Ravens vs. Saints: Good Time To Back Road Dogs With Great Momentum & Confidence

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016 5:55 PM GMT

The winless Saints welcome Joe Flacco and the unbeaten Ravens on Thursday night for NFLX Week 4. Is this a great spot to pick the Road underdogs? Let’s examine for NFL picks.

Baltimore Ravens vs New Orleans Saints
The Baltimore Ravens (3-0, 71 PS-46 PA) head south to The Big Easy and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Thursday night to face the Saints (0-3, 45 PS-77 PA) in Preseason Week 4, the last week before the NFL Regular Season kicks off on Sept. 8. Offshore sportsbooks currently have the host Saints as solid 3½-point favorites (5Dimes) to with one -3 (120, The Greek) showing in the market with the Total (Points) is currently ranging from 40 (The Greek, Sportsbetting.ag) to 41 (BetOnline) with most shops hanging a 40½ (5Dimes, BetDSI, Bookmaker, Heritage). The Money Line (Winner) odds for this inter-conference meeting sees New Orleans priced at -190 with Baltimore priced at +165 (5Dimes) on the takeback here.

Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens (43/1 o win Super Bowl, 5Dimes) and 9th-year Head Coach John Harbaugh (74-63-6 ATS) had a wonderful August, going 3-0 SU and a perfect 3-0 ATS in the first three weeks of the NFL Preseason, beating defending the NFC champion Carolina Panthers in Week 1 in Baltimore, 21-19 and covering as 1-point Underdogs (36½, Over), edging the Colts in Indianapolis, 19-18 in Preseason Week 2 and also covering there as 3-point underdogs (39, Under) and then disposing of the Detroit Lions at M&T Bank Stadium in Crab City in Preseason Week 3, 30-9, and easily covering as 2½-point chalks (42, Under).

In the win over Detroit on Saturday night, the Ravens (18/1 to win to win AFC, Bovada) saw Starting QB Joe Flacco (ACL, MCL in Left Knee) and LB Terrell Suggs (Achilles) return from their respective Injuries but the night was marred when Free Agent Offseason signee TE Benjamin Watson (Injury Reserve) tore his Right Achilles on the first play from scrimmage while Rookie (Louisiana Tech) and 4th Round NFL Draft pick Kenneth Dixon left the game with a Knee Sprain with Watson's Injury looking to be more serious than Dixon's. Flacco (11/16, 94 yards) looked good in the two drives in which he was QB while the performances of backup QBs Ryan Mallett (10/15, 112 yards, TD) and Josh Johnson (4/6, 29 yards) has to give Baltimore (+350 to to win AFC North, Bovada, BetOnline) and Harbaugh some confidence with Flacco needing to be safe.

The Ravens Rushing game against Detroit was led by Terrance West (7 rushes, 43 yards) and Kenneth Dixon (6 rushes, 41 yards) while the Baltimore Receiving corps was led by Jeremy Butler (4 receptions, 43 yards, TD), Mike Wallace (3 receptions, 37 yards), Javorius Allen (4 receptions, 17 yards), Darren Waller (2 receptions, 28 yards) and Chris Moore (2 receptions, 26 yards). The Ravens (Regular Season Team Win Total 8 Over -135, BetDSI) seemingly improved Defense was led by Matt Judon (5 tackles, Sack), Anthony Levine (4 tackles, Sack) and Zachary Orr (4 tackles). Top Draft Pick OL Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame) continued to impress while Baltimore continues to deal with Injury problems to TEs Dennis Pitta (Probable) and Maxx Williams (Hamstring) and with looming pending Regular Season Suspensions coming for WR Darren Waller (4 games) and TE Nick Boyle (10 games), leaving them in a tough spot at Tight End.

But at RB, Baltimore has some depth with Justin Forsett, West and Buck Allen although Dixon had really shone this Preseason. One key Ravens cog on Offense who is may return here on Thursday night is WR Breshad Perriman (Questionable), who is presently awaiting clearance from Doctors while CBs Lardarius Webb (Questionable) and CB Kyle Arrington (Injury Reserve) have their own Injury issues heading in. Having Perriman back—whenever he returns—will be a huge boost for the Baltimore Offense.

New Orleans Saints
Quite complete the opposite of the Ravens, the New Orleans Saints (95/1 to win Super Bowl, 5Dimes) and 10th-year Head Coach Sean Payton (80-71-3 ATS) had an absolutely miserable month of August, going 0-3 SU in their first three NFL Preseason games and 0-3 ATS, so the Who Dats could really use a Win here for their heads and to not head into the Regular Season off such a poor Preseason. New Orleans (40/1 to win the NFC, BetOnline) lost its Preseason opener at New England, 34-22, losing as 3-point Underdogs at Gillette Stadium (38, Over), while in Preseason Week 2, the Saints lost 16-9 at Houston to an upstart Texans side in a Pick ‘em situation (41½).

And then last weekend on Friday in their Home opener here in The Big Easy and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Saints laid an egg, getting beat by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-14 and losing outright as 3-point Home chalks (44½). In the Loss for New Orleans—which is priced at a healthy +725 to win the NFC South at Online sportsbook Heritage, where new sign-ups get a 20% Cash Bonus—Saints Starting QB and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees (9/12, 78 yards TD) looked pretty decent in his time in while backup QBs Garrett Grayson (14/23, 128 yards, TD, 2 Interceptions, 54.3 QBR) and Luke McCown (4/48, 53 yards) reminded everyone why it's so crucial the 37-year-old Brees doesn't get hurt this season.

The New Orleans ground attack against Pittsburgh was led by Tim Hightower (8 rushes, 27 yards), Travaris Cadet (4 rushes, 24 yards), Clemson product CJ Spiller (4 rushes, 20 yards) and former Heisman Trophy winner and Alabama product Mark Ingram (7 rushes, 27 yards). The Saints Receiving Corps was led by Willie Snead (4 receptions, 58 yards, TD), RB Cadet (4 receptions, 42 yards), Tommylee Lewis (2 receptions, 41 yards TD), Rookie (Ohio State) WR Michael Thomas (1 reception, 23 yards) and Brandon Coleman (2 receptions, 20 yards). New Orleans (Regular Season Team Win Total 7 Over -125, 5Dimes)—who on Tuesday traded for DE Chris McCain and signed veteran OL Khalif Barnes—was led on Defense by Vonn Bell (6 tackles, 5 solo), Michael Mauti (5 tackles, 5 solo), Kenny Vaccaro (5 tackles) and De'Vante Harris (5 tackles). The Saints come into this Preseason Week 4 with Injuries to Tight End Michael Hoomanawanui (Questionable), RBs Daniel Lasco (Questionable) and Marcus Murphy (Questionable) while DB Jimmy Pruitt is Out.

Team and Totals Trends, Betting Approach in the Always Tentative NFL Preseason Week 4
With this being the fourth and final Preseason game and both starting QBs Brees (25/1 to Win NFL MVP, GTBets) and Flacco (30/1 Most Passing yards, GTBets) such precious commodities for each of these teams looking to improve this coming NFL Regular Season, expect both Head Coaches be extremely cautious with these two and for Mallett and Grayson to get the bulk of the snaps, although McCown should get more Playing Time for New Orleans and Flacco a little more than expected maybe with him just returning from Injury last week and a really big NFL Regular Season Week 1 date with the Buffalo Bills in Baltimore coming on Sunday, Sept. 11 (BAL -3 -113, 5Dimes) in what will be a tough Loss for the ultimate loser. The last time these two teams played was here at New Orleans on Nov. 24, 2014 in the Regular Season where the Ravens won 34-27 and covered outright as 3-point Underdogs (51, Over) and the Ravens and Flacco are 5-1 ATS in the L6 meetings against the Saints—a powerful Trend to go along with the 3-0 ATS mark Baltimore currently sports (and the 0-3 ATS mark New Orleans has) this Preseason and with the line being at 3½ almost everywhere, logic says take the points, that extra half-points and the better team. Desperation matters and a Win seems necessary but this Saints team may be pretty bad and its Defense will again be a huge question mark and potentially a huge liability.

Some Team Trends here: Baltimore is a sparkly 4-0 ATS its L4 Road games, the Ravens are 2-6-1 ATS their L9 Thursday games, 3-9-1 ATS their L13 games played in FieldTurf (Mercedes-Benz Superdome) and the Blackbirds are just 1-3-1 ATS their L5 in September. New Orleans is 6-2-1 ATS its L9 games on FieldTurf but the Saints are just 2-5-1 ATS in their L8 games in the month of September and definite fade material here on Thursday. The Over is 5-0-1 ATS the L6 Saints Home games, 4-1 the L5 Ravens game overall and 4-1 the L5 Baltimore games in September, but this is Preseason Week 4 and both Head Coaches will want to just get out of Nawlins alive and as healthy as possible, so even the 5-1 Over mark the L6 in this series has to be taken with a grain of salt.

The Under is 3-0-1 the L4 Saints Thursday games but the Over is 6-2 the L8 Saints games in September and with the football likely to be in the air so much, it's just too hard to recommended Totals play with an Over-friendly Site combined with the caution of it being Preseason Week 4. The best NFL picks here seem to be in backing the Ravens both +3½ (5Dimes) and at +165 (5Dimes) as Baltimore has the better team, the better backup QBs, is unbeaten this Preseason and has a Defense which has allowed an impressive 8.66 ppg and its three opponents just 3 TDs so far this Preseason.

PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Ravens 20 Saints 17
FREE NFL PICKS: Ravens +3½, Ravens +165 at 5Dimes
NFL PRESEASON PICKS RECORD SEASON TO DATE: 5-5-0

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