Welcome to the first and hopefully last installment of the Wednesday Scaries. We’ll see how many more COVID bowls we get before the end of the season.
This has been a bet to avoid for nearly a week. I had this matchup in the Thanksgiving Spreads, then I put it in the Sunday Scaries now it looks like we (might?) have a game tonight, sorry, this afternoon. I would stay away from betting it because, you know, it could get postponed again, again… again. Right now though, the game looks to be a go even though there’s really no reason why it should happen today.
If there is a line, people will bet. But I still think you should stay away from this spread for football and, obviously, health reasons.
Ravens at Steelers (-10)
The number hovered around -4 then -5 last week. But with news of Lamar Jackson and 11 other players contracting COVID, the spread has now hit double digits. With Jackson out, that means Robert Griffin III will take the snaps for Baltimore. His last start was also against the Steelers nearly a year ago in week 17. He won that game with backups but under a completely different set of circumstances. At the time, the Ravens were a lock for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. So John Harbaugh did what any reasonable coach would do in his position – he sat everyone. On the other sideline, Pittsburgh played with some offensive and defensive weapons like Juju Smith-Schuster, T.J. Watt and QB Duck Hodges, remember him?
Baltimore finally got to practice yesterday after more than a week off. When the Ravens take the field today they’re not only going to be rusty, they could be susceptible to injury. I imagine there’s only so much to do in a workout from home environment. Point is, there’s not a lot of reasons to bet on the Ravens’ health.
Pittsburgh does have the best ATS record in the league at 8-2, but -10 is a big number to lay. The Steelers have been favored by more than 10 twice this season. They’re 1-1 ATS in those games.
The undefeated team has had its share of health problems too. Running back James Conner, a cancer survivor, will be out due to COVID and a number of players who were banged up last week should be ready to go today. Joe Haden, however, remains questionable.
The Steelers haven’t beat the Ravens twice in one year since 2017. Is this the year they do it?
If you can’t resist…
I’m going to stay away from this game but if you can’t resist, take the Steelers. Teams coming off COVID outbreaks haven’t done particularly well this year. Denver didn’t technically have an outbreak but they didn’t have a QB. The 14-point spread didn’t even matter in that game. They lost by 28. After New England had to postpone their game, they were upset by the Broncos and haven’t looked the same since. And when the Titans played their game after nearly two and a half weeks of chaos, they actually beat the Bills pretty handily. Still, this week’s Ravens are no Titans. Baltimore is infected and sliding. With so much uncertainty on the COVID front, I’d stay away.