The Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) will do battle with the Baltimore Ravens (0-3) on Thursday Night Football to kick off the Week 4 NFL action. Vegas has the Steelers as three-point underdogs to the Ravens. Rarely is an 0-3 road team favored against a 2-1 home team, but following a serious injury to Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, that's the situation these AFC North rivals find themselves in heading into tonight's game.
Week 3 Recap
The Steelers got their second win of the season in St. Louis last Sunday, and for the second consecutive week we hit on both the money line and the spread. Antonio Brown over 106.5 yards receiving also cashed in, as Brown finished the game with 108 yards receiving on a whopping 11 catches.
The Steelers enter Thursday night's game with the Ravens on a two game win streak after defeating the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams in back-to-back weeks. Ben Roethlisberger suffered a bone bruise and damage to his MCL in St. Louis. The injury will keep him out of the lineup for at least four to six weeks.
The Ravens, meanwhile, have yet to win a game this season. Baltimore opened with three consecutive losses to the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals. John Harbaugh's squad will be desperate for a win at Heinz Field knowing a loss likely puts them out of the AFC playoff picture.
Steelers +125 ($10.00 wins $12.50)
Ravens -145 ($10.00 wins $6.90)
Losing Ben Roethlisberger was a big blow to the Steelers' offense. Michael Vick is an experienced NFL quarterback, but he can't pick a defense apart like Roethlisberger. He just doesn't have the accuracy.
The Ravens have also sustained some injuries, losing linebacker Terrell Suggs for the year to a torn achilles.
Baltimore has major issues, including a lack of explosive players on offense. Joe Flacco's biggest weapon is 36-year-old Steve Smith Sr. Rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman has yet to play this season while dealing with a nagging knee injury, and running back Justin Forsett, who averaged 5.4 YPC last season, is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry in 2015.
The Steelers are going to simplify the offense for Vick and rely heavily on Le'Veon Bell and the defense to get the job done at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh has enough weapons in Bell, Brown and Heath Miller to move the ball and outscore Baltimore at home.
*Facts of note:
Pittsburgh is 6-2 straight up in its last 8 games
Pittsburgh is 3-0 straight up in its last 3 games as a home dog
Baltimore is 1-4 straight up in its last 5 games
Baltimore is 1-4 straight up in its last 5 road games
Spread Season Record ATS: 2-0-1
Steelers +3 (-115) ($10.00 wins $8.70)
Ravens -3 (-105) ($10.00 wins $9.52)
The line opened at Ravens -2, but climbed to Ravens -3 as the week progressed. It's clear Vegas has little respect for the Steelers without Roethlisberger, but Pittsburgh has as much, if not more talent than Baltimore at almost every position, and will be playing at home in front of a raucous crowd at Heinz Field.
I don't see Flacco, Forsett and Smith Sr. being enough against an improving and widely underrated Steelers' defense.
Give me the home dog.
*Facts of note:
Baltimore is 2-6 against the spread in its last 8 games
Pittsburgh is 6-2 against the spread in its last 8 games at home
44 (-110) ($10.00 wins $9.09)
The Steelers offense won't score as many points without Roethlisberger, and the Ravens lack the playmakers to put up a lot of points on the road against this Pittsburgh defense.
*Facts of note:
The total has gone under in 5 of Pittsburgh's last 7 games
Longest touchdown of the game over 41.5 yards -115 ($10.00 wins $8.70)
Heath Miller over 36.5 yards receiving -115 ($10.00 wins $8.70)
The Long Shot
Le'Veon Bell to have 25 or more rushing attempts +750 ($10.00 wins $75.00)
Steelers 24, Ravens 17