NFL betting sites are going gaga over the Baltimore Ravens. Before the season began you may have thought betting the Super Bowl was going to come down to the Pats and the Chiefs. Or the Rams again. And if you still do, well, then Judas Priest (you’ve got another thing comin’). As a matter of fact, the Baltimore Ravens have the second-best odds (+550) to win Super Bowl LIV. Second only to the New England Patriots. Whom the Ravens have already beaten this season. That was what football pundits like to call a “signature win”. Baltimore defeated, in a very convincing manner (37-20), what was at the time one of only two undefeated teams. The Ravens offense exposed what at the moment was one of the best defenses in the league. And their defense sacked twice and intercepted once the greatest quarterback of all time.
Not too shabby. With such forward momentum going, it’s no wonder Baltimore beat the stripes off the Bengals 49-13 the following week. Which was last week; that is, Week 10. Starting QB Lamar Jackson alone gained 288 all-purpose yards (223 passing, 65 rushing). It was such a dominant performance that the Ravens could afford the luxury of dusting off Robert Griffin III. And true to his fame, or rather infamy, RG3 managed to throw a pick, although he only attempted five passes.
But even the Griffin curse is not enough to get NFL betting sites to jump off Baltimore’s gravy train. Or to slow the Ravens down. The Black Birds led the NFL in points (33.3) and rushing yards (197.2) per game. And rank second total yards per game (421.7). The passing offense is not quite on par. Nor does it need to be, when you have Jackson’s educated feet. By the way, he leads the league in rushing yards per game (78.0) and per carry (6.6). The defense could also be better, but then again it could be a lot worse as well.
Baltimore’s ATS (4-4-1) record is not as stellar as its straight-up record (7-2). However, the Ravens have covered their last three straight games; twice as underdogs. And since we’re talking gambling, let’s talk about other Super Bowl candidates. That’s a subject that cannot be broached without mentioning the Patriots. New England experienced a reality check in Week 9, and the truth hurt. We won’t discuss it further, though, because we already mentioned it above. Suffice it to say that the Patriots entered that game with 8-0 SU and 6-2 ATS records. NFL betting sites favored them by three points. And even that may have been too optimistic. Up until then, the Pats had not beaten a team with a winning record. Or even played one for that matter.
This lack of adequate competition took its toll. When they finally met a real team they were as lost as a chicken running around with its head cut off. It was not pretty but it certainly was going to happen sooner or later. Furthermore, it needed to happen. New England immediately had a week off to lick their wounds. They return to face the Eagles, who have a winning record, but just barely. All of which is to say is that we see the Pats shifting gears in the second half of the season. Philly might just be the start of another winning streak.
That leaves us with the San Francisco 49ers in a similar position as the Patriots. The Niners just had their winning streak snapped by the Seahawks. It was a very defensive yet very exciting game that went down to the wire. Actually, Seattle may have just insinuated itself into the Super Bowl conversation. But we have just about run out of space, so that conversation we’ll have some other day.