Not easy to play vs. Brady/Belichick combo in meaningful games! But, Baltimore is a proven playoff commodity with a recent Super Bowl Championship under the now familiar duo of Harbaugh/Flacco.
Baltimore vs. New England (-7/47-) 4:35 ET NBC
New England enters the playoffs off a home field loss to Buffalo 2 weeks ago. Having already clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC, the Patriots had little for which to play. In a rather lethargic game, Buffalo emerged with a 17-9 victory and a narrow 268-260 yardage edge. Clearly, New England did not make this game a priority. There are plenty of positives for New England. Let’s start with the strong home field, where they went 7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS, outscoring the opposition by an average score of 33-17. The Patriots have also been a solid play at this price point of late, standing 20-9 ATS as home chalk to -8. New England played their best against fellow playoff teams this season with a 4-1 SU ATS mark. Following a lethargic 2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS start and roughly correlating with the emergence of Gronkowski, the Patriots finished the season on a 10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS run. This is a veteran team who has made playoff appearances in 12/14 previous years. One of the areas of fundamental excellence is a strong pass defense, well equipped to control the passing game of the Ravens. A major negative for New England is their recent playoff mark on this field of just 3-7 ATS on NFL betting odds.
Baltimore enters these playoffs courtesy of a final week meltdown by San Diego. A win by the Chargers (or loss by Baltimore) would have put San Diego in the playoffs. Despite a 361-251 yardage edge over the Chiefs, they lost 19-7 due to a -3 net TO edge. That defeat inspired Baltimore in the 2nd half, as they rallied for a 20-10 home field victory vs. Cleveland with a dominant 419-259 yardage edge. Taking advantage of their good fortune, Baltimore won last week at Pittsburgh (30-17). It would be more accurate to say that the Steelers lost the game, as 3 critical TOs greased the skid for Pittsburgh, who passed for 319 yards against a still suspect Baltimore pass defense that allows 65% completions. Despite that road victory, Baltimore is just 5-4 SU ATS on the road this season. And despite that win at Pittsburgh, the Ravens are just 2-6 SU ATS vs. winning teams. But, QB Flacco has prospered under the guidance of 1st year OC Kubiak (former Houston HC). The Ravens have averaged 27 PPG in the last 13 games. Under the duo of HC Harbaugh and QB Flacco, the Ravens have played their best in the post season, including a Super Bowl Championship 2 years ago. In fact, they have covered 6 consecutive playoff games. On the playoff road, the Ravens have gone a righteous 7-4 SU, 8-3 ATS with the Harbaugh/Flacco tandem.
In a game where the respective pass defenses favor QB Brady over QB Flacco, I will offer an opinion only on the Baltimore Ravens at this price point as our NFL pick, considering the recent inverted home/road dichotomy of these two teams in their recent playoff histories.
Free NFL Pick: Take Baltimore