The Baltimore Ravens and the San Diego Chargers are set to square off in Sunday Night Football betting action this week at Qualcomm Stadium. But before you make your NFL picks for the big game on Sunday, check out some of the great NFL betting trends that we have for the duel!
Baltimore Ravens Notes: The Ravens know that winning this game puts their magic number down to two to win the AFC North, but they know that losing this one also has bigger ramifications. Both the New England Patriots and Houston Texans are right there with Baltimore in the chase for the top record in the AFC, and the penalty of losing out to those two teams will be having to play an extra game in the first round of the playoffs and likely having to win two on the road just to get to the Super Bowl on top of that. The team is 4-0 ATS in its last four as favorites of a field goal or fewer, but it is only 1-4 ATS in its last five against teams with a losing record.
RB Ray Rice has really come on strong, and he is still chasing the possibility of accounting for 2,000 total yards from scrimmage this year. He has almost 500 yards on the ground in his last four weeks, giving him 1,029 yards for the season, and he also has 593 more as a receiver. The former member of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights has been all over the field, to say the least, and he has 12 TDs to show for his work. He’s not quite an MVP candidate at this point, but he clearly is the MVP of this team, as without him, there is no way that Baltimore would be in a position to challenge for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
This could be the return of LB Ray Lewis to the lineup with a toe injury. Lewis had one of the longest streaks of consecutive games played before losing it a month ago, and he hasn’t been back in the fold since that point. DBs Chris Carr and Ladarius Webb are both questionable with nagging injuries, but both are leaning towards playing. Perhaps the bigger injury of note is that of K Billy Cundiff, who has some back problems and is considered questionable for Sunday night’s game.
San Diego Chargers Notes: The season may or may not be on the line when this one kicks off for the Chargers. If the New York Jets and Denver Broncos both prove to be victorious in the 4:00 ET hour, the Bolts are going to be 2.5 back with three to play from both facets of the playoffs, and it is clear that they can just give up on the rest of the season. That being said, if both lose (and both are underdogs), things could get mighty interesting. We know that San Diego has the talent to do some damage, especially here at Qualcomm Stadium, where it is 5-1 ATS in its last six as underdogs. The Chargers are 22-9-3 ATS in their last 34 games as underdogs regardless of location, but they are only 1-5 ATS in their last six home games against teams with a winning road record.
They key to turning the season around was the play of the defense. This unit has only allowed a total of 40 points over the course of the last three weeks, but those points have been allowed against offenses that are, needless to say, quite terrible. This is a totally different ball of wax, and it is probably the closest thing to a game against the Green Bay Packers as San Diego will get. The Pack dropped 45 right here at Qualcomm and were beaten by a TD in the first week of November.
Injuries have really killed this team all season long, especially along the offensive line, but at least things aren’t any worse this week than they have been in recent weeks. OLs Scott Mruczkowski, Marcus McNeill, and Kris Dielman are all on IR, and the only other casualty is that of C Colin Baxter, who has an ankle injury. Along the defensive line, DE Luis Castillo has missed basically the entire season, while DE Jacques Cesaire, who replaced him in the starting lineup, has an ankle injury that has been hampering him all week and could cause him to miss Sunday’s showdown.
Head To Head: The home team has gone 6-2 ATS over the course of the last eight meetings in this series, but that dates all the way back into the mid-90s. There was a huge string of ‘under’ contests in the 90s and early 2000s, including five straight games that failed to exceed 38 points, all five of which stayed ‘under’ the ‘total’. The Ravens have covered four of the five meetings in this decade, including coming to Qualcomm two years ago early in the year and walking away with a bit of a surprising 31-26 victory.
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.