NFL Wild Card Betting Guide, Odds & Prediction for Chargers-Ravens

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Ricky Dimon

NFL· 2 years ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

It will be a rare but certainly not unheard of occasion with a team sporting a considerably worse record is hosting a playoff game when the Baltimore Ravens entertain the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon. At 10-6, Baltimore held off Pittsburgh in the AFC North; Los Angeles went 12-4 but had the misfortune of playing in the same division as Kansas City. Let’s dive into the Odds & Prediction for Chargers-Ravens.

Rematch

While an AFC West crown would have been more ideal than a wild card, the Chargers have to feel good about simply being in the playoffs after starting the season 1-2. After scraping past San Francisco 29-27 to reach .500 at 2-2, they really took too off. L.A. is 11-2 in its last 13 and 5-1 in its last six, with its only loss during the latter stretch having come at the hands of none other than Baltimore. In a Week 16 contest at home, Los Angeles’ offense was no match for the Ravens defense in a 22-10 loss. Philip Rivers passed for only 181 yards and no touchdowns while getting picked off twice. L.A. also gained just 51 yards on the ground.

Still, Rivers put forth an MVP-caliber season most of the way. He won’t win the award, but he finished with 4,308 passing yards and 32 TDs compared to 12 INTs. Los Angeles will like the fact that this postseason QB matchup is a 15-year veteran vs. a rookie.

Hot at the right time

There aren’t many teams hotter than the Chargers right now, but Baltimore is one of them. The Ravens were 4-5 through nine outings but have since compiled a 6-1 record that stunned rival Pittsburgh in the AFC North. Inserting rookie Lamar Jackson into the offense to replace veteran Joe Flacco ignited things for the Ravens, who had always been scary on defense but now pose a real threat on the other side of the ball, as well. Jackson has 695 rushing yards and five touchdowns to go along with his 1,201 passing yards and six scores through the air.

Of course, the Ravens don’t always do things convincingly. During this 6-1 run they have survived home games by three points over Cincinnati, by one possession against Cincinnati, and by two points at Cleveland’s expense in Week 17. None of those opponents made the playoffs.

Trends

The Chargers are 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 on the road, 16-7 ATS in their last 23 on the road against opponents with winning home records, 6-2 ATS in their last eight playoff games, and 4-1-1 ATS in their last six January outings. Baltimore is 1-5 ATS in its last six at home, 2-6 ATS in its last eight at home against opponents with winning road records, and 1-5 ATS in its last six on fieldturf.

The under is 7-3 in the Chargers’ last 10 overall, 20-8 in their last 28 against the AFC, 10-4-1 in their last 15 after allowing fewer than 15 points in their previous contest, and 5-1 in their last six playoff games. It is also 5-0 in the Ravens’ last five playoff home games, 6-1-1 in their last eight wild-card games, and 6-2-1 in their last nine January outings.

Pick

A change of scenery may not be a bad thing for the Chargers, who obviously didn’t fare too well at home against Baltimore last month. But take the points, because getting a field goal may end up being critical in what will likely be a competitive, hard-fought playoff affair. Go with the Chargers and also take the under. Rivers cooled off down the stretch, throwing two interceptions in each of the last three games. The Ravens are second in the NFL in rushing, but Los Angeles is ninth in stopping the run. Offense will be tough to come by and points will come at a premium.

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