The NFL Preseason gets underway this week with a jam-packed menu of games to bet on. We spot the clash between the Saints and the Ravens, slated on Thursday’s early card.
Baltimore Ravens Host the Saints In Preseason Opener
M&T Bank Stadium is going to be hopping at 5:30 PM CT on Thursday with the first preseason football kick off when the Ravens and Saints collide, ringing in the start of their warmup campaign for the coming 2015-2016 NFL betting season. For the Saints, the 2015-2016 season is about wiping the slate clean, putting behind them a dismal 7-9 SU account. For the Ravens (10-6 SU in 2014), they’ll be looking to pick up from where they left off after a sensation run in the NFL playoffs that saw them very nearly go forward to the AFC Championship game, only for the Patriots to rally from behind and steal their thunder.
Looking Back to 2014 Preseason
Last year, the Ravens went a perfect 4-0 SU in the preseason. They opened the preseason with a resounding 23-3 win over the Niners at M&T, followed with a 37-30 win over Dallas on the road and a 23-17 win over Washington at home, before closing their preparations with a convincing 23-13 win over, ironically, the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints, meanwhile, went a solid 3-1 SU, with the only loss being the aforementioned loss to the Ravens at the Dome. Otherwise, they did rather well, beginning with a 26-24 win over St. Louis, then beating the Titans 31-24 at home and overcoming the Colts 23-17 on the road.
Preseason clearly isn’t indicative of what to expect from a team in the actual season, as evinced by the contrasting fortunes of both these sides despite solid preparations in August. In any event, it still serves as a preview of sorts and it’s sure to tickle your NFL betting senses.
NFL Betting Odds for Ravens vs. Saints
As it is, the Ravens roll into week 1 NFL Preseason betting as the 3-point favorites against the spread, while the total is trading at 37.5 with both OVER and UNDER priced at -110. The Ravens return in 2015 with essentially the same team that saw them reach the divisional round of the playoffs and lose 35-31 to eventual champions New England Patriots. There’s a lot to like about the Ravens on the offensive side of the ball, with the experience of Joe Flacco and his familiarity with his many weapons including Steve Smith and Justin Forsett. As far as offense goes, this is a well-oiled machine.
It’s the preseason though so we’re sure to see more from backups than the regulars. Matt Schaub, who led the Texans to the AFC South title two years ago, has lots of experience as a starter and that gives the Ravens an added edge over the Saints, who – let’s face it – don’t have much beyond Drew Brees. The Saints’ starter is hardly going to play the full 60 minutes. The lion’s share of action will most likely be seen by Luke McCown.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens were 8th overall in total defense last season, well above the 31st ranked Saints in the same category. Where they were the strongest was on rushing defense, finishing 4th in the league with 88.3 yards per game. Where they have room for improvement is against the pass, finishing 23rd in the league last season.
Going into this season, their defense looks to be stout as ever even with some of the departures. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Durnevil loom large and menacing – the pair combined for 27 sacks last season. The Saints
Saints vs. Ravens NFL Betting Verdict
Last season, the pair met twice (once in preseason and once in regular season action) with the Saints losing both games. They lost 22-13 in preseason and 34-27 in week 12 NFL betting, both games featuring at the M&T Stadium. It’s more likely than not that the Saints’ negative trend against the Ravens will continue this Thursday. Given the Ravens have home edge, the better team overall (both where regulars go and backups, who are sure to play the lion’s share of the game), we’re backing the Ravens on our NFL picks, particularly at the rather low 3-point spread.
NFL Picks: Ravens -3.0 at BetOnline