Baltimore Ravens (5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (8-1 SU, 8-1 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 1:00 PM EST
Where: AT&T Stadium
TV: Direct TV
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread:BALT +7.5/ DALL -7.5
The surging Dallas Cowboys will look to win their ninth straight game against an AFC North foe in consecutive weeks. Last Sunday, Dallas defeated the Steelers 35-30 as 3-point road underdogs in a game that wasn't decided until the final 10 seconds. The Cowboys were outgained by 26 yards and lost the stats for just the second time this season. The Ravens will be coming off a mini BYE, as they defeated the Cleveland Browns 28-7 as 7.5-point home chalk last Thursday. Baltimore outgained Cleveland by a whopping 252 yards, but are just 4-5 in the stats this season.
The Cowboys' offense is proving to be a top-notch unit so far this season led by the league's top-ranked offensive line. Dallas is ranked 3rd in yards per game and 4th in points per game. The defense gives up a lot of yards (345.7 per game), but they have done a good job holding teams to Field Goals once they enter the red-zone. Dallas is ranked 8th in points against, allowing 18.9 points per game. Baltimore will enter this game with the league's top-ranked defense, allowing just 281.6 yards per game and just 17.8 points per contest. I love backing NFL teams with the better defense (yards & scoring) of 7 or more points. This simple but profitable system has gone 62-34-9 ATS since 1998. The key to betting this system is to make sure you get at least 7.5 points. As we all know, 7 is a key number in the NFL.
The first thing you have ask yourself when handicapping this game is as follows. Will the Ravens be able to contain this Cowboys' running attack led by Ezekiel Elliott, who barring injury is a LOCK for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Ravens are allowing just 71.3 rushing yards per game which is tops in the league. That's a good start. Lets dig deeper into the Ravens' run stopping unit. Baltimore is ranked No. 1 against the run, allowing 2.99 adjusted line yards by Football Outsiders. Dallas is ranked 13th in the very same stat. Oakland's offensive line is ranked No. 2 and Baltimore held the Raiders to just 62 yards in their 1-point home loss in early October. I realize the Cowboys boast better talent at the RB position than Oakland. However, this will be best defense that Dallas has faced so far this year. Baltimore has held its opponent to 20 points or fewer in six of the nine games so far this season. That's the same exact number as the host.
This also could be a flat spot for the Cowboys. They have a big division game on Thanksgiving against the Redskins. I don't think the Cowboys will be motivated to blow the Ravens out. Having to play on Thursday after a Sunday game does have an effect on the overall usage of key starters. Baltimore has played a lot of close games and in fact haven't lost by more than 8 points this season. The Ravens average loss has been by only 4.75 points. I think this line is somewhat inflated. I have Dallas at minus -6 points heavily biased due to the fact the Cowboys have a Thanksgiving Day game against Washington four days after this contest. The Public likes Dallas in this game and that shouldn't surprise anyone. The casual bettor loves backing the better offensive team and/or the team with the better record. At one high-limit sportsbook, 73% of the bets have been place on the Cowboys as of Wednesday evening.
Baltimore's defense is ranked No. 5, while the Cowboys are ranked No. 14 by Football Outsiders. The offense is a completely different story. Dallas is ranked No. 2, while the Ravens are ranked No. 32. I still believe the Ravens will able to score enough points against this Cowboys' defense, which is really "nicked" up in the secondary. Dallas is allowing their opponent's signal caller to throw for a 98.3 QB rating, which is the highest of any winning team this year. I kook for Steve Smith Sr. to have a monster game, as he normally puts up big numbers against the Cowboys. On the flip side, the Ravens' defense is allowing a QB rating of 82.4. Baltimore is well-coached and have been fantastic under John Harbaugh as an underdog of more than 7 points. He's cashing 75% as an underdog of 7.5 or more points in Non-Conference games in his career. The Ravens are 7-1 ATS off a win against a division rival over the past three seasons. The Cowboys are 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 home games.
Jeff's Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Baltimore Ravens +7.5
The Underdog in Cowboy games are on a 20-9 ATS run. NFL home favorites are just 13-32 ATS after playing the Steelers with Mike Tomlin as head coach. I can't resist taking the leagues top-ranked defense as more than a TD underdog. I'm going against Jo Public and will back the Ravens plus +7.5 points in this spot.
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