1/15/11 4:30 pm est.
two NFL divisional round playoff games taking place on Saturday
and of the two games I only like one and thats the first game
which kicks off at 4:30 pm est. and has the Baltimore Ravens
visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers. The odds maker opened the
contest up with the hometown Steelers listed as a -3.5 point home
favorite at most shops. However, due to sooooooo much money
pouring in on the Baltimore side of the slate, most shops have
dropped the point spread to its current level of Pittsburgh -3, a
glance at the most current betting trends reveal that a mega 73%
of all monies wagered have been on the money-line with Baltimore.
support Baltimore is receiving from the betting public is really
no surprise when considering that most Joe Public bettors base
their opinion on what is fresh in their collective mind, the
freshest memory is Baltimore's 30-7 shellacking of Kansas City
last week in a game that took place on the Chiefs home field. The
young Chiefs, who had the NFL's 4th easiest schedule,
really had no momentum having lost two of their final four games
to close out the regular season and against Baltimore in the NFL
wildcard round showed their lack of playoff experience by turning
the ball over a whopping five times.
to say, the young Chiefs were simply not ready for a prime time
affair against a heavyweight opponent like Baltimore and got their
arses handed to them in the late stages of the game as the game
was actually a 10-7 contest in the third quarter. The Ravens win
over Kansas City last week coupled with the fact that Baltimore
finished the regular season with the exact same mark of 12-4 as
Pittsburgh including a 1-1 straight up and ATS record in two
seasonal meetings this year in head-to-head action, has Joe Public
siding with Baltimore.
course, the talking heads in the media have been continually
pounding the point home to ole Joe Public that this contest will
be a low scoring, physical, rock'em sock'em type of game that will
probably end with one team or the other winning by a FG. Hey, the
guys in the media may be right if history ends up repeating itself
as the past four meetings between these two teams have been
decided by exactly three points and five of the last seven
get-togethers have been decided by four or less points.
Steeler defense only allowed 232 total points this season which is
an average of 14.5 points per game, those 232 total points allowed
were the least in the NFL this season and represented the third
least amount of points allowed by a team in the history of the NFL
since they switched to a sixteen game regular season schedule.
With that being said, Baltimore has one heck of a defense
themselves as evidenced by allowing only 270 points during the
regular season which is an average of 16.88 points per outing.
this talk of how great each defense is this contest, along with
the two low scoring games played this season against each other
(Baltimore win 17-14 and Pittsburgh win 13-10), has the talking
heads in the media convincing Joe Public that this will be a
low-scoring-tight game, yet the odds maker has the O/U on this
contest set at 37..why?
be because each team has the abiltiy to shut down the opposing
running game with regard to the Ravens totaling only 113 rushing
yards against Pittsburgh in their two prior meetings this season
which is an average of 56.5 yards per contest while Pittsburgh
only tallied 138 rushing yards in the two meetings for an average
of 69 yards per game? Meaning of course that both teams will
probably elect to go to the air and take advantage of the opposing
pass defenses that are ranked much lower with regard to Baltimore
allowing 214.35 air yards per outing versus Pittsburgh allowing
214.06 passing yards per game....this is playoff time, win or go
a reason why Baltimore went out and got WR's Anquan Boldin and T.J.
Whoseyourmamma to add on to their arsenal of WR Derrick Mason and
TE Todd Heap and it wasn't to try to run the ball against
Pittsburgh's Steel wall in the playoffs, it was to take advantage
of the Steelers weakness in their defensive secondary. Baltimore
QB Joe Flacco has progressed to the point that he is on the verge
of becoming an elite signal caller when considering that in 48
career starts he has a pretty good TD to INT ratio of 60 to 34 and
an even better ratio of 25 to 10 this season.
flip side of things, the Pittsburgh Steelers have their own
playmakers in the passing game and it all starts with QB Big Ben
Roethlisberger who has a TD to INT ratio of 17 to 5 this season
along with a QB rating of 97.0. Pittsburgh is a battle tested team
that has won two Super Bowls since Big Ben took the reins of this
team, Roethlisberger has his own nice stable of WR's to throw to
as well including cagey veteran Hines Ward and speedy WR Mike
Wallace along with TE Heath Miller.
loves to use a trick play here and there, in times past they have
used former college QB and now WR Randall El in a variation of a
half back pass, look for the Steelers to change things up by
having former college QB and now WR Hines Ward attempt the same
play as a means of fooling the Raven defense. In the end there
will be wayyyy more points scored in this contest than what the
pundits in the media are predicting, remember, this is win or go
home. One team will open up and score and the other team will be
forced to do the same.
backwards in time reveals that seven of the last ten games played
in Pittburgh between these two teams since 2002 has exceeded the
posted total. A deeper look-see reveals that Pittsburgh when
playing at home in the month of January, is a perfect 8-0 to the
OVER when installed as a home favorite including a perfect 2-0 to
the OVER versus Baltimore in previous January games played in the
Steel city since 2002.