After reviewing the betting trends, stats and NFL odds, this handicapper has made up his mind as to where the value is to be had for this Monday Night Football match between Ravens & Saints.
Baltimore Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints (-3/50-) 8:40 ET ESPN
A quick look at the standings shows us that host, New Orleans, is leading the NFC South division, while Baltimore is the last team in the AFC North division. Standings can be confusing, however, as the division leading Saints are just 4-6 SU, as the 4 teams in their division have a combined 13-29-1 record. Baltimore, conversely, plays in the rugged AFC North where the combined record of the teams is 27-15-1.
Baltimore surely has good feelings about coming to this site. For it is here that they won the 2013 Super Bowl over the 49ers by a score of 34-31. They enter well rested following their bye week. When last we left Baltimore, they were defeating Tennessee November 9th on their home field by a score of 21-7 for our NFL GOY winner. Life on the road has not been as profitable for Baltimore, however, as they are on a 2-7 ATS away slide, including 2-3 SU ATS this season. Fundamentally, the Ravens bring the better defense, allowing just 18 PPG on 335 YPG. Baltimore is strong defending the point of attack allowing 84/3.4 overland. But playing as the visiting team in tonight’s atmosphere will be a stiff challenge.
For several years, New Orleans has had the best home record in the NFL. This year, their schedule was front loaded with road games, as they played 5 of their first 8 on the road with a record of 1-4 SU. It was thought the combination of their strong home field and 5 home games in the 2nd half of the season would assure them of a division crown against a weak group of teams. But, the Saints have stumbled badly the last two weeks on this field, losing 27-24 to San Fran 2 weeks ago, in OT, then 17-10 last week to Cinci. In that contest, New Orleans was outrushed 185-75 by the Bengals. Nonetheless, we are betting on the bounce by the Saints tonight. For starters, NFL home teams who lost the 1st two games of a 3-game home stand are a strong 18-5 ATS bounceback. Despite the missteps of the previous 2 weeks, New Orleans still has extraordinarily strong home numbers. They are 27-10 ATS as single digit home favorite, 17-7 ATS home/loss, and under HC Payton, they are 20-2 SU, 18-3-1 ATS on this field. QB Brees leads an offense that completes 70% of its passes and averages 425 YPG (2nd only to Indy in that category). Look for a huge bounceback by New Orleans on their strong home field.
An even stronger recommendation for this NFL pick comes with the OVER. Again this week, both the Thursday and Sunday primetime games went OVER the posted total. That means primetime games are now 28-8 ATS OVER, including 17-2 OVER in non-division contests. Backed by a league wide non-conference situation that has cashed 75/100 times to the OVER, we confidently step in with a Top of the Ticket play.
Free NFL Pick: Over 50.5 at 5Dimes