Almost a full week after it was originally scheduled to take place, the Ravens and Steelers are set to face-off in an incredibly rare Wednesday afternoon NFL matchup. In a week where the Ravens were ravaged by COVID-19, a shell of their team will be taking the field in Pittsburgh.
The most notable player who will be sidelined due to COVID-19 is reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. Robert Griffin III, the number two overall pick in the 2012 draft, will be starting behind center.
Ravens vs Steelers Spread and Total
The Ravens were originally set as 3.5 point underdogs ahead of their Thanksgiving night matchup, but with Lamar Jackson being ruled out the line has moved seven points to +10.5 at Bovada.
The total has also dropped since the news of Jackson being ruled out. It was originally set at 43.5 but has now dropped three points down to 40.5 at Bovada.
See Bovada for updated lines and odds.
Ravens Might Find Success on the Ground
While RG3 clearly doesn’t have the natural ability as Lamar Jackson, it may not affect the Ravens offense as much as you may think. 46.67% of the Ravens offensive yards so far this season have come on the ground, which is the highest rate in the NFL. While the pass game may not be as successful with RG3 taking the snaps, he can still run the ball and be effective in the Ravens offense. In his Week 17 start in 2019, he ran for 50 yards on 8 carries for an average of 6.25 yards per carry.
Meanwhile, the Steelers ability to stop the run is the weak point of their defense. They rank 17th in the NFL in opponent yards per carry, allowing 4.3 yards per rush. This was evident in their Week 8 matchup when the Ravens, despite losing the game, gained 263 yards on the ground. Don’t be surprised if they find similar success on Tuesday night.
Steelers Need to get Offense Going
Despite being 10-0 and the only remaining undefeated team, the Steelers offense sits in the bottom half of the league in most statistics. They rank 24th in yards per offensive play, 19th in punts per offensive score, and 27th in yards per carry.
While their defense is certainly their strength, they do admittedly have a few bright spots on offense including third down conversion percentage (6th in NFL) and Red Zone TD scoring percentage (7th in NFL.).
They will have their hands full going up against a top 10 defense in the Ravens.
Pick: Ravens +10.5
Despite having their backup QB getting the start in this rivalry game, 10.5 points may be too much in what looks like a statistically even matchup. The Ravens lost to the Steelers in Week 8 but out-gained them offensively accumulating 457 yards to Pittsburgh’s 221 yards.
While everyone knows about how good the Steelers defense is, the Ravens defense isn’t far behind. They rank 8th in opponent yards per game and 3rd in opponent points per game.
If you’re looking to bet on the total, the Under has to be the play. This game features two of the top three scoring defenses and the weather forecast is calling for snow which always helps an under bet.