A Steelers win keeps their playoff hopes & HC Tomlin’s winning season streak alive
Baltimore Ravens still unsure whether QB Lamar Jackson (knee – PCL) can return
Watch Steelers vs Ravens live on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at 8:20 PM ET on NBC
POINT SPREAD: Pittsburgh Steelers +3.0 (-110) at FanDuel
POINTS TOTAL: Over 36 (-109) at BetRivers
SPECIAL: G. Edwards 100+ Rush Yards + N. Harris 100+ Rush Yards (+700) at DraftKings
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The NFL Week 17 Sunday Night Football matchup is a thrilling AFC North battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, these Steelers having won four of their last five games to earn their way back into the race for the playoffs and the Ravens having dealt with a serious injury to QB Lamar Jackson (knee, questionable) who may (or may not) be able to suit up for this one.
According to the sportsbooks, the Ravens don’t do well as the favorites following a home win and have lost each of their last five games that way, but the oddsmakers also tell us that the underdogs have covered the spread in each of the last six games between the Steelers and Ravens, so we like Pittsburgh to do that here in Week 17 as their postseason future is on the line.
The NFL schedulers flexed this game into the Sunday Night Football slot so the league expects this matchup to pay off big, a battle between Steelers HC Mike Tomlin who is fighting to keep his string of winning seasons alive, and the Ravens HC John Harbaugh who must game plan for two possible QBs knowing that a win here keeps his team as one of the AFC Wildcard seeds.
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The Steelers have held their opponents to 18 points or fewer during their last five games, and in six of the Ravens’ last seven outings, they have kept their opponents to under 15 points, so it is no wonder that the oddsmakers at BetRivers have set the bar low for this Points Total bet at 36 points, a wager that requires a bit of basic research first so the scoring tendencies are revealed.
One reason for the Steelers’ sub-.500 season so far is their inability to score points in games, this year the offense averaging just 17.6 points per game, 4th least in the league, while the Ravens’ offense averages 21.4 points per game, 15th best in the NFL, and that combined total of 39 is just over this bet, a tricky pick but we like the over since this is do or die time for both teams.
But this game is in Baltimore and the sportsbooks tell us that each of the Ravens' last nine games in January have gone under the total points line, so take the under if you believe that trend will continue, keeping in mind that this game will be played in M&T Bank stadium, an open-air venue that will be subject to whatever winter weather Maryland is experiencing on Sunday.
Here is an interesting Week 17 Special bet from DraftKings that should interest anyone who loves a good run game, with the bettor having to guess whether one of each team’s RB will have a productive game, meaning the Ravens’ Gus Edwards must rush for 100+ yards and the Steelers’ Najee Harris must do the same, a good winter bet when throwing becomes more difficult.
Edwards has had limited playing time this season due to a torn ACL he suffered during practice last year, on the reserve/PUP list to start 2022 and activated on October 22, so far with no 100+ rushing yard outings in the seven games in which he has played, but he is well rested and the Ravens love to run the ball so this could be a game in which they feed Gus more than ever.
Harris is a second-year RB who has not broken 100+ rushing yards in a game this season, though he has come close a few times (99 yards in Week 10, 90 yards in Week 11), keep in mind Pittsburgh has rookie QB Kenny Pickett under center so chances are he will lean heavily on the team’s rushing attack, especially as the game progresses and tackling becomes a struggle.
What: Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens
Where: M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD
When: Sunday, January 1, 2023, at 8:20 PM ET
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: mike.luka[email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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