NFL Picks: Back Ravens +11.5 In Rivalry Game vs. Steelers

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, December 24, 2015 2:47 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 2:47 PM GMT

Our NFL handicapper previews next Sunday's Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens game and provides his Lone Ranger NFL pick for Week 16.

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NFL Pick: Ravens +11.5  

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) vs. Baltimore Ravens 1:00 EST
Every week of the NFL season I isolate what I consider to be the most contrary play of the week on the NFL card. Through 15 weeks of action, this Lone Ranger contrary play of the week has gone 13-2 ATS. Last week, it was a selection on the Atlanta Falcons, a team who had lost 6 consecutive games and failed to cover 9 consecutive weeks. It was yet another victory, as Atlanta won 23-17 at Jacksonville.

This week, the Lone Ranger visits Baltimore, MD, where the Pittsburgh Steelers come calling with revenge for an earlier 23-20 Baltimore victory at Pittsburgh on October 4, 2015. The Steelers cling to the final Wild Card spot in the AFC at 9-5 SU, 8-5 ATS. The Baltimore Ravens are 4-10 SU, 5-9 ATS, with no hopes of an invitation to the playoff party. For the reasons below, you will see why Baltimore is the clear choice for our contrary play this week. 

The public has fallen in love with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That is mainly because the public loves nothing more than a great offensive showcase. That is exactly what Pittsburgh has shown in their last six games behind QB Roethlisberger and a stable of WRs that is second to none in the NFL. It has resulted in six consecutive games where the Steelers have scored 30 or more points. The 5-1 SU record in that game has elevated them to the #6 seed in the AFC; it also puts them in control of their playoff destiny should they win the remaining two games of the season at division rivals Baltimore and Cleveland. The Steeler accolades are factual. As well as averaging 27 PPG, they are also averaging 403 YPG and 6.5 offensive yards per play, both #2 in the league, narrowly behind the Arizona Cardinals. Adding the frosting to the cake is the public’s knowledge that Ben is now 10-0 SU ATS in his most recent December starts. 

The public also knows it has been a lost season for the Baltimore Ravens. They were asked to play 5 of their first 7 games on the road, including four of those out west. Combined with multiple injuries, this has been a far different team than the Ravens we are used to seeing. The FCB (final crushing blow) came with the loss of their offensive tandem of QB Flacco, RB Forsett, and their best WR veteran Steve Smith. Last week, in one of the more misleading finals on the card, the Ravens outgained Kansas City 366-277, but lost the game on this field 34-14. A -3 net TO margin will do that for you most every time. That result was a microcosm of the Baltimore season, which has shown that despite the fact they are 4-10 SU, and losers of three straight, they are still outgaining the opposition 359-343.

While the public blindly follows the Steelers at this obviously inflated price, I invite you to put the NFL odds in your favor and join me and the Lone Ranger with our NFL pick on the Baltimore Ravens as the divisional rival home underdog plays spoiler, and boosts our Lone Ranger contrary play record to 14-2 ATS for the season.

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