The Pittsburgh Steelers Need a Week 18 Win Over Baltimore Ravens, But Will They Get It?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
The Pittsburgh Steelers Need a Week 18 Win Over Baltimore Ravens, But Will They Get It?

After sewing up the top seed in the AFC last week, the Baltimore Ravens enter Week 18 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers with very little to play for. They already earned a first-round buy in the postseason. Their odds to win Super Bowl 58 already lord over most of the league. This game means almost nothing to them. 

  • What: Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Date: Saturday, January 6, 2024
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. eastern standard time
  • Where: M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Point Spread: Steelers (-3.5), Ravens (+3.5)

This, of course, can be problematic when betting on the Ravens vs. Steelers matchup. Do we simply default to Pittsburgh, knowing they still have an outside chance of making the playoffs with a victory of their own? Or do we trust that Lamar Jackson will suit up for the Ravens and look to make one last MVP statement? If we’re going strictly by the latest NFL online betting odds, the former route is the safest to travel:

Pittsburgh Steelers-178+350Baltimore Ravens

As always, please make sure to double-check these online NFL betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Steelers vs. Ravens betting odds are accurate entering Wednesday, January 3. That gives the best NFL online betting sites plenty of time to make adjustments leading into opening kick-off on January 6.

Determining the winner of this clash will be a doozy. This game may have no bearing on where the Ravens land in the playoff picture, but the team may be hesitant to rest everyone knowing they won’t play again for a couple of weeks. Should we expect Baltimore to play their starters for the first half? Until the fourth quarter? Just the first quarter? Could they play the entire game? 

And what, exactly, is at stake for the Steelers? Would picking up a win and improving to 10-7 give them a real shot at making the playoffs as a Wild Card? Or are their postseason hopes more dead than not? And how does that impact this game? We seek to answer all of these questions, and more, in our Week 18 Steelers vs. Ravens predictions!

Which Version of the Baltimore Ravens will We Get in Week 18?

The biggest question of this head-to-head: Will Lamar Jackson play? The above Ravens vs. Steelers betting lines don’t answer that question with any sort of definitiveness. On the one hand, you might expect the Steelers to be more heavily favored if Jackson wasn’t going to give it a go. On the other hand, though, you wouldn’t expect them to be favored at all if he was playing.

Playing it safe would mandate the Ravens leave Jackson on the bench. But he has appeared in every game this season and is among the top candidates to win NFL MVP. Suiting up for Game No. 17 would only serve to bolster his case—particularly if he plays all four quarters.

To be honest, we expect Jackson to give it a go. He would have a 19-day break in between games if he doesn’t get any reps this Saturday. And while rest is technically a good thing, extended layovers can also foment rust. 

The Ravens as an organization know this too well. They rested guys back in 2019 after locking up their playoff seed. Then, when Baltimore took the field again, they looked out of sorts and unprepared to play. Nine players from that season are still on the roster, according to ESPN. The coaching staff is also the same. At the very least, we’d anticipate the Ravens given their starters a quarter’s worth—or half’s worth—of action.

Whether that matters towards the outcome of this game is debatable. And there’s no guarantee that Lamar can do anything to enhance his MVP case. As it stands, the latest NFL MVP betting odds peg Jackson as the favorite to win his second Most Valuable Player honor. At most, then, we’re probably going to see Baltimore’s best players log a few series’ worth of time. And that, inevitably, will be great news for the Steelers.

OSB Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers (-178)

Pittsburgh Steelers To beat the Baltimore Ravens

Can the Pittsburgh Steelers Take Care of Business on the Road?

Check out the latest NFL point spread betting odds for Steelers vs. Ravens below:

  • Pittsburgh Steelers, -3.5 (-110)
  • Baltimore Ravens, +3.5 (-110)

This spread is just large enough to tempt us into selecting the Ravens. If Jackson and the first-stringers on offense play the first two quarters, that could be enough to keep this game close. 

Invariably, though, we can’t get there. The stakes are everything here. And the fact is, Pittsburgh has a playoff spot on the line. The Ravens have nothing to worry about. That will impact how aggressive both teams are on defense. And in this case, that means seeing Pittsburgh throw the kitchen sink at Baltimore—who, again, may not even be fielding their top players.

OSB Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers, -3.5 (-110)

Pittsburgh Steelers To cover the point spread against the Baltimore Ravens

The Steelers vs. Ravens Projected Score Total Clearly isn’t Pricing in Baltimore’s Best Effort

Perhaps the biggest signal that Lamar Jacks will not play much, if at all, in Week 18 can be found in the Steelers vs. Ravens over/under betting odds:

  • Over 36.5 (-112)
  • Under 36.5 (-108)

As of now, this is the third lowest over/under in the NFL for Week 18. Only the New York Jets vs. New England Patriots (30.5) and Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers (36.5) check in with smaller projected totals.

A slight majority of the initial action is geared toward the “over.” We tend to agree with that logic. Pittsburgh’s offense has been all over the place this year, but they’ve cleared 30 points in each of their past two games. And even though the Ravens have an elite defense, there’s a good chance they pull back the blitzing dial with nothing of their own at stake. 

Plus, let’s not forget that Lamar Jackson could still play. And even if he’s only up and running for a couple of series, that’s still enough time for Baltimore to hold up their end of this “over.”

OSB Prediction: Over 36.5 (-112)

Ravens and Steelers To score over 36.5 combined points

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your 2024 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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