The finale of Thanksgiving Day’s three-course gridiron meal is set to wrap in Baltimore where the division rival Steelers and Ravens will collide for the second time this season. Pittsburgh enters this Week 13 tilt red hot having scored wins in each of its L/3 games after registering their second road win of the season in Cleveland, while the Ravens enter having won two of their L/3 after taking the screws to the Jets at home last week.
Baltimore currently checks in as a 3-point favorite for this match-up between hated AFC North rivals with the ‘total’ lined at 40.5-points.
OPEN: RAVENS -2.5 | CURRENT: RAVENS -3 | O/U: 40
1. Why the RAVENS will cover the spread: With the Ravens suffering so much turnover this past off-season due to players retiring or signing more lucrative deals on other teams, it’s really come as no surprise to see the defending Super Bowl champs struggle over the course of their first 11 games played. However, the Ravens are yet to be blown off the gridiron since their season opener at Denver with their five losses prior to that game coming by an average of just 3.4 PPG.
In other words, Baltimore has been in every one of its games played to date, and with the pointspread on this game only covering home field advantage, they could accidentally cover the number so long as they just win the game. Baltimore has also won four of its five home games both SU & ATS to date.
2. Why the STEELERS will cover the spread: The Steelers have found a way to topple their most hated rival in each of the L/2 skirmishes, which includes the 19-16 last second win at Baltimore back in Week 7. The pair of wins moved Coach Tomlin’s troops to 7-3-2 ATS in the team’s L/12 overall meetings, and they just so happen to have covered the closing number in four of their L/5 trips to M&T Bank Stadium.
RB Le’Veon Bell had one of the best outings of his rookie campaign vs. the Ravens in rushing for a total of 93 yards at 4.9 YPC, and if he can achieve that same type of success in this one, it will better allow for Big Ben to connect downfield for big strikes with Antonio Brown and company.
3. Total Talk: When you think of the Steelers and Ravens, you immediately think defense. That’s once again been the case in 2013 with both teams a combined 14-8 to the ‘under’ with each unit ranked amongst the Top 15 scoring defenses. Since it allowed the Patriots to drop 55 points on it a month ago, the Steelers have conceded 10, 27, and 11 points each of the L/3 weeks. As for Baltimore, it’s conceded 20 points or less four of the L/6 times it took to the gridiron.
The Steelers have played to low scorers in four of their six games played away from Heinz Field, while the Ravens have played to the ‘under’ in all five of their home games.
4. Betting Trends for STEELERS/RAVENS: Doesn’t it just look so perfect to blindly back the Ravens and the Under in this one? I mean come on, the Steelers protected their turf in a low scorer in the first go round, so it only makes perfect sense that the Ravens will return the favor on Thanksgiving eve. But I see this one playing out just a bit differently. I haven’t been a fan of the Ravens all season long. They’ve just lacked that “it” factor. Can’t stand Flacco, and Rice has been nothing short of the biggest disappointments in fantasy.
Pittsburgh got out to a wretched start to its campaign, but Big Ben has this squad on the up and up right now and he and Brown are in one heck of a groove. Look for that combo to make some noise in this one, and for the Steelers to hand the Ravens a backbreaking blow by going into M&T and sweeping the season series – Gobble Gobble!!!
Pittsburgh 24 – Baltimore 17