It wasn’t long ago that Ravens vs. Steelers on Sunday night would be considered appointment viewing. Now, amid injuries and inconsistency on both sides, this prime-time matchup profiles as a game that only an under bettor could love.
Bookmakers and bettors alike are expecting a snoozer in Baltimore, where the hosts are slim favorites over their bitter rivals with a total of 35 – set to be the third-lowest total of the entire season if it holds. Can either offense surprise in a key divisional spot, or is there value in fading an already low total?
Here’s how we’re betting Sunday night’s contest, which kicks off at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.
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Ravens vs. Steelers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) pick
Under 35 (-110 BetMGM)
Ravens vs. Steelers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) prediction and analysis
You don’t have to look back very far to get a preview of what Sunday’s contest might look like: these teams met just three weeks ago, when the Ravens eked out a 16-14 win in backup quarterback Tyler Huntley’s first start of the year.
On Friday, the Ravens ruled out starter Lamar Jackson (knee) for the fourth straight week, and coach John Harbaugh hinted that Huntley was in line to make his fourth start accordingly. So what, exactly, has changed since that previous meeting in Week 14?
Not a whole lot. Baltimore’s offense has stagnated without its former MVP, ranking dead last in points per game (11.5 PPG) since Jackson left early in a Week 13 win over the Broncos. Remarkably, this defense has picked up the slack during that stretch, allowing the NFL’s fewest points per game (11.3 PPG) and holding all four opponents to 14 or fewer points.
It’s been a similar story for the Steelers, who have rotated quarterbacks and relied on their stellar defense to get by. Pittsburgh has limited five straight opponents to 17 or fewer points to spark a surprising 4-1 run, though its offense has scored more field goals (10) than touchdowns (9) across those five games and needed more than 59 minutes to reach the end zone in last week’s 13-10 win over the Raiders.
That game marked the return of rookie starter Kenny Pickett, who played eight snaps against the Ravens in Week 14 before suffering a concussion that sidelined him the following two weeks. While his availability is a positive on paper, he did little to effect change for this offense last week and has nearly twice as many interceptions (9) as touchdowns (5) in 11 appearances.
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It all makes for an ideal under bet, which is often the case when these two teams face off. This AFC North rivalry has produced an under in four straight meetings with a 6-1-1 run to the under in their last eight meetings in Baltimore. And, of course, these teams combined for just 30 points in Week 14 – one of just 17 games this year with both teams scoring 16 or fewer points.
Six of those 17 games (35.3%) featured at least one of these two squads, and this alarmingly low total signals that another such contest is on the horizon. Games with a total below 42 are a stellar 43-27 to the under (61.4%), while those dealing at 37 or below are 7-4 to the under. The previous three lowest totals of the season all cashed to the under, so don’t let this paltry total spook you away from what should be an ol’ fashioned rock fight.
Ravens vs. Steelers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) odds (via BetMGM)
- Ravens -2 (-110), moneyline -130
- Steelers +2 (-110), moneyline +110
- O/U 35 (-110)
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