Finally, we’re getting a game in primetime that’s worthy of its time slot. This Sunday night’s tilt between the Patriots and Ravens could easily turn out to be a preview of the AFC Title game. This game certainly falls into the category of “must watch.”
Of course, putting some money down on the game can only make it more interesting. The Patriots are only three point favorites in this game which represents one of their lowest totals of the year. The fact that they’re still solid favorites despite going into Baltimore to play shows just how powerful Bill Belichick’s squad really is.
As always, our exclusive StatsChecker site for the game holds all of the information you need to make a well-informed wager. In this piece, we’ll focus in on five facts from the site that could really give you a leg up on oddsmakers. Let’s start with a vital observation on how each team performs against the spread.
- The Patriots cover, the Ravens don’t
There may not be a more important data point concerning this game than each team’s record against the spread. New England comes in with a sparkling mark of 6-2 while the Ravens are an ugly 2-4-1.
The significance here is that oddsmakers still haven’t caught up to just how good the Patriots are. That’s a scary thought for those of you considering placing a large wager on the Ravens this week. The Patriots aren’t just a good team, they’re a great one. The jury is still out on whether or not Baltimore deserves anywhere near that sort of respect.
- This isn’t your typical Ravens defense
The likes of Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs aren’t lining up for the Baltimore defense anymore. In truth, this is an average group at best. They come into this game giving up 22.3 points per contest. That isn’t horrible, but it’s certainly not good.
It’s fair to point out that New England’s offense hasn’t been overly explosive this season, but do you really want to bet against Tom Brady’s ability to carve up an ordinary defense? To put it mildly, you should do so at your own peril.
- This isn’t your typical Patriots defense either
The Patriots have put some good defenses on the field during Belichick’s historical run, but this year’s edition is the best of the bunch. New England comes into this game giving up a miniscule 7.6 points per game.
There is reason for optimism if you’re a Ravens supporter though. The Baltimore offense is a unique animal. The success the Patriots have enjoyed this season against more traditional attacks may not have a strong bearing on this match-up. Lamar Jackson might be the most dynamic player in the NFL with the ball in his hands. He’s the entire key to this game from the Ravens perspective.
- Sony Michel will be an early key
Brady and the passing attacker get all of the offensive headlines for New England, but many of their games begin with an emphasis on establishing the run. That’s why Sony Michel has managed to score the first touchdown in six of his team’s last 11 games.
The challenge for Baltimore will be to prevent focusing too much on the run game. They can’t afford to stack the box with eight guys. If that happens, Brady is going to find a lot of success hitting big plays down the field.
- New England likes the under
Despite the obvious dominance the Patriots have enjoyed this season, it’s key to note they are only 2-6 in terms of the over/under on the year. Their blueprint for victory will be grinding this game to a halt.
The Ravens, in sharp contrast, would much rather this game turn into a shootout. If you bet Baltimore in this game, go ahead and package it with the over. Conversely, if you’re going to be on New England, combine it with a nod towards the under.
The Ravens have the goods to spring the upset
Betting on the Ravens +3 is not the way to go this week. If you’re inclined to think they can keep it close, go ahead and take them on the money line. That’s where the real value is going to be on Sunday night.
The logic here is alarmingly simple. It’s a much bigger game for Baltimore than it is for New England. The Ravens are going to throw the kitchen sink at the Patriots. Belichick and his coaching staff will call a very conservative game that allows them to save their best stuff for the postseason.
Look for Jackson to have a big game on the ground against the Patriots defense. He’s going to go over 150 yards rushing on the way to a narrow victory at home.