On Saturday, NFL fans will be treated to a huge AFC showdown as the Baltimore Ravens head to the west coast to take on the Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams are jockeying for playoff positions, but it’s the Ravens that are the more desperate team as they’re fighting for a playoff spot.
The Chargers have already clinched a playoff spot, but are still battling with the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West title. Will Baltimore get the road victory or will the Chargers extend their winning streak to 5 straight games? Kickoff inside StubHub Center is at 8:20 PM ET.
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The following odds are courtesy of live odds feed:
Los Angeles Chargers
Current S/U record
2018 ATS Home
2018 ATS Away
2018 O/U Home
2018 O/U Away
Ravens vs Chargers AFC Game Preview
Saturday’s huge AFC showdown will mark the 12th time these two teams have played against each other since the Ravens have come into the league. Currently, Baltimore has the advantage in this series with a 6-5 record.
The Ravens have won 3 of the last 5 head-to-head meetings including their last encounter, which was in 2015. The last time these teams played on the west coast was in 2012 and the Ravens won 16-13 in OT. The Chargers are 4-3 all-time in home games against the Ravens.
Baltimore (8-6) is coming off a sluggish win over the Buccaneers at home last weekend. It was a rebound win from their 27-24 loss to the Chiefs just two weeks ago. The Ravens have won 4 of their last 5 games and are positioned to make the playoffs if they can win on Saturday.
A loss doesn’t eliminate them from the postseason, but it certainly makes things more difficult. Baltimore is 3-4 on the road this year and look toward rookie QB Lamar Jackson to get the big road win.
The Chargers (11-3) have won 4 straight games including a stunning 29-28 last minute victory over the Chiefs on the road. They now return home to take on a tough Ravens team where the Chargers are 5-2 on the year.
Los Angeles looks to be getting starting RB Melvin Gordon back for this game, but could be without star receiver Keenan Allen. Can the Chargers beat another playoff contender for the third time in the last four games?
The Chargers opened as the favorite with the majority of online betting sites. However, that spread varied depending on which site you shopped at. For some sportsbooks, the Chargers were a 6-point favorite. Since then, the spread has come down some as the Chargers are now a 4.5 point favorite over the Ravens.
The Over/Under opened between 45 and 45.5 points at most NFL betting sites. Currently, the O/U is at 44.5 total points.
Free NFL Sports Bet and Prediction: Baltimore Ravens +4.5
Baltimore comes into this matchup with the best defense in the NFL. According to NFL.com, the Ravens are tide for #1 in points allowed with the Titans at 18.1 ppg, #1 in total defense at 290.2 total ypg, #3 against the pass at 202.6 ypg, and #3 against the run at 87.6 ypg.
The Chargers offense is 6th in the NFL averaging 392 total ypg. They’re 4th in scoring at 28.2 ppg, 8th in passing at 270.1 ypg, and 12th in rushing at 121.9 ypg. They have a potent offense that will definitely cause troubles for the Ravens stout defense.
With that said, the Chargers have also put up some subpar offensive performances against good defenses. Against the Broncos, LA lost 23-22 at home on Nov 18th. They were able to beat the Titans, but only scored 20 points on the league’s top scoring defense. So, I can see the Chargers having issues in this game.
The Ravens offense is a run-heavy attack averaging 141.9 ypg, which is good for 2nd in the NFL. They have been running over opponents for the last 5 weeks. In their loss to KC, two weeks ago, the Ravens still put up 194 yards rushing.
The Chargers have a solid run defense, but they do give up 103.7 ypg. They also give up 242.1 passing ypg, but I don’t see that being an issue this weekend as rookie QB Lamar Jackson has yet to prove he can consistently beat good defenses with his arm.
With two good defenses, and two teams that like to run the ball, I expect this to be a close game by time the final whistle blows.
The Ravens are 3-1 ATS as an underdog this year, 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games, 4-1 ATS versus the AFC West, and 6-3 ATS versus teams with winning records in the second half of the season.
The Chargers are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 home games, 3-6 ATS when the total is between 42.5 and 49 points, 4-10 ATS when playing on Saturdays, 4-7 ATS in their last 11 games during December, and 3-6 ATS during the final 4 weeks of the regular season.
I like Baltimore to cover the 4.5 points (-107) in this game. I’m not confident that they will win outright, which is why I choose to avoid their +195 moneyline. I don’t feel the Chargers moneyline of -225 offers much value and the points total is not very appealing either due to the uncertainty of the Ravens offense.
I expect the Ravens to keep this game close largely due to their defense and strong rushing attack. The more game time they can chew up, the less time that the Chargers potent offense has on the field.
In the end, I think Chargers QB Rivers will outplay his counterpart in Jackson, but I do see this being a field goal battle with LA pulling it out late in the 4th quarter.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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