Betting on the NFL: Week 9 2011 Ravens vs. Steelers Game

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Betting on the NFL:  Week 9 2011 Ravens vs. Steelers Game

For those of you betting on the NFL during 2011 Week 9, the Ravens vs. Steelers game is probably atop the list, whether it be the spread, total or in-progress live wagering, which will be available for this game. Line & Total: Pittsburgh -3.5 & 42

Opening Line & Total: Steelers -3.5 & 44

Pittsburgh is playing its best football of the season, and just in time to host arch-rival Baltimore on Sunday night.

A week after finally topping Tom Brady and the Patriots, the Steelers are looking to exact a little revenge after turning it over seven times in a season-opening, 35-7 loss in Baltimore. Previously, eight of the past nine meetings between the teams had been decided by seven points or less. The Ravens have not been the same team on the road this year though, where they were hammered in Tennessee and stunned as double-digit favorites in Jacksonville (they also pounded the Rams in St. Louis). QB Joe Flacco was particularly awful in those two road losses, and he has a career 65.3 passer rating in five career games at Pittsburgh. After a slow start against Arizona last week, he played better operating exclusively out of the shotgun in the second half. But the Steelers will continue to make him uncomfortable in the pocket and will counter on offense with their red-hot QB Ben Roethlisberger to lead them to the victory.

Roethlisberger has thrown 13 TD and 4 INT since tossing three picks in the season-opening 35-7 defeat at Baltimore. He has been up-and-down in his career in this series, going 7-4 with a 57.5% completion rate, 191 passing YPG, 16 TD and 11 INT in 11 lifetime games against the Ravens. Considering Baltimore has held four of its past five opponents to under 140 passing yards, Roethlisberger certainly has his work cut out for him. Pittsburgh’s running game has also stalled a bit in the past two weeks, gaining just 189 yards on 51 carries (3.7 YPC). Top RB Rashard Mendenhall has found little room to run in the past four meetings against Baltimore, rushing for a total of 205 yards on 2.8 YPC. Mendenhall is coming off a solid 13-carry, 70-yard performance against New England though. The Steelers could get WR Hines Ward back for this game after Ward missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.

The Pittsburgh defense is seriously hurting with its linebacker corps. LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) will not play Sunday and James Harrison (eye) also remains out of the lineup, while LBs James Farrior (calf) and Jason Worilds (quad) are listed as questionable. But the Steelers secondary has been tremendous all season, helping the team lead the NFL in passing defense (172 YPG). Pittsburgh’s rushing defense is allowing only 99 YPG, good for eighth in the NFL. Its past two opponents (Arizona and New England) combined for just 116 yards on 31 carries (3.7 YPC).

Flacco’s accuracy has been a problem this year, as he is completing just 53.8% of his passes. But he is coming off a season-high 60.8% completions against Arizona. He also threw three touchdowns in the Week 1 win over Pittsburgh. The key to this game will be the efficiency of Ray Rice. He is having a tremendous season with 862 yards from scrimmage and 7 TD, but he hasn’t rushed the ball with great efficiency over the past four weeks, gaining 258 yards on 74 carries (3.5 YPC). In his six career games against the Steelers, Rice has 538 total yards and 4.5 YPC, but only two total touchdowns.

Baltimore’s defense has been consistently excellent all season, ranking third in the NFL in both passing (174 YPG) and rushing (89 YPG). The Ravens held their past two opponents (Jacksonville and Arizona) to 171 passing yards on 41 attempts (4.17 YPA).

- Carrie Stroup, Senior Reporter

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