Ravens vs Steelers Prediction: Pittsburgh to take advantage of Ravens’ rest

 | January 05 | 

4 mins read

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We have made it all the way to Week 18 and playoff scenarios are going to be a key aspect of games across the league.

In Baltimore, the home side have secured the #1 seed but Pittsburgh still need the win to keep their hopes alive. @NFLGirlUK previews the match-up for us this Saturday night...

Ravens vs Steelers Betting Tips:

  • Back Pittsburgh -3.5 on the Handicap @ 10/11
  • Back Mason Rudolph Over 224.5 Passing Yards at 9/5

While the Baltimore Ravens have nothing to play for in the regular season finale, the Pittsburgh Steelers have their season on the line. A win and some help could get Pittsburgh into the postseason, while also cementing another winning season from Mike Tomlin. As for the Ravens, they are locked into the number one seed in the AFC and can rest their starters here.

Let’s start with the Steelers. This is a completely different team with quarterback Mason Rudolph taking over the starting job. With Kenny Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky, there just always felt like there was something missing. There was a lack of explosive plays, there was nothing unique about the scheme they were running, and the passing game was horribly underwhelming.

With Rudolph, they have turned in back-to-back dominant offensive performances against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Seattle Seahawks. And, if you’ve been following the Steelers throughout the season, you’d know that a little offensive help can go a long way with the defensive talent they possess.

For example, TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick are leading a group that can win on their own and have shown an ability to do so earlier in the year. There was even a game where their defense scored just as much as their offense. If Rudolph can keep it up, then watch out for this Steelers team to make some noise.

Flipping over to the Ravens, they have nothing to play for at all. They’ve already locked in the first-round bye in the postseason and have nothing left to prove down the stretch. Lamar Jackson and other notable starters are likely to get the week off, leaving a lot of backups to compete against Pittsburgh. While this might make you think that the Steelers would crush this backup Baltimore squad, there are a few stats to make you think otherwise.

The one stat that really pops up has been their ability to win preseason games, as they won 24 straight at one point. Their depth is a luxury that many teams are hoping to achieve one day, and their coaching is phenomenal across the board.

Plus, we’ve seen quarterback Tyler Huntley put together some solid performances under centre in games that Lamar has missed. If there's ever a team that can win a game with most of their starters being rested, then the Ravens can definitely be that team.

At the end of the day though, I think I’m going to roll with the Steelers beating Baltimore here in a must-win game for them. This group just tended to end with winning seasons under Mike Tomlin, and Rudolph turns this offense into a whole new beast.

On top of that, Pittsburgh beat the Ravens in their previous matchup this season. A game where Pickett was starting under centre for the Steelers and the Ravens were rolling out their full line-up. Pittsburgh knows their divisional rivals very well and are going up against their backups in a rest game while simultaneously playing their best football this season.

Ravens vs Steelers Odds:

With plenty of indications that Baltimore will rest plenty of their starters due to already being locked into the #1 seed and receiving a bye plus home-field advantage through the playoffs, the fact Pittsburgh are the favourites here is no surprise. Mike Tomlin's men are 8/15 on the Money Line with Baltimore available to back at 6/4 to win the game outright.

The spread is Pittsburgh-3.5 and a low-scorer is fully anticipated with the Over/Under line set at just 35.5 points.

Bet 1 - Pittsburgh-3.5 on the Handicap market @ 10/11

The Steelers need to win to preserve their playoff hopes whilst Baltimore just need to get out of the game healthy, for more important challenges down the road.

This will be one of the most popular bets around the NFL in Week 18. I'm not sure anyone thinks the Ravens will have any starters in the game late-on and Pittsburgh are more than capable of beating the AFC's top team when they aren't at full-strength.

Bet 2 - Mason Rudolph Over 224.5 Passing Yards @ 9/5

With Baltimore set to rest some of their fearsome defensive players, it should give the opposition QB plenty of opportunities to chuck it deep and create chunk plays.

Mason Rudolph has cleared 224.5 yards in both his starts since taking over the job and against a handful of backups, I like his chances of making it three-straight at pretty decent odds.

Remember to check out our NFL Betting Tips index page where we preview games live on Sky Sports along with a weekly Predictions column...

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