Thursday Night Football finally treated us to some points a week ago, as the Cardinals defeated the Saints in a shootout. The prior weeks, and Thursday nights in general, tend to be choppier and lower scoring as team have little time to prepare. This week, the Baltimore Ravens (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS) hit the road to take on the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4 SU, 2-5 ATS), in a battle of first-place teams.
When you think “Ravens” you probably think “defense”. However, that reputation has not held up this year as they are in the bottom third of the league in points per game allowed at 23 ppg, while they’ve allowed opponents to gain nearly 6 yards per play. Fortunately, they have created a league-high 14 turnovers, and they take on a Buccaneers team that is bereft of offense. To see a Tom Brady-led team lose twice in a row as double-digit favorites is jarring, as is the fact they simply can’t generate big plays on offense , averaging 5.1 yards per play for the season. They have lost 4 out of 5 straight up, and haven’t covered since defeating the Saints back when it was still the summer (Week 2- September 18th).
Is this a good chance to buy-low on a floundering Bucs team? Well, the bettors seem to think so. The Ravens were slight 1.5 point favs early in the week, but the line has swung to where it is now, as the Bucs are small home faves. I remind you, we don’t have to bet on every game, I know we all want action on primetime games, but there are different ways to attack this matchup rather than choosing a side straight up. The Ravens have led every game by double-digits this season, making them unlikely to get blown out and thus a very attractive teaser piece. This should be a close, one-possession game, and I’m happy to tease Baltimore up through the key numbers of 3 and 7, all the way up to +8. Let’s pair it with the Cardinals, who take on a 5-1 Vikings team who is not nearly as good as their record , and get them up to +9.5