2012 Baltimore Ravens Betting Preview
The Baltimore Ravens came within a short missed field goal last January of pushing the AFC championship game at New England into overtime. They outrushed and outgained the Patriots that day, and held a considerable time-of-possession advantage, only to have K Billy Cundiff yank a 32-yard field goal attempt wide in the final seconds. That’s how close Baltimore came to playing in the Super Bowl. But with key players getting older, and some off-season departures, we’re wondering if that might be as close as the Ravens get to the big game for a while.
Last Season in Review
Last year Baltimore went off getting 7/1 to win the AFC and with a wins ‘over/under’ of 10.5. The Ravens then began the season by drubbing the hated Steelers 35-7, and they beat ‘em again at Heinz Field on a national TV Sunday night in November. Baltimore went on to win 12 games and claimed the AFC North title outright for the first time since 2006.
Looking back, it’s a little difficult to find a whole lot of fault with a team that went 12-4, but we’ll say this; those four losses, at Tennessee, Jacksonville, Seattle and San Diego, were each real stinkers. None of those teams made the playoffs last year, but they each made the Ravens look really bad those days.
Still, Baltimore went 5-0 against teams that made the playoffs, 8-0 at home and 6-0 in AFC North play.
Individually, Joe Flacco threw a career-high 542 times last year, and posted his lowest completion percentage and the lowest yards-per-attempt figure of his career. He is, however, now 44-20 as an NFL starter.
And spark plug Ray Rice accounted for 2,000 yards from scrimmage for the second time in his short career.
The Ravens ranked 15th in the league in offense at 339 YPG, 10th in rushing at 125 YPG, third in defense, allowing 289 YPG, and second vs. the run at 93 YPG.
On the whole the Baltimore Ravens ranked fifth in both total yardage at +50 YPG and total rushing at +32 YPG, and 10th in time-of-possession at +1:10 per game.
Around the league last year teams that outrushed their opponents covered the spread 69 percent of games, and teams that won the T-O-P battle covered 66 percent of the time. Now, Baltimore managed to go 8-7-1 ATS last year, but it also went 0-4 ATS when favored by more than seven points.
The Ravens also played 10-6 on the ‘over/unders,’ because even as their games averaged 40 points per, eighth-fewest in the league, almost half the totals on Baltimore games were lined in the 30s.
Over the off-season the Ravens lost RB Ricky Williams, who retired, Pro Bowl G Ben Grubbs and Sam backer Jarret Johnson to free-agency and DC Chuck Pagano, who left to take over as head coach of the Colts. They also suffered what could be a severe hit when LB Terrell Suggs, last season’s league Defensive Player of the Year, popped his Achilles in April. Anybody who’s done that will tell you it takes a long time to recover, and it never totally heals, so his status for the season is very uncertain.
Baltimore thinks it’s replaced Grubbs with former Bengal Bobbie Williams, and it used its first pick in the draft, the 35th overall, to fill the hole Johnson left by taking Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw. But other than that the Ravens were pretty quiet in the acquisitions department, as they’ve run right up against the salary cap.
2012 Ravens Schedule
Baltimore will play the fourth-toughest schedule in the league this season, according to last year’s W/L records, with eight games vs. teams that made the playoffs last year. They open with the Bengals, Eagles and Patriots, later play Dallas and Houston back-to-back, then go Steelers-Chargers-Steelers in November, and finish with the Broncos, Giants and Bengals. Yee-ow.
2012 Baltimore Ravens Betting Odds and Prediction
Bovada is listing Baltimore at +125 to win the AFC North this season, 7/1 to win the AFC and 16/1 to win the Super Bowl, while Bookmaker is tagging the Ravens with a regular-season wins total of 10. Baltimore won 12 games last year, but we’re dubious they can do that again this season. Rice is almost a one-man gang on offense, heart-and-soul Ray Lewis is another year older and there’s no way Suggs will ever be the same. And the schedule is a brute, to boot. So we’re leaning toward the ‘under’ on 10 wins for Baltimore this season.
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.