NFL Odds Preview: Steelers look for revenge at Ravens

By: Joe Freda | Friday, December 3, 2010
Terrell Suggs

Terrell Suggs leads the Ravens defense with 7.5 sacks on the season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a 2-1 NFL spread record in their three games against AFC North Division foes, allowing 16 points per game in that stretch.  Mike Tomlin’s squad travels east for Sunday night’s clash with the Baltimore Ravens, who pulled out a 17-10 win as two-point road dogs in an Oct. 3 battle against the Steelers.

Sports books opened Baltimore as a three-point home favorite in the matchup, initially receiving mixed action. NFL Betting shops first set the ‘total’ at 39 ½, with early ‘over’ wagers lifting the number north a half-point to 40.

Pittsburgh squeaked out a 19-16 overtime win as a 6 ½-point road favorite in last Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.  The Steelers jumped out to an early 13-0 lead but were forced to extra minutes thanks to Buffalo’s Rian Lindell tying the duel, 16-16, with a 49-yard field goal at the end of regulation.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 20-of-33 passes for 246 yards.  The 28-year-old is presently listed as “probable” against Baltimore due to a sprained foot, according to the injury report.

Pittsburgh’s Rashard Mendenhall rushed for a season-high 151 yards on 36 carries.  The Illinois native scored his squad’s sole touchdown with a one-yard run in the first quarter.

The Steelers’ defense allowed 329 yards, with 255 coming through the air.  Safety Troy Polamalu grabbed an interception for a second straight game, while linebackers James Harrison and James Farrior each logged one sack.

The lengthy battle’s combined 35 points stayed south of its 43 ½-point ‘total,’ extending Pittsburgh’s ‘under’ streak to 2-0 in its last two games.

Roethlisberger guided the Steelers to 28 first downs, controlling the ball for 45 of the game’s 73 minutes.

Pittsburgh improved to 3-3 ATS in its first six road games, with the ‘total’ also moving to 3-3.  Polamalu and Co. have allowed 295.5 YPG in that stretch, with a stingy 57.2 YPG coming through the ground.

Baltimore escaped with a 17-10 win as a 7 ½-point home favorite in last Sunday’s battle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Ravens allowed Tampa Bay’s Kellen Winslow to reach the end zone with 3:05 remaining, giving the Buccaneers an ATS cover by a ‘hook.’

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco notched 289 passing yards, connecting on 25-of-35 attempts.  The New Jersey native threw for two touchdowns, finding wide out Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap.

Baltimore’s Ray Rice finished with a combined 132 yards of rushing and receiving.  The three-year running back logged a season-low 20 yards on eight carries against Pittsburgh, two months ago.

The Ravens’ defense gave up 263 yards en route to forcing nine punts by the Buccaneers.  Linebacker Ray Lewis finished with a team-high seven tackles, failing to log a sack for a fourth straight game.

The tight affair’s combined 27 points plunged below the ‘total’ of 41.  Both squads united for 13 penalties, moving the ball 108 yards.

Baltimore dropped to 2-3 ATS in its first five home games, with the ‘under’ also moving to 2-3.  John Harbaugh’s crew has scored 27 PPG in that span, while allowing 17.6 PPG.

Pittsburgh is 3-1-1 ATS in its last five meetings against the Ravens, with the ‘total’ going 2-2-1.

Sunday’s kickoff is scheduled for 5:20 p.m. (PT), with NBC providing the national television coverage. The weather forecast in Baltimore calls for a low of 33 degrees, with 20 mph winds and a 10-percent chance of rain.

Pittsburgh returns home for next Sunday’s duel with the Cincinnati Bengals, while Baltimore visits the Houston Texans one day later for a Monday night matchup.

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