The Baltimore Ravens have had a bye week to try and sort out some problems. Their rush to the playoffs begins Sunday vs. the Cleveland Browns.
Season-long stats in a 16-game schedule can easily be skewed by one or two bad games and when it’s only Week 9, those stats along with league-wide rankings need to taken with a grain of salt. The Baltimore Ravens’ Week 1 blowout loss in Denver is a good example but since then the defending Super Bowl champs are 3-3 SU and 4-2 ATS, outscoring teams 20.5 to 16.5 in those six games. That +4.0 scoring differential makes the Ravens a top 10 team (Cleveland is 21st at -3.9) and as the season enters its second-half it’s time Baltimore started improving its execution on offense.
The offensive line has not been able to open up holes for RB Ray Rice and that’s dropped the rushing yards per game average to 74 which is almost 50 less than the team’s per game average in 2012 (122 RYPG). In the past Rice has had good success against the Browns but he was limited on 16 touches the first time these teams met in Week 2. Look for Baltimore to commit itself to the run early in this one as they try and wear down a Cleveland defense that’s consistently spending more time on the field thanks to ineffective offense.
[quote_text color=”#000000″ text_color=”#ffffff”]Cleveland’s time of possession in Week 5 against Kansas City was 23:55[/quote_text]
Since 2000, divisional games with a line that’s within +/-3 points of ‘Pick em’ with non-divisional opponents on-deck have created strong Over/Under trends for a few teams and Baltimore (0-13 O/U) and Cleveland (1-6 O/U) rank 1-2 in that category for greatest percentage to the “Under”. Click the following link for a complete chart provided by our friends at SportsDatabase.com.
SDQL: team and -3<=line<=3 and DIV and n:DIV and season>=2000
The Ravens are also “live” in a strong divisional road fave profile that was 4-9 O/U last season including a Week 9 game between the Ravens and Browns which Baltimore won 25-15.
WEEK 9 PREDICTIONS
The Ravens have fallen out of favor with a lot of bettors and other than the 21-point blowout win over Houston they are playing a lot of close games but the current NFL odds across the board with sports betting shops right now offer Baltimore at -1.5 with a total of 41.5. The Browns are looking for revenge from Week 2 but we think a lot of the matchups on both sides favor Baltimore. Cleveland does have a good return game but the Ravens coverage teams are some of the best in the league and we have two plays booked for this contest.
Take the Ravens to win straight-up
Take the Ravens and Browns to stay UNDER 41.5 points