The bottom has fallen out of the Baltimore Ravens' 2015 campaign. But there are some people out there who are willing to put the Ravens in their Week 7 NFL picks.
Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 21: 21-15 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 14-23 Total
It'd be silly to pull the plug on the John Harbaugh-Joe Flacco Era. Under Harbaugh's coaching and Flacco's steady hand, the Baltimore Ravens have been to the playoffs six times in seven seasons, winning Super Bowl XLVII along the way. But it doesn't look like this is Baltimore's year. Injuries, ineffective play and bad luck have the Ravens at 1-5 (0-5-1 ATS) to start the 2015 campaign.
It's probably going to get worse from here. This Monday night (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), the Ravens fly westward to meet the Arizona Cardinals, who are threatening to run away with the NFC West division. But the Cardinals have dropped two of three to sit at 4-2 SU and ATS heading into Week 7. Hmmmm... this wouldn't be one of those “buy low, sell high” situations, would it?
Perhaps. The Ravens opened as 7.5-point road dogs (–125) on our NFL odds board, but it was Arizona pulling in 97-percent consensus from first responders. At press time, Baltimore has moved to +9 (–125), with 63 percent of early bettors still preferring the Cardinals. Seems the sharps have little interest in a Ravens team that has yet to cover the spread this season.
Or do they? Our first expanded consensus figures have been published, and while the Cards are collecting nearly 60 percent of the action on Monday night's game, Baltimore actually has the higher average bet size at $82 to Arizona's $70. Interesting. Ah, but at the same time, our surveys show four $1000+ bets on the Cardinals and just two on the Ravens. It's early in the week, but for now, we can say there are at least some intrepid souls out there who think Baltimore's worth a shot in this situation.
They could be right. Football Outsiders has released its DVOA numbers through Week 6, and Baltimore ranks in the top half of the league in efficiency at No. 13 overall (No. 16 offense, No. 18 defense, No. 4 special teams). That's pretty good for a 1-5 team. According to Estimated Wins, the Ravens should be 3-3. Which makes sense, given the way Baltimore coughed up late fourth-quarter leads in four of its five losses.
The Ravens might be a value NFL pick in general, but on Monday, they're facing the best team in the league – again, according to DVOA. The No. 1 Cardinals (No. 3 offense, No. 4 defense, No. 13 special teams) were thoroughly dominant in their four wins, and their two losses were by a combined 10 points. Arizona's also much healthier than Baltimore at the moment. It's going to be a tough call, but we'll return with our verdict later this week.