Opening NFL Odds Report for Thursday's Steelers vs. Ravens

Jason Lake

Monday, September 8, 2014 9:08 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 8, 2014 9:08 PM UTC

The Pittsburgh Steelers pounded the NFL odds in each of their last three encounters with their mortal AFC North rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. But it’s the Steelers who have opened as small dogs for Thursday Night Football.

Remember when the Baltimore Ravens were NFL betting kryptonite to the Pittsburgh Steelers? You know, back when MySpace was still a thing? Baltimore still has a way of getting in Pittsburgh’s craw, but over their past 13 games (playoffs included) stretching back to 2008, the Ravens are 6-7 SU and 3-8-2 ATS against their Rust Belt nemesis. That includes a 0-3 ATS streak going into Thursday night’s matchup (8:25 p.m. ET, CBS) at The Bank.

At least the games themselves have still been entertaining. Each of their last five meetings was decided by a field goal of less, and Baltimore has indeed opened as a 2.5-point home favorite for Thursday Night Football. These NFL odds are piping hot out of the oven as we go to press, but we’re seeing some very early action on the Ravens – just enough to tweak Baltimore’s juice to –115 from the standard –110.


It Was a Short Summer, Chykie Brown
You might have a few reservations about betting on either of these teams after they tripped over the Week 1 NFL lines. The Steelers managed a victory at home over the Cleveland Browns (+5.5), but what was a 27-3 blowout at halftime turned into a 27-27 tie before Shaun Suisham kicked the game-winner with no time left. The Ravens faced a tougher matchup at home against the Cincinnati Bengals (+1), fought bravely from down 15-0 to take the 16-15 lead, and coughed it right back up on a 77-yard TD strike from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green.

Playing against Cincinnati’s defense is enough to make anyone look bad. Be that as it may, the Ravens offense looked really bad on Sunday. With Ray Rice out of the picture, No. 2 RB Bernard Pierce provided 14 yards and a fumble on six carries before getting benched for Justin Forsett. QB Joe Flacco ended up throwing 62 times, tying the career-high he set last year against the Denver Broncos. Good gravy.

At least Forsett gave Baltimore a second-half spark with 70 yards on 11 carries and a TD. And Baltimore’s defense managed to keep the game competitive; Cincinnati was held to five field goals in the first half, and the Bengals rushers combined for just 79 yards. But it was still a tough day for the Ravens D. Before the game, CB Lardarius Webb (back) was ruled inactive, and it was his replacement, Chykie Brown, who got burned on the Green touchdown.

Compare Our Capper Thoughts on Week 2's Steelers vs. Ravens Matchup!

He Shall Be Le’Veon
While Baltimore was getting shut out in the first half, Pittsburgh was busy ventilating the Browns for three TDs and a pair of figgies. QB Ben Roethlisberger was hitting his targets, and RB Le’Veon Bell had his way with Cleveland’s run blockers – until the second half, when everything dried up. The Browns also managed to put some points on the board by switching to a no-huddle approach, similar to Pittsburgh’s. Not a good day for the Steel Curtain defense.

Perhaps we can give the Steelers the higher mark for their Week 1 effort. While we parse through the stats and do some deeper analysis, we’ve got some relatively easy NFL odds to work with in Week 2. It just so happens that 2.5 points is today’s industry standard home-field advantage in the NFL. That means the betting market values the Steelers and Ravens as roughly equal commodities. That’s not how Football Outsiders sees it: They have Pittsburgh ranked No. 11 overall in their DVOA projections for 2014, with Baltimore way down the list at No. 25. Should be an easy NFL pick on the Steelers when we revisit this matchup later this week. Let’s see if Thursday’s football lines keep moving in the other direction.

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