Los Angeles Chargers (4-1) at Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
This is one of the toughest calls of the week. On one hand, the Chargers have the better offense and defense, ranking 4th in first down rate and 23rd in yards per play attempt allowed, while the Ravens rank 10th and 28th respectively, and are getting points. The Chargers are on the road, but they’ve done the aforementioned without the benefit of any real homefield advantage. The Chargers are 2-1 ATS at home this season, but they are also 2-0 ATS on the road, they don’t draw consistent crowds, and, dating back to their first season in Los Angeles, they are 13-19 ATS at home, as opposed to 20-12 ATS on the road.
On the other hand, the Ravens have the significant edge in special teams DVOA, which is more predictive than you’d think. The Ravens have consistently had among the best special teams in the league for years and currently rank 2nd in special teams DVOA, while the opposite is true of the Chargers, who rank 29th in special teams DVOA this season. That could especially matter in what figures to be a close game either way and the Ravens only need to win by a field goal to cover this 2.5-point spread. The Ravens also rank slightly higher than the Chargers in my roster rankings, in large part due to their special teams edge. I’m taking the Ravens because a field goal win by the home team is the single most likely outcome, but the Chargers could also easily pull the upset on the road, where they have traditionally exceeded expectations.
Baltimore Ravens 23 Los Angeles Chargers 20
Pick against the spread: Baltimore -2.5