Friday, October 31, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 9: Ravens Vs. Steelers

Baltimore Ravens Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: BAL PK (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

In Week 8 I was on the Colts -3 and felt really good about it. I clearly wasn't the only one because money poured in on them all week up until kickoff, and the line finally closed at -4.5. That line move wasn't just an endorsement of Indy, but it was just as much a disrespectful fade of the Steelers.

So now that Big Ben put up one of the best games in recent memory, has the general consensus shifted on Pittsburgh?

Not if you look at the early line movement for Week 9. In the look-ahead the Steelers were listed as -1 point favorites for this matchup. After Week 8 action it reopened at -1.5. Within 24 hours it has been bet down to a 'pick em'.  This, despite 57% of the bets that are coming in on the home team.

Bottom Line

I need to see more out of Pittsburgh before I change my mind about them, but they should be more competitive in this game than they were when the two met earlier this season. It also helps a lot that Jimmy Smith will be out for this game. As good as the Ravens defense has been, they've given up a lot of big plays in the air. At the same time, Big Ben is 0 for 7 on passes that have gone 40+ yards this year. You have to think that something has to give in that area one way or another.

On the flip side, it's not all sunshine and rainbows for Pittsburgh's defense despite their big win. It was nice of their offense to carry the day, but they had to put up an enormous amount of points to secure the win. They still put a defense on the field that is poor against the pass and equally bad sacking the quarterback. That's a terrible combination if you hope to win on a consistent basis in this league.

My primary concern with Baltimore is still Joe Flacco. Can he take advantage of the mismatches in this one? He's been more good than bad this year, but you never really know what you're going to get from him in any given game.

That said, at the end of the day, this Ravens team is still the more well-rounded of the two, and there's no reason to believe they can't walk away from this game with a win. I wouldn't blame anyone for taking a pass on this one, but I'm rolling with what I've seen all year instead of what I saw last week.

NFL Pick: BAL PK.

Read moreWeek 9 picks.