Baltimore Ravens (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Sunday, October 7th, 2012/1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
TV: CBS/DirecTV 708
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bal -5/KC +5
Over/Under Total: 46.5
It’s never a good sign when your week five game in the National Football League is a must-win scenario, but that’s exactly what it’s come down to for the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend.
The good news is that the game is at home in hostile Arrowhead Stadium, but the bad news is that it’s against the Baltimore Ravens, who were a field goal away from the Super Bowl last year and have to be the early odds on favorite in the AFC again this year.
The Chiefs task will be hard as they try and save their season for one more week, while the Ravens try and continue their roll in early AFC-on-AFC action this Sunday on CBS.
Kansas City fell to 1-3 following last week’s very disappointing loss at home to AFC West rival San Diego, 37-20, but with six turnovers and nine penalties I’m not sure if they ever gave themselves a chance to win.
The Ravens survived a late rally by the Browns, but it should have never been that close in their, 23-16, win last Thursday night. Baltimore has played four good football games and has shown the consistency you’d expect from a team determined to get another shot.
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There has been quite a bit of betting line movement early on in this game too, with the oddsmakers opening it with the Ravens as 6-point favorites on the road and then quickly having to drop the number down to minus -5 or -4.5 in order to counter the sharp money coming in on the home dog Chiefs. There are a few offshore sportsbooks still as high as Ravens minus -5.5, so a little rebound is already taking place.
The over/under total opened at 46 and has moved up the hook to 46.5 at just about every sportsbook in Las Vegas and offshore.
Offensively there could be some points scored on Sunday, because neither defense is playing the same this season.
Baltimore has given up a ton of yardage in the passing game (296 ypg – 39th), partly because their offense is scoring 30 a game and putting teams in the hole early, and partly because of the lack of Terrell Suggs on the edge. Since the Chiefs are a running team, ranked 2nd in the league at 174 yards a game, it doesn’t look like the Chiefs will take advantage of the weakness with an air attack, unless they get behind by multiple scores real fast again.
The Chiefs defense is an enigma to me, and probably many others who thought they’d be one of the AFC’s best units. Kansas City doesn’t give up many yards (334 ypg – 13th), especially passing (216 ypg – 12th), but they always seem to give up big plays. The Chiefs are 12th against the pass, yet they’ve given up 11 touchdown passes this season over the top, and at 34 points allowed each game, big plays and a lack of turnovers (only 3 so far) are killing them.
Baltimore QB Joe Flacco is throwing the ball better than ever, and at 310 yards a game so far (4th) in the air each game, he’s making defenses pay for stacking the box to try and stop Ray Rice. With Rice running and Flacco hitting his spots in play-action, I’m not sure the Chiefs defense has shown the ability to stop them at all Sunday.
The last time these two met on the gridiron Baltimore disposed of the Chiefs at Arrowhead in the 2010 Wild Card playoffs, 30-7. It’s been nothing but downhill fast for the Chiefs ever since, while the Ravens ran their head-to-head win streak with the Chiefs to three games (3 game ATS streak too).
Two of the most recent head-to-head betting trends favor the Ravens in this game, including the fact that the favorite is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings, at the same time the road team is 5-1 ATS in the last six games.
However there is a very interesting trend developing THIS season in the NFL, where a team that lost by double digits the week before is not only 16-4 SU the very next week, but also 15-3-2 ATS the next week too. If nothing else, a bet for the Chiefs this week is a bet for parity to rule the 2012 NFL season.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The old saying “when it looks too good to be true, it probably is” is surely in effect here. Balt opened at -6 and the line has dropped to KC +5.5 yet 80% of the public are betting on the Ravens? This is one of the fishiest lines I’ve seen in quite some time. Take the Chiefs as a home dog plus the 5 points.
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