Bet Ravens +3.5 vs. Saints for Monday Night Football Pick

Jason Lake

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 3:10 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 3:10 PM UTC

Just when you thought it was okay to bet on New Orleans Saints, they go and drop back-to-back games at the Superdome. Now they have to face Baltimore, who haven’t been a consistent NFL pick either.

Jason’s record after Week 11: 29-43 ATS, 13-17-1 Totals

Profit: minus-45.95 units

Left is right, up is down, dogs sleeping with cats. The New Orleans Saints (4-6 SU and ATS) have played some unusually bad football in what has been a chaotic season of NFL betting, but at least there was a beacon of hope anytime the Saints played at the Superdome. Talk about home-field advantage: New Orleans was 8-0 SU and 7-0-1 ATS last year in the Big Easy. Not to mention 9-0 SU and ATS in 2011. We’ll ignore that 4-4 SU and ATS record during the Bountygate scandal in 2012.

But we can’t ignore these past two weeks. After rehabilitating their season with back-to-back wins, including a massive 44-23 victory at home over the Green Bay Packers (+2), the Saints have gone right back in the tank. They coughed up a late lead over the San Francisco 49ers (+6), losing 27-24 in overtime, and then they got rolled 27-10 by the Cincinnati Bengals (+8.5), both at the Superdome. Will anything change on Monday Night Football (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) when the Baltimore Ravens come to town? Baltimore is a 3-point puppy as we go to press.

Secondary Concerns
The sharps seem to have given up on New Orleans. According to our consensus reports, nearly 60 percent of bettors have been on Baltimore (6-4 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) since the open, although they had the chance to get the Ravens as high as +4. Most of our featured online sportsbooks at press time have the vigorish on the Saints at –125; some locations have moved to New Orleans –3.5 instead.

The Superdome had better produce some magic for the Saints this week. Otherwise, there’s no sense pretending that they come close to matching the Ravens on neutral ground. NFL odds has Baltimore pegged at plus-4.9 SRS, which ranks No. 8 in the league, while New Orleans is below sea level at minus-0.6 SRS, or No. 18 overall. In theory, it’s the Ravens who should be 3-point favorites.

The latest DVOA charts at Football Outsiders back up this evaluation. They’ve got Baltimore sitting at No. 3 overall in efficiency (No. 12 offense, No. 7 defense, No. 1 special teams), while the Saints are slumming it at No. 16 overall (No. 5 offense, No. 30 defense, No. 14 special teams). Whatever adjustments they made to their defense during the bye week, they’re not sticking. And they lost another starter when FS Rafael Bush broke his leg last week against Cincinnati, joining FS Jairus Byrd on injured reserve.

No Wick for the Rested
Providing the opposition Monday will be a relatively fresh Ravens team coming off their own bye week. There’s plenty to like about these Ravens, but consistency isn’t one of them; they haven’t strung together more than two ATS wins or losses all season. They also haven’t been very good on the road at 2-3 SU and 1-3-1 ATS. And while the Saints have played the No. 23-ranked strength of schedule coming out of the dirty NFC South, Baltimore’s schedule has been even worse at No. 26.

What happened to the bye week advantage, anyway? Teams coming off that extra rest are just 10-16 SU and 10-15-1 ATS this season. Take out games where rested teams faced each other, and it gets even worse at 7-13 SU and 7-12-1 ATS. It’s been one of those years. We’re betting on Baltimore anyway, so for this NFL pick I'll just have to say; "may the prolate spheroid be with us all".


The Five Stars
Depth/Travel/Rest: BAL
Defense/Special Teams: BAL
Coaching: NO
Market Bias: BAL
Betting Line Value: BAL

Verdict: 3-star pick on BAL

Free NFL Pick: Bet 5.5 units on the Ravens +3.5 at Bodog

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