an ankle injury. Maybe that makes it easier for Antonio Brown, who was once again putting up monster numbers (96 receptions, 1188 yards).
BetAnySports patrons also know that the Steelers could have an advantage in the red zone, because only two teams in the league have done a better job preventing opponents from getting into the end zone in those situations. At the same time, Pittsburgh could be going without tight end LaDarius Green, who is doubtful for this game with concussion symptoms.
Baltimore’s defense has allowed fewer yards per drive than anyone in the NFL, and they have forced their opponents to punt 50.3% of the time, which is second-best. But on offense, they are often stopped short; only the Houston Texans went into this week’s games with a worse ratio of touchdowns to interceptions on drives. That can be the difference in this meeting, along with Pittsburgh’s penchant for scoring points in the fourth quarter (7.9 per game).
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