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Monday Night Football Betting Odds: Ravens vs. Steelers

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Sep/29/2008
Pittsburgh Steelers

Monday Night Football betting odds feature the Ravens vs. Steelers with Pittsburgh a big -5 to -6 favorite. BetUS.com was the lone book to offer this one at -5 early Monday afternoon. This one opened at -5 in some places and as high as -7. The action is relatively even with 65 percent going the Steelers way.

Gambling911.com actually believes the line here should be Pittsburgh -1 ½ so let's take a look at the stats to see if they jive.

Okay, so the home team has won 9 of the last 10 here straight up. 6 of those games were won by more than the current 6 point spread. And 3 of those games were won by Pittsburgh. Baltimore has won 4 of the last 5 outright and 5 of the last 6 against the spread.

Beyond the statistics, the Ravens new quarterback, Joe Flacco, has immediately impressed his teammates with his composure.

He rarely shows any emotion, whether he's throwing an interception or running 38 yards for a touchdown.

That's why the players are confident that Flacco will pass this road test.

"I'm not worried about how Joe will do," receiver Derrick Mason said. "He's our quarterback. He's matured over the last two games as a quarterback. I think he's looking forward to going down there to Pittsburgh and playing in that environment.

The Ravens will follow the same blueprint of the Philadelphia Eagles, who had nine sacks against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to Yahoo Sports.

Look for the Ravens to use the same disguised blitzes to get a free runner on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Ravens aren't concerned with the Steelers running game. They always held Willie Parker in check and should shut down his replacement, Rashard Mendenhall.

Offensively, the Ravens have shown a tendency to use the pass to set up the run. There could be some chances early to attack cornerbacks Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden. Expect more short passes and quicker drops to counter Pittsburgh's blitzes.

Ravens run defense vs. Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall. The Ravens haven't allowed a Steelers running back to gain over 42 yards in the past four meetings. The trend should continue against Mendenhall, who is replacing injured starter Willie Parker. The foundation of the Ravens defense is stopping the run. Baltimore hasn't given up 100 yards to a running back in 21 straight games, the longest current streak in the NFL. Its run defense has dominated the first two games. The Ravens have held teams to two yards or less on 41 percent of their rush attempts.

"He's a guy that I think, from the last two games I saw him play and playing with him in the preseason, he's a guy that thrives on things like that. So I'm looking for him to go down there and do what he has been doing, and that is to help us win football games."

Monday Night Football's ping-pong display of scoring the past two weeks is about to end when two of the NFL's top two defensive teams play in Pittsburgh's Heinz Field.

The Steelers have the No. 2 defense in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens are No. 1. The Steelers offense is No. 29, the Ravens' No. 19 after playing AFC North lightweights Cincinnati and Cleveland at home.

Can you say 6-3 final?

Interesting in that 80 percent of bettors are on the OVER 34 here.

Baltimore is definitely hot in this series despite the home win stats at first glance.

The Ravens appear to be an improving team also, beating Cincinnati and Cleveland at home. But is that enough to determine the Ravens can go on the road and cover against Pittsburgh?

The Steelers are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up loss. They are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 home games. But they are also 3-7 ATS in their last 10 vs. AFC. They are also 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Monday games.

Ben Roethlisberger, already nursing a sore shoulder, was sacked eight times and left with an injury to his right hand in the fourth quarter of their 15-6 loss to Philadelphia.

"I think this was about as frustrating a game as it could be," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "I think sometimes you do not want to press the issues too much this early in the season, but we really had a lot of guys that were not on the same page."

Because we can get Baltimore at +6 at Bookmaker.com, Gambling911.com is leaning on the Ravens being able to cover here. It's a tough call though not knowing if Baltimore is the real deal or if Pittsburgh just had an "off" week when they played Philadelphia a few days ago. The Steelers, after all, are good about rebounding after a loss (7-2 ATS).

-----

Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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