Just one year after winning the AFC North and becoming Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens are once again co-favorites to win the AFC North at most NFL odds shops. This season the Ravens are +190 in the AFC North divisional future odds, so is there enough value to be able to bet on the Ravens to repeat as divisional champs?
When I say no one saw them coming last season, I'm just saying they didn't do anything spectacular in the regular-season nor in their ATS records to warrant much attention in a future odds bet. They lost four of their last five games SU. Even after winning the Super Bowl and winning all those tough games on the road, the Ravens still ended up on the season and postseason 10–9–1 against the spread. Baltimore was 5-4-1 ATS on the road including the playoffs, and they were only 2-3-1 ATS against their own division. Even though they were 4-2 SU against their division, it doesn’t bode well now that they are the champs and everyone will be coming for their heads.
The odds for the Ravens are courtesy of LVH Sportsbook in Las Vegas, and right now they also have the Steelers and the Bengals priced exactly the same to win the AFC North. I have to conclude the Ravens don't hold a lot of value the season, whether we like it or not.
Interestingly enough, Baltimore did hold a little bit of value against the spread in one area last season. They were 8–6 ATS in non-divisional games last season including the playoffs. This season their non-divisional games in the first half of their schedule are not very kind. A trip to Denver opens the season, they play Houston in Week 3, they go to Miami in Week 5 and then go back home the next week to welcome in the Packers. All four of these games happen before they play the Steelers for the first time, which happens to be in Pittsburgh the week after they play the Packers. With those four difficult non-divisional games as four their first seven games, would you bet the Ravens at less than 2 to 1 to win the division?
The answer is no. The Ravens have lost too much on their defense, and even though their offense will likely still be rather good, I don't think their defense has enough depth to do some of the things they did in their 2012 postseason run. If losing all their guys wasn't enough, their tough schedule and division are the last two straws. I cannot trust Baltimore this season. I’ll stop just short of saying they'll be a good fade considering they went just above .500 against the spread last season, but it would surprise me greatly if they somehow were more than mildly profitable for our NFL Picks again in 2013.