Are Baltimore Ravens Entering a Week 5 Trap Game vs Pittsburgh Steelers?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
Are Baltimore Ravens Entering a Week 5 Trap Game vs Pittsburgh Steelers?

As the NFL AFC conference continues to deliver weekly chaos to start the 2023 season, one team keeps flying under the radar: The Baltimore Ravens. As they prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5, on Sunday, October 8, at 1 p.m. eastern standard time, on the field at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it’s probably time for that to change.

Sure, other teams have faced tougher schedules. But the Ravens’ opening slate hasn’t exactly been a picnic. They have won two difficult games on the road, against the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. More than that, teams don’t open the season 3-1, with a plus-41 point differential, on accident.

This should all be enough to render the Ravens ultra-heavy favorites versus the Steelers. And yet, the latest NFL online betting odds for Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore are hardly that decisive:

Baltimore Ravens-188+158Pittsburgh Steelers

Remember to double-check these online NFL betting odds right up until you place your wager. Our Ravens vs. Steelers betting odds are accurate entering Wednesday, October 4. That gives the best NFL online betting sites plenty of time to make adjustments prior to opening kick-off. 

For this matchup, it’s difficult to discern the stakes for Baltimore. Beating the still-resetting Steelers won’t dramatically improve their odds to make the 2023 NFL playoffs. But picking up a third straight road victory would go a long way toward validating them as a possible Super Bowl contender

At this writing, however, the odds for Ravens vs. Steelers suggest the outcome is more open-ended. Why is that? Let’s find out. 

Why Aren’t the Baltimore Ravens More Decisive Favorites to Beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5?

Baltimore’s statistical profile resembles that of a bona fide Super Bowl hopeful. Their offense is 12th in points scored per game thanks in large part to quarterback Lamar Jackson’s decision-making. He is completing over 74 percent of his passes and has thrown only one interception through four games. The Ravens’ attack has room to grow by taking more chances downfield, but a top-12 offense is more than good enough when paired with a defense that ranks third in points allowed per game

Still, linemakers and analysts seem hesitant to declare Baltimore a top-shelf operation. And it might have something to do with their shaky defense against the run—despite what some of the stats say. As ESPN’s Jamison Hensley wrote coming out of Week 4:

“Over the past two weeks, the Ravens have allowed three runs of 20 yards or longer -- only the Broncos and Cowboys have given up more in that span. The problem has been setting the edge with young outside linebackers David Ojabo and Jeremiah Moon. This is uncharacteristic for Baltimore, which allowed the second-fewest runs of 20 yards or longer (38) over the previous five seasons. The Ravens still remain one of the best run defenses overall, ranking seventh in the league with 92.5 yards allowed per game this season.

This feels a little like nitpicking. And that’s fine. We all tend to harp over split hairs when it comes to Super Bowl contenders. But it’s hard to get worked up about Baltimore’s warts against the run heading into their showdown versus Pittsburgh. 

The Steelers might just have the worst rushing attack in the entire NFL. They are 31st in rushing touchdowns and 25th in net yards per rushing attempt. This isn’t a matchup that should overwhelm the Ravens’ youth on the edge. What’s more, Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback Kenny Pickett exited the team’s Week 4 loss to the Houston Texans with a left knee injury. While he’s believed to have avoided a serious setback, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, there’s no guarantee he plays on Sunday. In fact, many analysts are predicting he’ll be held out as a precaution, which would leave the Steelers to start Mitchell Trubisky. This development alone is enough for us to hammer Baltimore’s moneyline as hard as humanly possible.

OSB Prediction: Baltimore Ravens (-188)

Baltimore Ravens To beat the Pittsburgh Steelers

Could Injuries to Baltimore’s Receiving Core Open the Door for Pittsburgh to Cover? 

We were initially surprised by the point spread for Ravens vs. Steelers. On some level, we still are. It opened at four points and has actually dropped since then, as you can see below:

  • Baltimore Ravens, -3.5 (-114)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers, +3.5 (-106)

As you can tell from the payouts, the public currently loves the Ravens at -3.5. We’re right there with him. 

Still, the Ravens are dealing with injuries to two of their top four pass-catchers. Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman are presently listed as questionable for Sunday’s showdown. And given how much Baltimore has struggled to attack defenses with bigger-yardage plays, the absence of one or both could loom large.

Is that enough for us to trust Pittsburgh to keep this game within four points? Not at all. At least, not when we’re unsure whether Kenny Pickett will play.

OSB Prediction: Baltimore Ravens, -3.5 (-114)

Baltimore Ravens To cover the point spread against the Pittsburgh Steelers

Oddsmakers are Bracing for a Low-Scoring Game Between the Ravens and Steelers

Offensive injuries are a defining theme ahead of Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore. And that’s reflected in the over/under, which you can find below:

  • Over 38.5 (-105)
  • Under 38.5 (-115)

Judging from this point total, linemakers clearly aren’t expecting Pickett to suit up for the Steelers. And with his receiving minimal snaps last week, Pittsburgh mustered just six points.

This point total still seems a tad low even when making that assumption. Then again, while the Ravens’ offense has been efficient, it has not been high-powered. They are averaging under 25 points per game; their success has more to do with ball control and winning the time-of-possession battle. Two of Baltimore’s games so far have finished with scoring totals south of 38. We kind of think it’s about to happen again, even if only because their defense should shut down a shorthanded and rather unimpressive Steelers offense.

OSB Prediction: Under 38.5 (-115)

Steelers and Ravens To score under 38.5 combined points

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your 2023 NFL betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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