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Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Point Spread - Pick

Baltimore Ravens (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1-1 SU, 1-2 ATS)
Week 4 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, September 30, 2018 at 8:20PM EDT
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: NBC

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: BAL +3/PIT -3
Over/Under Total: 51

The Baltimore Ravens take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football in an AFC North battle. The Ravens are 2-1, coming off a nice win/cover over the Broncos last Sunday, 27-14. After a week two loss to Cincinnati, however, the Ravens would like to make a mark in their own division against the Steelers. Pittsburgh was able to get their first win of the season, beating a tough Tampa bunch on MNF, hanging on for a 30-27 win. Can they kick it up a notch from here or will they get all they can handle from the Ravens?

We see some improvements starting to manifest with the Ravens already this season. They crushed Buffalo, 47-3 in their opener, before falling to the Bengals, but the offense has shown more of a spark this season. On defense, they have performed very well in two of three games this season, flashing a nice collection of vets and newcomers. This is a pivotal season for the Ravens, one that will go a long way into determining their future course. And so far, the reviews are fairly positive. By no means infallible, they have shown they are capable and a reasonable potential postseason prospect.

The Ravens' offense has started to see some progress. Joe Flacco has taken a lot of flack, but is still capable. Having a healthy Alex Collins, who ran for a TD on Sunday, in the backfield gives him a boost and someone upon which he can rely. Javorious Allen also helps, as he also had a score on Sunday. A revamped aerial package has really started to deliver, with John Brown taking well to his new team, while Michael Crabtree caught 7 balls on Sunday. Dangerous WR Willie Snead is getting involved. Lamar Jackson is lying in wait. It's still to early to tell and wins over the Bills and Broncos don't signal a revival, but this could turn out to be one of the better Baltimore offenses we've seen in recent seasons.

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The Baltimore defense is still a work-in-progress, but it's definitely been heading in the right direction. They have a lot of difference-makers across all levels of this "D." The pass-rush is still robust and on Sunday we saw guys like Terrell Suggs, Matthew Judon, and Za'Darius Smith getting after Case Keenum. Young linebacker Patrick Onwuasor picked off a pass. And a secondary boasting of big-time juice with Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey, and Anthony Levine, Sr. played well on Sunday.

Monday was an important development for the Steelers. Even if they nearly blew it at the end by letting the Bucs get back into it, getting a win over a 2-0 team to even their mark at 1-1-1 is a nice development. In the first half, the defense made a ton of big plays, while Ben Roethlisberger connected well with his targets. For once, the Steelers looked a little like the Steelers we had hoped to see.

Some personnel issues could be leading to all these close games for the Steelers and their 1-1-1 mark. If you don't think Le'Veon Bell is the best offensive weapon in the league, he isn't that far off and not having him in there is going to hurt. Nothing against youngster RB James Conner, who has some upside in this offense, but Bell is a unique talent and his absence leaves a void in this offense.

Big Ben still has ample weaponry. The lack of a really threatening run-game allows opponents to hone in on Big Ben and Company, but it's still a really compelling bunch. With the growth of JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Steelers now have two tremendous receivers, including Antonio Brown. Between Jesse James and Vance McDonald, they have a lot of juice coming out of the tight end position. McDonald was on-fire with over 100 yards and a memorable 75-yard TD on MNF. And a mean offensive line up-front doesn't hurt, either. Be that as it may, a defensive TD on Monday was all that separated Pittsburgh from a loss on MNF, as their offense was actually outscored by Tampa's.

The defense for the Steelers hasn't really picked up from where they seem headed after the last few seasons. They haven't really shined through three games, first letting Cleveland get back into the game for a tie, giving up a ton to the Chiefs, and then giving up 411 yards to Ryan Fitzgerald on MNF. You even have to wonder how a star back not being in the fold affects this side of the ball. That's not to say they don't make an impact. On MNF, we got a look at their playmaking ability, with a pick-six by Bud Dupree, two other interceptions, and a decent pass-rush. Granted, the last two weeks this "D" has been up against some red-hot offenses and will probably look better against more-average groups, but unless this group finds a way to get more-rigid, there will be a lot more close shootout-type games.

Pittsburgh has beaten their division rival Ravens three times in a row. I see that becoming four this weekend. Granted, they're coming off the short-week, but being home and evening the slate after a rough three games, I see the Steelers getting more accustomed to who they are and what they have, as they get the win and cover on Sunday night.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Pittsburgh Steelers minus 3 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Baltimore-Pittsburgh Sunday Night Football game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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