Week 4 NFL Thursday Night Betting Preview

Week 4 NFL Thursday Night Betting Preview

BALTIMORE RAVENS (-2.5) vs PITTSBURGH STEELERS O/U 44

Baltimore 0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS O/U 2-1.  Pittsburgh 2-1 SU, 2-0-1 ATS, O/U 1-2

The Baltimoe Ravens travel to Pittsburgh in desperate need of a win. Only 1 team since the merger has started 0-4 and made the playoffs (1992 San Diego Chargers) The Ravens have to be the most frustrated team in the NFL losing by 6, 4 and by 4 again last week to The Cincinnati Bengals. Traveling on the road to Pittsburgh on a short week seems like the worst scenario for an 0-3 team except they catch a break with the injury to Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger went down against the Rams last week in a 12-6 win and is out 4-6 weeks.

Baltimore can’t be happy with the NFL. Their first 2 games were road games against AFC West opponents Denver and Oakland. After one home game they are back on the road on a short week. 5 of their 1st 7 games are on the road with another back to back west coast trip in mid October. Obviously The Ravens need more from their running game if they want to be successful in this game and have any chance to play meaningful games later. They were expecting a big year from Justin Forsett but through 3 games he has only 124 yards and 3.2 yards per carry. Pittsburgh will continue to use the blueprint the Ravens first 3 opponents used, stop the run and dare Joe Flacco to beat them with his limited weapons on the outside. Steve Smith is off to very good start with 25 catches for 350 yards and 2 scores but most people can’t name another receiver on the team. Smith has been targeted 40 times this season, the next four highest targeted receivers have 44 total. That needs to change NOW.

Pittsburgh comes into the game with Michael Vick making the start. Vick has started 19 games the last 3 years going 6-13 in those starts. His number 1 priority will be to hand the ball off to Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams, his number 2 priority has to be when he doesn’t hand the ball off don’t turn it over. He holds on to the ball too long at times trying to make a play and has a tendency to fumble. The Steelers will try and use the running game and short passing game to get him comfortable for what looks to be his first of 5 starts. Don’t look for Vick to leave the pocket and run a lot as The Steelers can’t afford for him to get hurt with Landry Jones as the only other QB. The Baltimore Defense will obviously load up the box, stop the run and force Vick to win the game.

This game all comes down to who can run the ball better and stop the run. The NFL loves pairing these teams up on Thursday night and the last 2 years they have played low scoring slug fests. We look for this to be the same type of game with whatever team can score 20 points first wins.  Baltimore holds the edge at QB but the Steelers holds the edge in everything else, running game, receivers and defense. THE PICK: STEELERS +2.5 UNDER 44