NFL Betting Guide: Can the Shorthanded Ravens Keep Pace With the Steelers?
We can usually learn a thing or two about NFL divisional rematches from the first game of the season, but the upcoming matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens doesn't look too similar to their Week 8 game, which the Steelers won 28-24.
The main reason for that is that Baltimore's starting quarterback, Lamar Jackson, is on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, and they'll be starting Robert Griffin III at quarterback. Both of their leading receivers since the bye -- Mark Andrews and Willie Snead -- have also tested positive. As a result, the Steelers are 10-point favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook, and the total is just 42.0 points.
So let's figure out what all that means and where the betting value lies.
Here's a snapshot of how each team ranks in numberFire's opponent-adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) metrics on both sides of the ball.
As you can see, these are two top-three overall adjusted defenses and two top-four adjusted pass defenses. It's not going to be easy for Griffin to get things going. The Steelers lead the NFL in pressure rate at 34.3%, more than 10 points higher than the NFL average (23.5%).
We only have a handful of drop backs from Griffin since 2016, most notably his 43 from 2019. On those, he compiled an average of 0.02 Passing NEP per drop back (NFL average is around 0.13), and he was sacked on 5 of his 43 drop backs (11.6%). The Steelers' pressure could stifle Griffin and the offense, which could also be without J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram, who are eligible to play but who cannot fly with the team.
The Steelers' offense, a top-10 unit, should provide a clear edge with the defenses rating out so similarly overall.
Despite all of this, our algorithm sees value on the Ravens in various ways.
In fact, it sees the Ravens +10 as a three-star bet out of five and the Ravens' moneyline (+385) as a two-star bet out of five. It's a divisional game for the second time, and the Ravens still have ways to keep the game close if they can move the ball efficiently on the ground.
Perhaps the most intriguing play of all, though, is the over at 42.0 points, which our algorithm rates as a three-star bet. The Steelers have been extremely pass-heavy over the past five games with their three primary pass-catchers healthy. Our algorithm pegs a 63.5% chance of the over hitting, good for an anticipated return on investment of 21.2%.
An intriguing Same Game Parlay option at FanDuel Sportsbook is over 42.0 (-114), Griffin to go over 165.5 passing yards (-110), and Marquise Brown to go over 36.5 receiving yards (-110) for a combined parlay of +358. The algorithm -- and betting public -- likes the over. For that to hit, Griffin and Brown will probably have to succeed. numberFire projects Griffin for 193.1 passing yards and Brown for 49.3 yards receiving given the lack of options.