Baltimore Ravens vs. Buffalo Bills Pick 12/8/19

by | Dec 4, 2019 | nfl

Baltimore Ravens (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (9-3 SU, 8-3-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, December 8, 1:00 PM EST
Where: New Era Field, Orchard Park, NY

Point Spread: Balt –5.5 / Buff +5.5 (BetAnySports)
Over/Under Total: 43.5

Lamar Jackson brings his magic show to upstate New York for an AFC contest between his Baltimore Ravens and the Buffalo Bills. These teams have only lost a combined five games on the year, so this could be a preview of a game we see again in January. 5Dimes has made the visiting Ravens 5.5 point favorites and set the point total at 43½. The play in this one is to join the Bills mafia and lay the points with the home dogs. Here is the handicap.

Baltimore Can’t Run Wild Against the Bills

Jackson has led Baltimore to eight consecutive wins, with five successive double-digit victories before last week’s win by a field goal against the 49ers. Jackson has played at an MVP level during the past two months, rushing at a historic pace for a quarterback, while being near the top of the league in passing touchdowns. He is completing 66% of his passes while only throwing five interceptions. Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards both average more than 5 yards per attempt while the team averages over 200 rushing yards per game. The Ravens run the most complex running game in recent NFL history, confusing defenders with the pre-snap motion before varying their attack between power and finesse. The passing game motion and play-action often gets receivers wide open for key first downs. Last week San Francisco kept the Raven attack under 300 total yards for the first time since week 5, and I look for Buffalo to keep the Ravens under control this week.

The Bills defense comes in 3rd in the league allowing only 15 points per game. They have played one of the softer schedules, but they have only twice given up more than 20 points. Coach Sean McDermott is one of the best defensive minds in the NFL, coaching one of the league’s toughest squad – which has created a winning combination. The Ravens were wearing teams out to the point that their opponents had no desire to tackle their bruising runners in the second halves of games. Buffalo will be intense for 60 minutes, punishing Jackson every time he leaves the pocket with the ball. The Bills match up well in their base personnel against the three tight end alignment of Baltimore and have the team speed to contain Jackson as well as any team.

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Buffalo’s Offense Is Underrated

Josh Allen has shown significant improvement in his sophomore season. He has completed 62% of his passes in leading the Bills to 21 points per game. But Buffalo’s offensive identity is very similar to Baltimore’s. They want to run the ball and control the clock. Buffalo is 9th in the league in time of possession, led by rookie running back Devin Singletary. Singletary has taken over for the ageless Frank Gore as the lead back, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Josh Allen does his part in the running attack as well, gaining 35 yards per game while reaching the endzone eight times through the first 12 games – once more than Jackson has. Buffalo is third in the league in total rushing, averaging 175 yards over the last three games. Buffalo should be able to have success on the ground and keeping the ball out of the hands of the Baltimore offense.

Baltimore’s defense has been good all year, but very good over the last month. They have been playing from ahead, often by wide margins allowing their pass rushers to pin their ears back and get after quarterbacks. Their secondary has become one of the best in the league, but their rushing defense can be exploited. San Fran scurried for 174 yards last week, the third time in 4 games opponents have exceeded 120 rushing yards against the Ravens. Buffalo will have to run to set up play-action and have Allen make some plays off script either passing to John Brown or scrambling. McDermott knows that if his team gets behind and Allen has to throw on every down, it will be a long day for his signal-caller, so look for the Bills to work the clock and do everything they can to stay within one score heading to the 4th quarter. This is the same script the 49ers used last week that gave them a chance to win in Baltimore.

There Is Line Value on the Bills

Buffalo has the third-best record in the AFC and will be the number 1 seed if they win the rest of their games. They have been criticized for beating up a bad schedule, but they can’t control who their opponents are. Buffalo manhandled the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving, winning as 6 point underdogs. In fact, they have the best ATS record in the league, which implies they are exceeding expectations. The Ravens may be the best team in the league and are certainly the most entertaining. But this line suggests Baltimore would be 11 point favorites if this game were played at home. Buffalo has one of the strongest home-field advantages, and there may be a wind whipping on the shores of Lake Erie on Sunday. This game should come down to a field goal, just as last week’s game between Baltimore and San Fran, 5.5 points is too much for the Bills to be laying at home this week.

Play the Home Dogs in Buffalo

Buffalo getting 5.5 points at home is the play this week when the Ravens come calling. Buffalo matches up well with the Ravens and could pull off the upset, but should be able to keep the game within the number.

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