The divisional playoffs begin today and the Baltimore Ravens will travel to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots. The game has a start time of 4:35 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on NBC. Current Vegas betting odds have the Patriots listed as 7 point favorites, while the total is set at 48.
Analysis: The Baltimore Ravens suffered a crucial loss at Houston in week 16 of the season, but a home win in week 17 vs Cleveland coupled with a loss by the Chargers gave the Ravens a ticket to the playoffs. Well they used that ticket wisely in the wildcard round with a solid win vs Pittsburgh on the road. Now they head to Foxboro where they are 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS in their last 3 playoff games vs the Pats. Baltimore is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 playoff road games and 13-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, but just 4-11-1 ATS in their last 16 vs. AFC. Baltimore's offense has been very solid this year, ranking 12th in total yards, 13th in passing, 8th in rushing and 8th in scoring (25.6 ppg). The defense for this team has also been solid, as they come in ranked 8th in yards allowed, 23rd vs the pass, 4th vs the run and 6th in points allowed (18.9 ppg).
The New England Patriots have gained the top seed in the playoffs on the AFC side. For the year they have gone 12-4 overall, which includes a 7-1 mark at home. the problem for them here may be thae fact that they have struggled at home vs the Ravens in the playoffs. The Pats are 0-3 ATS and 1-2 SU at home vs the Ravens in their last 3 playoff meetings. New England is 8-0 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record and 36-15-1 ATS in their last 52 games following a S.U. loss, but just 3-10 ATS in their last 13 playoff games. The Patriots have been a very solid offensive team this year, ranking 11th in total yards, 9th in passing, 17th in rushing and 4th in scoring (29.2 ppg). The defense for the Patriots has been solid as well, ranking 13th in yards allowed, 17th vs the pass, 9th vs the run and 8th in points allowed (19.6 ppg).
Pick: I will be going with the Patriots in this one. The Ravens have played well at this venue in the playoffs recently, but this Pats team is very good and very focused and has been destroying teams at home, with each of their last 4 home wins coming by 22 points or more. The Ravens last week had good success on defense vs the Steelers, but Pittsburgh was also without Leveon Bell, which really hampered their offense. The Pats offense is healthy and their run game has been outstanding when they want to run it and you can bet they will in this one. That will really open up plenty of throwing lanes for Brady downfield. That will not at all be good for a ravens secondary that is beat up and that has allowed 280 yards passing per game on the road this year, which is exactly what Brady throws for at home. For the year the Ravens have allowed 23.2 ppg on the road, while the Pats have allowed 16.8 ppg at home. The Pats clearly have the better offense and better defense in this one and playing at home with legit playoff revenge should have them fully motivated here. Baltimore just will not come up with enough plays on offense or defense to keep this one close.
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