Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:45 AM EST odds are subject to change.
Baltimore -2 over Pittsburgh
8:20 PM EST. The status of Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson has been at the forefront again this week, but it looks as of this writing, he is not going to play. We were expecting an overreaction in the market no matter which way that cookie crumbled, but now that it’s pretty well been decided Jackson is a no go, we’ve seen the “injury chasers” attempt to take advantage.
To suggest that the oddsmakers did not have a pretty good idea that Jackson would not play when they posted the Ravens as a 4-point favorite would be pretty naive. Everyone in the football world knows that Lamar’s status has been the primary topic of discussion in Baltimore, as he’s missed nearly all of December after getting hurt in the Ravens Week 13 edging of Denver, 10-9.
If Jackson hasn’t been top of mind, then Baltimore’s offensive impotence under Tyler Huntley, who by no fault of his own has been getting roasted by the hot talk satirizers for being the fourth alternate on the AFC’s Pro Bowl team. In most years, this would not matter, but in this year, when the game won’t even be played, it means even less. All it does is shine a brighter light on just how bad the Raven’s offense has been in recent weeks. After all, how can a dude who is leading a unit that has averaged just 11½ Points Per Game under him make a Pro Bowl? Bad takes aside, the Ravens are winning and they’re still in a position to win the AFC North. With the Bengals playing on Monday night in Buffalo, the Ravens will have no reason not to believe that they can take down Cincinnati from behind.
As we discussed with the Packers, when a blue blood like the Steelers starts to win, the bandwagon fills up quickly. After winning four of its last five, that Pittsburgh still has a look at the postseason is a nice story, but the reality is, the Steelers have just a 2½% chance to get in. That’s not good and it’s not worth going through the many scenarios that need to happen.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss the emotional night that took place in Pittsburgh last Saturday, where the Steelers honored Franco Harris and his legacy in light of his sudden death on December 20. The festivities for Harris were already scheduled, as he was set to have his #32 retired. Instead, it was a celebration of his life, with every Steelers player wearing Harris’ jersey into the stadium. The Steelers would come from behind to beat the Raiders on the 50th anniversary of “The Catch.” You couldn't write a better ending for a chilly Christmas Eve in Western Pennsylvania and when the Steelers picked off Derek Carr with 29 seconds left, those gathered at former Heinz Field let out a sigh of relief. The game was finally over and it was time for more tears to be shed. Is it unreasonable to suggest there could be an emotional letdown in this spot, even with the hated Ravens in town on Sunday Night Football? Even if Pittsburgh is fully invested in punching Baltimore right in the mouth, the Ravens are more than capable of punching back and covering this short price on their home field.
Baltimore -2 -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)