Oct 082013

Green Bay Packers (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

The Ravens have been one of the premier home teams in the NFL over the past few seasons, going 25-3 at home since 2010. They’re outscore opponents by about a point per game on the road in that time period and by about 11 points per game at home. As a result, they’ve only been underdogs at home a grand total of three times in that time frame, losing once at home to Peyton Manning and the Broncos last season and then winning once at home as dogs last year against the Giants, after they had previously lost 3 straight, and winning against the Texans earlier this season. Those two wins came by a total of 40 points. Given that, I don’t think the Packers deserve to be favored in Baltimore.

Maybe they did a week ago, but losing Clay Matthews really hurts, as he’ll miss at least a month after undergoing surgery to repair a broken thumb. Losing Matthews doesn’t just hurt because he’s one of the top defensive players in the NFL, but because of their suspect depth behind him. Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba, 6th round and undrafted rookies respectively, are their top reserves at the position. That’s as big of a downgrade as you can possibly get and it comes it a premium position.

Given that, I think these teams are pretty evenly matched. The Packers are moving the chains on 80% of chances, while allowing their opponents to do so on 75% of chances. The Ravens, meanwhile, are moving the chains on 69% of chances, while allowing their opponents to do so on 65% of chances. We’re getting at least 5 or 6 points of line value here even before you take Baltimore’s home field advantage into account.

The Ravens are also in a very good spot in terms of trends. Since 1989, teams are 37-11 ATS as non-divisional home dogs before being divisional road favorites. The Ravens will go to Pittsburgh next week, while they will almost certainly be divisional road favorites. I really like the Ravens’ chances of protecting their home field and pulling the upset here.

Baltimore Ravens 23 Green Bay Packers 20 Upset Pick +125

Pick against spread: Baltimore +3

Confidence: High

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