Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens Betting Preview – Week 1 2011

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens Betting

Carrie Stroup here with your Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens betting preview for Week 1 of the new 2011 NFL Season.  Remember to take part in the biggest NFL survivor pool with massive cash prizes at Sportsbook.com here.  Let’s get started…. 

Sportsbook.com Line & Total: Baltimore -1.5 & 36

Opening Line & Total: Balt -2.5 & 39

The NFL’s nastiest rivalry resumes early this year, as Baltimore hosts Pittsburgh in a Week 1 showdown. Eight of the past nine meetings between the teams have been decided by seven points or less, and five were decided by a field goal.

Last season, the Steelers took two of three from Baltimore, including both games that QB Ben Roethlisberger played in. Roethlisberger has won five in a row SU and four of five ATS against the Ravens.

The Ravens underwent major some changes over the offseason. Gone are long-time franchise cornerstones WR Derrick Mason, TE Todd Heap, FB Le’Ron McClain, RB Willis McGahee and NT Kelly Gregg.

The Ravens’ running game should improve with a healthy RB Ray Rice and newly-acquired Ricky Williams running behind FB Vonta Leach, who paved the way for Arian Foster’s monster season in Houston last year. But running the ball will be a challenge against Pittsburgh, who is consistently among the league’s elite run defenses.

Baltimore swung a trade for WR Lee Evans from Buffalo, adding a much-needed deep threat for QB Joe Flacco. He should be an upgrade across from Anquan Boldin. But pass protection is going to be an issue, especially if LT Michael Oher doesn’t make major strides this year. Oher was penalty-prone and overmatched a year ago. His poor play is a big reason why the Steelers sacked Flacco 10 times and had constant pressure on him in their three meetings.

Defensively, the Ravens addressed their struggling secondary by drafting talented, but troubled, CB Jimmy Smith. They’ll turn to second-year space eater Terrence Cody to replace Gregg alongside Haloti Ngata. Overall, this should be a great unit against the run but shaky against the pass, even with a All-Pro FS Ed Reed healthy and newly-acquired SS Bernard Pollard.

The Steelers made few changes on both sides of the ball, but they have talked up a new pass-first identity on offense. Defensively, whether they’re an elite unit again will depend on two of their aging superstars. OLB James Harrison is coming off two offseason back surgeries, a major concern for a 33-year-old. SS Troy Polamalu’s Achilles injury was still lingering during training camp. This unit has struggled to force turnovers when the 30-year-old Polamalu is banged up.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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