Bet of the Day – Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs, Jan. 9, 2011

Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5), Over/Under 40

No bet of the day yesterday.  Seattle shocked the NFC and the Jets finished off the Colts with a last second field goal.  The Ravens are the road favorite in their third straight playoff appearance.  The Chiefs haven’t been in the playoffs since 2006.  They haven’t won in the playoffs since 1994.  Don’t put too much stock in the Oakland loss last week; they didn’t have much to play for in that game.  These teams didn’t meet in the regular season.  Expecting this to be a close game.

The Ravens (12-4) finished the season with 4 straight wins.  They forced 12 turnovers in those games and their run defense was strong.  Their pass defense is vulnerable.  The Ravens average 5.3 yards per play (YPP) and 14.5 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.2 YPP and 18.9 YPPT.  They are an efficient team.  QB Joe Flacco average 7.41 yards per attempt (YPA) with 25 TDs and 10 INTs for a 93.6 QB rating.  The Ravens face a good defense today.  Will they be able to move the ball against a good defense on the road?

Kansas City (10-6) was a surprise AFC West winner this year.  They have run the ball well and play good defense.  They are even better at home; 7-1 averaging 9.3 points per game over their opponents at home.  Despite that stat, they didn’t play a very tough schedule.  The Chiefs average 5.4 YPP and 15.3 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.3 YPP and 16.2 YPPT.  They don’t force many turnovers; this is the difference in their YPPT and Baltimore’s.  QB Matt Cassel averages 6.92 YPA with 27 TDs and 7 INTs for a 93.0 QB rating.  The Chiefs’ strength is their run game.  Against the excellent Ravens’ run defense, they will need to move the ball through the air too.  Will there be 2 home underdog upsets this weekend?

The Sagarin Ratings have Baltimore 27.78 and Kansas City 19.20.  With the 2.11 home advantage, the fair line is Baltimore -6.47.

My NFL model predicts Kansas City 21.37 over Baltimore 20.95.  Kansas City runs the ball more effectively.  The teams are very similar in offensive efficiency.  The Ravens allow slightly fewer yards per game but they are clearly more efficient on defense.  The key variance contributors are both teams passing yards allowed on defense.  Whichever team can better neutralize the other’s passing yardage will win the game.

Today I am taking the Over.  Here’s why.  The Ravens’ defense isn’t as good as it once was; they are vulnerable to the pass.  Both teams have good quarterbacks and will be able to score.  I modeled the game at 42.3 total points.  Bet Baltimore/Kansas City Over 40.

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Bet of the Day – New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens, Dec. 19, 2010

New Orleans Saints (+2.5) at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5), Over/Under 44

Yesterday’s bet, UTEP vs. BYU, was a loser.  Back to the NFL today.  There are several good games today.  The Saints and Ravens are both one game back in their divisions.  Both teams need a win today.

The Saints (10-3) have won 6 straight.  They haven’t played the toughest competition.  They have quietly rolled through their schedule and enter the closing weeks of the regular season healthy.  New Orleans averages 6.0 yards per play (YPP) and 15.3 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.3 YPP and 16.7 YPPT.  QB Drew Brees averages 7.34 yards per attempt (YPA) with 28 TDs and 18 INTs for a 93.6 QB rating.  Brees and the Saints will be looking to take advantage of a tired Baltimore defense.  Expecting a big game from New Orleans.

The Ravens (9-4) held on for a decent road win in Houston on Monday night.  Their defense was tired late in the game and now plays a good Saints team on a short week.  Baltimore averages 5.3 YPP and 14.8 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.3 YPP and 18.1 YPPT.  The Ravens are efficient.  Their defense isn’t what it once was, but is still physical and tough against the run.  QB Joe Flacco averages 7.48 YPA with 21 TDs and 8 INTs for a 94.0 QB rating.  The Ravens are in a tough spot off the short week but playing at home and in the cold works to their advantage.

The Sagarin Ratings have Baltimore 26.62 and New Orleans 24.26.  With the 2.18 home advantage, the fair line is Baltimore -4.5.

My NFL model predicts New Orleans 21.78 and Baltimore 21.75 for 43.53 total points.  The Saints move the ball better on offense.  The teams are very similar in offensive efficiency.  They are nearly identical in defensive yardage allowed and efficiency.  The Saints give up a few more yards while Baltimore gives up a few more on defense.  By far, the key variance contributors are both team’s defensive passing yards allowed.  Baltimore’s shaky secondary has to limit Brees and the Saints passing yardage to win the game.

Today, I am taking the Saints +2.  Here’s why.  Baltimore is on a short week and looked exhausted in the fourth quarter on Monday night (they gave up two 90+ yard drives in the final minutes).  The Saints are healthy and improving.  Baltimore’s secondary is vulnerable.  Bet on the New Orleans Saints +2.5.

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Bet of the Day – Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens, Dec. 5, 2010

Pittsburgh Steelers (+3) at Baltimore Ravens (-3), Over/Under 38.5

Yesterday’s bet, Auburn vs. South Carolina, was a winner.  Cam Newton gift wrapped his Heisman.  Fun game in Baltimore tonight.  Both teams have won two straight.  Tonight’s winner take the lead in the AFC North.

Pittsburgh (8-3) lost the first meeting at home to the Ravens.  They didn’t have Roethlisberger in that game.  Tonight they do, but he has foot injury that could slow him down.  The Steelers average 5,8 yards per play (YPP) and 14.5 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.0 YPP and 18.5 YPPT.  They are efficient on both sides of the ball.  QB Ben Roethlisberger averages 8.3 yards per attempt (YPA) with 12 TDs and 4 INTs for a 99.1 QB rating.  With the injured foot, there are questions to be answered.  But Pittsburgh is better with him on the field.  The Steelers’ will be able to run the ball but must protect Roethlisberger and slow down the Ravens’ passing game.

The Ravens (8-3) have been good of late.  They are 4-1 in their last 5; the only loss was at Atlanta.  They average 5.4 YPP and 15.3 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.3 YPP and 17.9 YPPT.  Efficient, but not as efficient as Pittsburgh.  QB Joe Flacco averages 7.46 YPA with 18 TDs and 8 INTs for a 93.2 QB rating.  Flacco has been better in the Raven’s last six games.  He has an opportunity tonight to continue that success against a vulnerable Steeler secondary.  The Ravens will need to limit the Steelers’ passing yards and convert points in the red zone to win tonight.

The Sagarin Ratings have Pittsburgh 28.29 and Baltimore 27.01.  With the 2.13 home advantage, the fair line is Baltimore -0.85.  According to pregame.com, 58% of spread bets are on the Ravens and the total bet is split 50/50.  There hasn’t been a big move in the point spread or total.

My NFL model has Baltimore 22.0 over Pittsburgh 21.0 for 43.0 total points.  These teams are similar but average in offensive yardage and efficiency.  They are both efficient on defense.  Pittsburgh is vulnerable to the pass.  Baltimore doesn’t stop the run like year’s past.  The key variance contributor is both teams defensive passing yards allowed.  Whichever team is more effective passing the ball will likely win the game.

Expecting a close game that could be decided by one or two plays so no point spread bet for me.  There has been a lot of hype about the hard-hitting, grinding type of game this will be.  Not sure I want to be with the public/media here, so tonight I am taking the over.  Here’s why.  Both team’s defenses are good but not as good as they have been in the past.  The Steelers will be able to run the ball.  The Ravens will be able to pass the ball.  My NFL model predicts the game at 43 points against a 38.5 total line; the value is on the over.  Bet Pittsburgh/Baltimore Over 38.5.

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Bet of the Day – Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons, Nov. 11, 2010

Baltimore Ravens (pk) at Atlanta Falcons (pk), Over/Under 44

Missed on yesterday’s bet.  Today we have an interesting Thursday night NFL game.  The line feels fair.  Both teams are coming off good wins but very short weeks.  Let’s hope for an entertaining game.

The Raven (6-2) are coming off their 2nd straight win.  Last week’s victory over the Dolphins was a solid, convincing win.  The Ravens held the Dolphins to under 300 total yards of offense and 10 points (also forced 3 turnovers).  With their punishing style of play, you have to wonder if the short week is harder on the Ravens.  Baltimore averages 5.3 yards per play (YPP) and 15.9 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.4 YPP and 17.8 YPPT.  Baltimore is efficient; they could improve in offensive point conversion.  QB Joe Flacco averages 7.29 yards per attempt (YPA) with 12 TDs and 6 INTs for a 88.9 QB rating.  Baltimore had some questions to answer last week following a bye (e.g. vulnerable secondary).  They answered most of the questions but will they regress this week.

The Falcons (6-2) are also off 2 wins.  They beat a tough Tampa Bay team last week but didn’t cover the spread.  They continued their home winning streak but they haven’t faced the toughest competition.  Atlanta averages 5.4 YPP and 15.1 YPPT on offense (note: they average 13.2 YPPT in home games but again slightly weaker competition).  On defense, they allow 6.1 YPP and 18.0 YPPT.  They give up more yards than Baltimore but have forced more turnovers allowing fewer converted points per yard.  QB Matt Ryan averages 6.77 YPA with 13 TDs and 5 INTs for a 90.2 QB rating.  Atlanta has flown under the radar, but they are a good team.  They beat a divisional opponent last week and now only have 4 days to prepare.  The Falcons too may regress.

The Sagarin Ratings have Baltimore 26.42 and Atlanta 25.97.  With the 2.88 home advantage, the fair line is Atlanta -2.43.

My NFL model predicts Atlanta 24.1 over Baltimore 22.1 for 46.2 total points.  These teams have nearly identical offensive numbers; the Falcons are more efficient at converting points.  Baltimore allows fewer yards and is more efficient on defense.  The key variance contributors are by far both teams passing defense.  Whoever can defend the pass closer to their mean (or below) should win the game.

Today I am going to tease Atlanta and the Under.  Here’s why.  Atlanta opened as a -1 point favorite while they are 4-0 at home and Baltimore is 2-2 on the road.  Atlanta has a solid QB and legitimate deep threat in Roddy White; Baltimore still has some cleaning up to do in their secondary.  Atlanta and Baltimore are coming off big games on short weeks, so I expect some regression.  Bet a 7-point teaser Atlanta +7 and Baltimore/Atlanta Under 51.

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Bet of the Day – Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens, Nov. 7, 2010

Miami Dolphins (+5) at Baltimore Ravens (-5), Over/Under 41

Completely whiffed on the first leg of yesterday’s bet.  Back to the NFL today.  Taking on the Dolphins and Ravens game; it was the most talked about game this week.

Miami is a pretty good team.  They don’t score very efficiently but grind out games.  There has been a lot of talk this week about their 4-0 road record and 0-3 home record.  It’s not as surprising as one might think.  Of their 4 road games, only the Packers are in the top 10 Sagarin Ratings.  Of their 3 home games, all 3 are in the top 4.  The average home opponent rating is 26.85 while the average road opponent rating is 18.14.  The Dolphins average 5.3 yards per play (YPP) and 18.1 yard per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.3 YPP and 14.5 YPPT.  QB Chad Henne averages 6.87 yards per attempt (YPA) with 8 TDs and 7 INTs for a 82.5 QB rating.  The Dolphins will have their hands full today with a rested and focused Baltimore team.

The Ravens are 5-2 and undefeated at home.   The Ravens have had the exact opposite scheduling as the Dolphins; they have had their toughest teams on the road.  They Ravens are 2-1 against the same teams Miami is 0-3 against; the only difference is Baltimore played them on the road.  The Ravens average 5.2 YPP and 16.0 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.4 YPP and 17.0 YPPT.  QB Joe Flacco averages 7.08 YPA for 10 TDs and 6 INTs with an 84.2 QB rating.  Baltimore’s defense generally takes criticism personally and responds well.  They were “exposed” over the last few weeks and have had an extra week to game plan.  Expecting a big effort from Baltimore.

The Sagarin Ratings have Baltimore 24.88 and Miami 22.50.  With the 2.67 home advantage, fair line is Ravens -5.05.  According to pregame.com, 50% of spread bets are on each team but the line has moved from Ravens -4 to -5.  Not a huge sharp swing there but there is definitely money on Baltimore.

My football model predicts Baltimore 22.1 over Miami 18.0 for 40.1 total points.  These teams are almost identical in yardage gained and allowed.  Baltimore is more efficient on offense and defense.  The key variance contributor is both team’s defensive passing yardage allowed.  Which ever team can keep the other team’s passing offense closer to their mean should have the advantage.  Baltimore’s passing defense hasn’t been great in their last 3 games.

Today, I am taking the home favorite.  Here’s why.  Baltimore is more complete team.  Baltimore is coming off a bye week with most of the talk being about Miami’s winning road record.  Baltimore is more efficient on offense and defense.  Miami has serious red zone woes.  Bet on the Baltimore Ravens -5.

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Bet of the Day – Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets – Sept. 13, 2010 7:00 ET

Baltimore Ravens (+1) at New York Jets (-1), Over/Under 36

Yesterday’s bet was a winner.  We had a good weekend covering on both the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Washington Redskins.  Today we are looking at the much-anticipated Ravens and Jets Monday night opener.  Both teams are known for their aggressive defense but the use of their new weapons may decide this game.  Trash-talk will be the norm in this chippy matchup.

The Baltimore Ravens have added several receiving options for quarterback Joe Flacco.  Some say more options than they can use.  The Ravens averaged 5.7 YPP and 14.4 YPPT in 2009.  They rushed for 130 yards per game but passed for only 203 yards per game.  The Ravens added Anquan Boldin which gives the Ravens the physical slot option they may need.  Physicality isn’t a problem on defense, but age is.  The Raven defense, still led by Ray Lewis, allowed only 4.9 YPP for 17.9 YPPT.  Tonight they face a talented Jets offense whose biggest question is chemistry.

Teams don’t get more quotable than the New York Jets and their coach Rex Ryan.  The Jets were a surprise team in 2009.  They won’t surprise anyone in 2010.  Since late in the 2009 season, the Jets have been on a steady diet of big names and big paychecks.  Behind a heavy run game, the Jets averaged 5.2 YPP for 15.2 YPPT in 2009.  Adding RB LaDainian Tomlinson and WR Santonio Holmes gives sophomore quarterback Mark Sanchez more depth and options in 2010.  Santonio Holmes is suspended for this game.  Like Baltimore, the Jets have a physical and  stiff defense.  What the Ravens do to the run, the Jets do to the pass.  The Jets allowed 4.6 YPP for 17.4 YPPT.  The unknown will be Darrelle Revis’ game shape.

I will use Sagarin Ratings and my football simulation model to evaluate the point spread and betting value.  Following Sagarin, New York is a slight favorite.  Sagarin values New York at 22.68 and Baltimore at 24.51.  With a 3.07 home advantage, New York would be a 1.24 favorite.

My football model predicts a similarly close game with New York 22.46 over Baltimore 20.08 for 42.54 total points.  On paper, it is clear that Baltimore is slightly better passing while New York is better running.  Both teams do a good job on run defense.  The Jets pass defense is clearly better on paper.  The key variance contributor is Baltimore’s ability to pass against the Jet defense.  Considering the close projections and the very close point spread, I decided to run the model on 2009 home and away stats.  This produces much different results; New York 24.49 over Baltimore 15.20 for 39.69 total points. Two key factors drive this point difference, Baltimore’s pass offense and defense.  In road games, Baltimore averaged 63 yards per game less on offense and allowed 30 yards more per game.  With the drop in offensive production on the road, can Baltimore’s passing additions bolster their road performance against the Jets defense?

With the close point spread, we are really betting on the winner here.  This is a tough game to call, but I am going to go with the Jets at home.  Here is why.  The Jets are a good team at home.  Baltimore’s drop in passing production in road games is a concern.  The Jets added depth and weapons to their offense.  Kris Jenkins returns and will bolster the already strong run defense.  Rex Ryan knows how to motivate and the team knows the spotlight is on.  Expect a tough game, but Bet on the New York Jets (-1).  Follow me on twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

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