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Ravens vs. Steelers Money Line Picks – NFL Christmas Day

Baltimore Ravens(8-6-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers(9-5-0)

  • Where: Heinz Field. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • When: December 25, 2016 4:30 pm EST
  • Spread: Ravens +5 (-110) vs. Steelers -5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Ravens (+195) vs. Steelers (-233)
  • Over / Under: Over 44.5 (-110) vs. Under 44.5 (-110)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a chance to wrap up the AFC North title and potentially rest some of their starters for the final week of the season if they can defeat the Baltimore Ravens on Christmas Day.

The Steelers (9-5-0) have a one-game lead over the Ravens (8-6-0), and a victory would create an unassailable lead for the division title. It would also give Pittsburgh the inside track for the No. 3 seed in the AFC by virtue of a potential better conference record than either Houston or Tennessee heading into its season finale at home versus winless Cleveland.

Pittsburgh extended its winning streak to five games by rallying for a 24-20 victory at Cincinnati. Ben Roethlisberger threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Eli Rogers with 7:29 to play, and the Steelers defense held firm in a dominant second half in which it held the Bengals to 38 yards and four first downs to help rally from a 14-point first-half deficit.

Roethlisberger finished with 286 yards and a touchdown while Le’Veon Bell churned out 93 yards on the ground for Pittsburgh, which also got six field goals from Chris Boswell — who kicked five of them from 40 yards or longer. While Bell was denied a fifth straight 100-yard game, he has totaled 713 rushing yards during this winning streak while averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

That does not bode well for a Ravens run defense that was gashed for 169 yards while holding off Philadelphia 27-26 last weekend. Baltimore is second in the NFL in rushing defense at 82.1 yards allowed per game, and while Pittsburgh enters this contest tied for 12th offensively at 111.7 rushing yards per game, that number jumps to 149.6 over its five-game winning streak.

If Baltimore wins this game, it would win the AFC North if it finishes with the same record as Pittsburgh by virtue of sweeping the season series. The Ravens, who close their season at Cincinnati next week, posted a 21-14 victory in Week 9 by holding Bell to a season-low 32 yards.

2016 NFL Christmas Day parlay predictions

BAL at PIT Week 16 PreviewBaltimore has won four straight and nine of 12 between the teams but is also 0-4 on the road as an underdog this season. By comparison, Pittsburgh has gone 12-1-1 against the spread in its last 14 games in the month of December. But buyer beware, that lone loss came to Baltimore in 2015.

The Ravens, though, have yet to show themselves to be a good road team of late, dropping four in a row outside Baltimore. That includes two defeats to playoff teams Dallas and New England as well as a third on the cusp of the postseason in the New York Giants. Additionally, Roethlisberger is 9-3 lifetime at home versus the Ravens, including the playoffs, and has thrown for 24 TDs against only nine interceptions in those contests.

Further, the Steelers signal-caller is two scoring passes away from becoming the 10th player in NFL history to reach 300. If he throws three against the Ravens, he can pass John Elway for ninth on the all-time list. Roethlisberger has thrown at least one TD pass in all 12 of his home games against the Ravens, including a career high-tying six against them in 2014.

Given Pittsburgh’s form and Baltimore’s inability to distinguish itself on the road, a parlay with the Steelers money line and Chiefs money line at Bovada is my best bet for the Christmas Day schedule.

Ravens vs. Steelers over/under prediction

While Troy Polamalu no longer roams in the secondary for the Steelers, the number 43 still holds some sway at Heinz Field between these teams. In the last eight games between the teams at Pittsburgh, they have combined for 43 points on four occasions. Additionally, they have topped that number just once in that span, which makes taking the UNDER of 44.5 points at the Bovada Sports Book an intriguing proposition at -110.

Another factor that makes the under a strong play here is the lack of blowouts between these heated rivals. In the last 17 regular-season games, 13 of them have been decided by four or fewer points. And two of those four came in 2014, when they traded 20-point blowouts. While Pittsburgh did score both its touchdowns in the final 8:38 in Baltimore, the Ravens had only 274 yards of total offense. Ninety-five of them came on a touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to ex-Steelers wideout Mike Wallace, and their other touchdown came on a blocked punt return.

Chris AltrudaThis article was written by Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has spent more than two decades as a sportswriter, first for ESPN SportsTicker in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he rose to the level of college sports coordinator and was NCAA Men's Basketball Columnist. From there, he moved onto The Associated Press, where Chris started as an editorial assistant in their MegaSports division in the AP's headquarters in New York City before taking on the role of Scores Manager. He most recently served as an editor for nearly 11 years for STATS' editorial department based in Northbrook, Illinois, writing game previews for all US professional and major college sports as well as the English Premier League and international soccer. Currently a freelancer, Chris is still working the international soccer beat and other assorted projects. A native New Yorker and graduate of Marquette University who still refers to them as the Warriors, Chris is now holding out hope the Jets will reach a Super Bowl in his lifetime since the Cubs proved miracles are possible by winning the 2016 World Series. Chris can be found on Twitter at @AlTruda73

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