Baltimore Ravens (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: September 20th, 4:05 PM ET
Where: O.co Coliseum
TV: Direct TV Sunday Ticket, CBS locally
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: Balt -6/ Oak +6
Over/Under Total: 43
Two teams looking for their first win of the season after opening Week losses. The Ravens looked and played better against a tough opponent (Denver) at home. Baltimore lost 19-13 as 4.5-point road dogs. Denver outgained Baltimore 219-176. That is not a misprint. Both defenses played super. The Raiders looked awful in their blowout loss at home against the Bengals. There was some bad luck involved as quarterback Derek Carr, both starting safeties Charles Woodson and Nate Allen left with injuries. Nate Allen is expected back in Week 10 while Derek Carr and Charles Woodson are listed as questionable. Actually, Woodson is now listed as doubtful as the update just crossed the wire. Oakland was outgained 396-246 and looked lost on both sides of the ball. I was wrong as I picked the Raiders to cover 3.5 points on these pages last Week. Still, I went a solid 3-1 with my NFL selections.
So, now I get the Raiders game for the second straight Week. I never want to overreact to what happened last Week, but can we really trust the Raiders especially with a backup (possibly) at quarterback? Than I look at the Ravens side of things. They managed just 117 passing yards to go with 73 rushing yards on offense. The big difference to me is that the Ravens played a very very good defense at high-altitude, while the Raiders couldn’t get out of their own way. Second straight home game after losing at home with no rest. Those underdog teams normally cover at a high percentage. I am done with the Raiders for now after how pathetic they looked against a good but not great Bengals squad.
According to ESPN’s NFL Power Index, the Ravens rank No. 9 (2.6 FPI) while the Raiders are ranked No. 31 (-8.3 FPI). That’s the biggest gap of any matchup this Week. They (ESPN stats & Info) love the Ravens in this game. Seems too easy though. The Odds-makers are some of the sharpest handicappers around. So, why are the Ravens only giving 6 points. Yes, they are on the road after playing a very physical game. Baltimore is very thin at wide receiver, but Oakland has major flaws in their secondary. There has to be something else. Losing Terrell Suggs for the year doesn’t help the Ravens defense. He’s been a huge play-maker during his career. Maybe they know Derek Carr will start. Maybe it doesn’t matter and they saw Matt McGloin complete 23-of-31 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns. McGloin has a career passing rating of 76.4 while Carr checks in a 76.5.
Lets go to Las Vegas and check in on what they think. Baltimore, which held the Broncos without an offensive touchdown check in at No. 8 while the Raiders are No. 28, which is down significantly from Week one (16). Las Vegas Power rankings agree heavily with ESPN Stats and Info, that the Ravens are elite while the Raiders might be picking first in the NFL draft next year. The jury is still out on both.
This 6-point line came out very late. Too many injuries on both teams. The home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. Baltimore defeated Oakland 55-20 as 9.5-point home chalk back in 2012. Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three scores to a very different group of receivers than what you will see in this game. Oakland has gone 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a SU loss. Proceed with caution.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Pass
I can make a strong case for both sides. When that happens, it’s best to stay away and look elsewhere.
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