Grab your mouth-guard and buckle your chinstrap: the Ravens and Steelers are about to meet in the opening game of this weekend’s NFL Divisional Round Playoffs.
If you’ve been living in outer space for the last decade or so, what you have to look forward to Saturday afternoon is two of the most physical and hard-hitting defenses around; hence the low Over-Under of 37 points.
These AFC rivals already met twice this season with the Ravens winning the first game in Pittsburgh 17-14. Then in early December the Steelers won 13-10.
It isn’t a shocker that both of those games were decided by exactly three points. As a matter of fact, each of their last four meetings were decided by three points. No wonder Vegas has Ravens-Steelers line at three points.
Don’t expect the Ravens to have much success running the ball versus Troy Polumalu and the rest of the Steelers’ defense. Ravens’ leading rusher Ray Rice’s two worst games this season came against Pittsburgh; he rushed for 52 yards combined in their two games.
Third year quarterback Joe Flacco did have some decent success versus the Steelers secondary which ranked 12th in the NFL, giving up 214 passing yards per game. Flacco surpassed that number in each game; passing for 256 yards, 1 TD and 1 Int in their first game, then 266 yard, 1 TD and 0 Int in their second game.
Led by Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs, Baltimore’s defense is on top of their game right now. Over the last three weeks, they surrendered a grand total of 24 points. That includes seven points last week against a solid Kansas City Chiefs offense. Surprising that the majority of Sportsbook.com’s Ravens/Steelers over-under bettors are backing the Over.
Baltimore’s pass defense has been particularly dominant over the last month. Opposing quarterbacks tallied 126, 131, 159 and 60 yards passing in their last four games. By the way, Ben Roethlisberger was responsible for the 126 yard performance.
When the Ravens are a small underdog, they are usually a solid bet. In their last 10 games as a dog of three points or less, they are 8-2 against the spread.
As mentioned above, these teams more often than not, are involved in a close game; this one will be no different. There is too much experience on the Ravens defense to let this one slip away. As long as this number doesn’t slip under three (which it shouldn’t), take the underdog Ravens and Sportsbook.com. Also, if you are making to make a bigger score, a shot at the Ravens money line (+155) has value too.