Rich Hribar and Raymond Summerlin bring you their best bets every Friday of the NFL season as well as a preview of Sunday Night Football. The preview is free, but the bets can only be found in the Rotoworld Season Pass. Don’t miss out on the action.
Rich: 7-6 season record (last week: 2-2)
Raymond: 10-5 season record (last week: 3-3)
All lines taken from the VI Consensus at VegasInsider.com Friday morning.
Sunday Night Football – Ravens @ Steelers (-3) – Total 50
Rich: Ravens at Steelers features one of the longest-running rivalries among head coaches as these teams have played each other 23 times under Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh including the postseason. It’s about as even of a rivalry as you can find, with the combined score over those 23 games favoring the Ravens 480-469. The Steelers are 12-11 straight up while the Ravens have an 11-10-2 advantage against the spread in those contests.
This will also mark the 11th time these two teams have met during prime time in the regular season. As we highlighted a week ago, playing under the lights has been lucrative for Pittsburgh. After last week’s win on Monday Night, the Steelers have now won 11 consecutive prime-time games with their last loss under the lights coming to these Ravens in Week 4 of the 2015 season. During that win streak, Pittsburgh is also 8-3 against the spread.
While that spells trouble for the Ravens’ chances to win this Sunday outright, there are some factors playing in their favor to take the three points. For one, the Steelers are a mess defensively, ranking 19th in defensive DVOA to begin the season. Second, they are just 6-8-1 against the spread coming off Monday Night under Mike Tomlin and, more importantly, are a home favorite coming off a short road win, which has yielded disastrous results against the spread the following week over a long-running span. Since 2008, home favorites off a small (1-3 points) road victory have covered just 41.9 percent of the time in 124 instances. Given that history and believing the Ravens actually have the better all-around team at the moment, I’m taking the Ravens and the points here in an expected close game.
Pick: Ravens +3
Ray: Like Rich, I think this is a good spot for the Ravens. They are a divisional underdog early in the season, a spot which we have played to success already this year, and the Steelers are at home following a Monday night game, a situation which has produced an 87-116-5 (42.9%) ATS record over the last 10 seasons.
The Ravens also might be a better team than or at worst even with the Steelers. Pittsburgh has struggled mightily on defense so far this season, especially against the pass. In recent years, that would not be much of a concern against Baltimore, but the Ravens’ passing attack has been competent bordering on good so far this season while Joe Flacco has played well in two of his three games including last week against Denver. With enough talent on defense to at least slow down the Steelers, Baltimore has what it takes to keep it close and perhaps even walk away with a win on Sunday night.
Pick: Ravens +3
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