Oakland Raiders (3-5) at Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
The Ravens may be 6-2, but dating back to week 1, this team has not won a single game by 10 or more and only one was decided by more than a touchdown, last week at Cleveland, a game in which the lowly Browns actually scored more frequently than the Ravens, but frequently imploded in field goal range and had to settle for 5 field goals. During that stretch, they’ve had two less than stellar performances against the Browns, a 3 point road win against the lowly Chiefs, a near home loss to the Cowboys, and a blowout loss in Houston. This team hasn’t done anything remotely impressive since a 31-30 home win against the Patriots week 3.
Their defense has been destroyed by injuries and ranks 26th in yards per game allowed, while the offense ranks just 19th, producing more than 40 yards per game less than their defense allows and because of Joe Flacco’s inconsistencies, they remain a unit that cannot be relied on weekly to win the game for them if the defense isn’t playing well. They rank just 9th in yards per play differential and 19th in rate of sustaining drives differential. They’re pretty overrated right now.
The Raiders aren’t very good either, but we’re getting line value with them. The yards per play differential method gives us a real line of -7, but the rate of sustaining drives method, the one Baltimore really struggles in, says this line should be -3.5 as Oakland ranks 23th, as opposed to Baltimore ranking 19th. That says these two teams are pretty even. I’m not saying they are. We have to look at both metrics to give us the whole picture, but we’re definitely getting line value with the road team here and pretty significant line value. The Ravens don’t deserve to be -7.5 here.
We’re also getting an opportunity to fade a heavy public lean. As some of you may know, the public killed the odds makers in unprecedented fashion last week, going 12-2 and winning every heavy lean. The odds makers aren’t going broke or anything. They killed the public for the first 8 weeks of the season and are still up on the year, but given that, I would be very nervous to bet on a heavy public lean this week because the odds makers, regardless of whether or not you believe in conspiracy theories, always have a way of bouncing back.
Baltimore is also in a bad spot as they go to Pittsburgh next week, a huge game for them. They’re not going to be focused for the lowly non-divisional Raiders with that huge game on their schedule. They’re also coming off a divisional win against the Browns. Teams are 8-15 ATS as non-divisional touchdown favorites off a divisional win as favorites before being divisional dogs since 1989. It’s a very specific trend, but it makes sense. Why would the Ravens be focused for the Raiders after a divisional win before facing their biggest rival, the divisional Pittsburgh Steelers?
The Ravens have won 15 straight home games and they are 20-1 at home in the last 2 and a half seasons, but they’re also just 8-12 ATS at home in that stretch. They’re winning, but not by a lot, which has pretty much been the story of this Ravens’ season (2 wins by more than a touchdown). I love getting more than a touchdown with the Raiders. They’re also just 3-9 ATS as 7+ home dogs since 2010. If the Raiders didn’t have to play this game as a West Coast team at 1 PM ET on the East Coast, this would be a bigger play, but it’s still a significant play on the Raiders.
Public lean: Baltimore (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if Oakland covers)
Sharps lean: BAL 6 OAK 4
Final update: No change.
Baltimore Ravens 23 Oakland Raiders 20
Pick against spread: Oakland +7.5 (-110) 3 units