After another winning week at The Sports Geek, it’s time to it all over again for what should be a great Week 4 of NFL betting action. By now the bye weeks have begun, and you can really hone in on certain games. To kick things off this week, it’s a classic rivalry from the AFC North as the Ravens and the Steelers renew hostilities. This match-up has had many intriguing chapters over the years, and this will be yet another edition without Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Now, Mike Vick is forced to enter the fold and it’ll be very interesting to see how the much-maligned, yet talented quarterback fares against a solid Ravens defense. Baltimore enters a dismal 0-3 on the year and having already lost their heart and soul in Terrell Suggs, they know it’s time for a key road victory to salvage their season. It’s going to be a great start to the betting week with a key rivalry match-up, so read on below for a full game breakdown and the official pick for Steelers/Ravens.
Ravens vs. Steelers Betting Odds:
Baltimore Ravens -3 (-110)
@ Pittsburgh Steelers +3 (-110)
Over 44 (-105)
Under 44 (-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Pittsburgh knows they’ve gotten off to a good enough start that if they can stay afloat for the next 4-6 weeks, they’ll be poised for a playoff run upon Big Ben’s return. While Mike Vick has experienced some mixed results over the past few seasons, the now veteran QB knows he won’t be tasked with winning this game himself. The Steelers have a ton of weapons, particularly on offense, and truthfully it seems as if the betting market has slightly overreacted to the loss of Big Ben.
On offense, expect the likes of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell to step up huge in the absence of their star quarterback. The duo is likely the best WR-RB combo in the entire league and should be able to terrorize the Ravens’ defense regardless of who is under centre tomorrow night. And while it’s no secret that Baltimore does possess a fairly stingy run defense, Le’Veon Bell is versatile enough that he can definitely be a factor in the passing game via short-dump offs in the backfield. Where Pittsburgh does hold a decisive advantage will be through the air. The Ravens secondary has shown a real weakness in their secondary, especially last week when the mediocre Andy Dalton looked like the world’s greatest quarterback against them. With Jimmy Smith still injured, the Ravens are vulnerable there and look for both Brown and tight end Heath Miller to really do damage on the winless Ravens.
On the other side of the football, Pittsburgh has shown some early improvements on defense so far this year, but the Ravens and Joe Flacco can still be dangerous when given time. Unfortunately for Baltimore, they haven’t gotten much time with all of the pressure they’ve constantly been forced to endure. With James Hurst as Flacco’s new blindside protector, the Ravens are vulnerable on that side, and the Steelers have the personnel to most certainly exploit that. Both Jarvis Jones and James Harrison line-up on the right side of the defense and should be able to penetrate the line and disrupt the rhythm of Flacco. Harrison has yet to really make an impact this season, but the aging veteran lives for these games and should be primed for a big performance.
While it’s certainly tough to envision a talented Ravens squad going 0-4, this team is a shell of their former selves. Losing Terrell Suggs and Jimmy Smith has been crushing, and this team sorely lacks any real offensive playmakers. Mike Vick will take over for the Steelers and ensure he runs an effective and efficient offense that relies upon putting the ball in the hands of Bell and Brown. On defense, the Steelers will be buoyed by a rowdy home crowd and be able to apply consistent pressure to Flacco. Their run defense has been excellent so far, and Justin Forsett has been a nightmare early in 2015. Look for the Steelers to force Baltimore into undesirable situations, and expect Vick to do just enough to squeak out a late victory against their forever rivals.
PICK = Steelers +3 (-110)