The Baltimore Ravens blew their first shot against the North in Week 1 but they’ve got another chance tonight as the Pittsburgh Steelers roll in for a primetime brawl
NFL odds makers are giving Baltimore the token three-point line for home field and since 2008, John Harbaugh has a 14-5 record vs. the division but three of those five losses were to the Steelers. Last year Baltimore held off a late charge from their rival to win 22-20 on a Week 13 Thursday nighter and Bernard Pierce led the team in rushing with 35 yards on nine carries, three more than Ray Rice. Pierce will be in the lineup tonight but look for Justin Forsett to get the start. Forsett carried for 70 yards and a score during last week’s loss to Cinci and for now, he’s their best answer the dilemma caused from Rice’s suspension/dismissal. The total on tonight’s game is O/U 44.5 and we’ve got an Over/Under play to kick start the Week 2 round of betting.
WEEK 2 PICKS – THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Pittsburgh powered past the Browns in Week 1 and dating back to the second-half of last season, these Steelers have put together a nice 7-2 run straight-up and against the number (SU/ATS). Pitt has scored 20 points or more in all nine of those games and they qualify for an early season road dog system that has cashed at a 68-percent clip since 2006 (38-18-4 ATS). The only two Thursday games in that sample stayed under by a touchdown (7.5 points avg) and when the total is 43 points or greater, these midweek divisional games are just 4-13 O/U with a home favorite. See for yourself at sportsdatabase.com:
SDQL: day = Thursday and DIV and HF and total >= 43
NFL PRIMETIME PICKS
Pittsburgh is bound to score a lot of points this year and they’ll likely give up their fair share, too, but on short rest these teams create a perfect storm for a lower scoring, defensive game. Dick LeBeau knows Joe Flacco’s tendencies and they held the Ravens to five field goals in their last visit. Harbaugh is a solid game planner for familiar foes and his record when hosting rivals in the first game of the season speaks for itself (7-1 SU/ATS as a fave of -7 points or less with 2 overs and 6 unders). The Ravens D has had to make adjustments since their Super Bowl win and while they may never be the Ravens of old, this group will still make life hard on opponent QBs.
Pick: Take the UNDER 44.5 points