Baltimore Ravens (1-4) at San Francisco 49ers (1-4)
The Ravens are a shocking 1-4 to start the season, but their 5 games have been decided by a combined 20 points, so they could easily be 2-3, 3-2, 4-1, even 0-5 or 5-0 if a few things had changed. They rank 26th in rate of moving the chains differential, but they ranked 3rd last season, so I still think they’re better their current rank. Sure, they’ve lost Torrey Smith, Pernell McPhee, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata and cornerback Jimmy Smith hasn’t played well at all in his return from a broken foot, but they still have a good amount of talent, they got left tackle Eugene Monroe back from an extended absence last week and Steve Smith returns this week to a receiving corps that desperately needs him, though wide receiver Breshad Perriman returns out and cornerback Lardarius Webb will join him there this week.
Still, they should be able to beat a San Francisco team that is legitimately bad. San Francisco finished last season 21st in rate of moving the chains differential and then lost head coach Jim Harbaugh, right tackle Anthony Davis, running back Frank Gore, left guard Mike Iupati, defensive end Justin Smith, defensive end Ray McDonald, outside linebacker Aldon Smith, outside linebacker Dan Skuta, middle linebacker Chris Borland, middle linebacker Patrick Willis, cornerback Perrish Cox, and cornerback Chris Culliver this off-season. As a result, they now rank dead last in rate of moving the chains differential and you’d be hard pressed to argue they aren’t one of the least talented teams in the league. They’re easily the easiest team the Ravens have faced. The Ravens almost knocked off Denver and Cincinnati and I still believe they’re good enough to win this game by at least a field goal. This line at 2 seems too low.
It helps the Ravens that the Seahawks are in an awful spot, with Seattle coming to town on Thursday. The early line has them as 6 point home underdogs, which is bad news for their chances this week. Teams are 38-76 ATS since 2012 before being 4+ point home underdogs, 20-50 ATS before being 6+ point home underdogs, and 13-29 ATS before being 7+ point home underdogs. As long as this line is under a field goal, I’m comfortable putting money on Baltimore, even though they’ve burned me in the past.
Baltimore Ravens 20 San Francisco 49ers 13
Pick against the spread: Baltimore -2