Sunday’s AFC Wild Card game is a Week 16 rematch between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens. The Chargers are looking to get revenge against the Ravens who came into their home stadium and beat them down. Baltimore is a dangerous team that nobody wants to play in the postseason.
Will the Chargers move on to the Divisional Round or will the Ravens manhandle Los Angeles again and win the game? Kickoff inside M&T Bank Stadium is at 1:05 PM ET.
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The following odds are courtesy of live odds feed:
|Betting Data||Los Angeles Chargers||Baltimore Ravens|
|Current S/U record||12-4||10-6|
|2018 ATS Home||2-6||3-5|
|2018 ATS Away||7-1||5-3|
|2018 O/U Home||3-5||4-4|
|2018 O/U Away||5-3||3-5|
Los Angeles and Baltimore have played against each other 12 times since the Ravens came into the league. Baltimore holds the advantage with a 7-5 record and has won two straight games, including the Week 16 matchup that put the entire AFC on notice. Baltimore is 3-1 all-time at home against the Chargers and last beat Los Angeles at M&T Bank Stadium in 2015.
Baltimore (10-6) has won 3 straight games and 6 of their last 7 overall. They feature the conference’s best defense, which is quite possibly the best in the entire league. Furthermore, they have a powerful rushing attack that finished 2nd in the NFL at 152.6 ypg.
Since the Ravens first started rookie QB Lamar Jackson in Week 11, they have been an unstoppable force and could’ve won 7 straight games if it weren’t for an OT loss in Kansas City in Week 14. Will Jackson and this offense continue where they left off in the regular season?
The Chargers (12-4) finished tied for the best record in the AFC, but could not win the AFC West division and ended up having to claim the #5 seed in the playoffs. They will open the postseason on the road against the Ravens. The Chargers are looking to get revenge against Baltimore and try to move on to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Los Angeles is expected to have their full complement of weapons for this game and will try to score more than 10 points on this stingy Ravens defense.
Of all the Wild Card games, this one has seen the least amount of movement. The Ravens opened as a -3 favorite with most online betting sites and currently sit as a -2.5 point favorite. The Over/Under opened at 41.5 points and remains unchanged with most football betting sportsbooks.
In their Week 16 matchup, the Ravens hammered the Chargers in Los Angeles by a score of 22-10. They held Los Angeles to just 198 total yards and forced 3 turnovers. Additionally, the Ravens offense won the time of possession battle as they finished with a total of 31:25 TOP.
Baltimore shut down LA’s rushing attack and came after Rivers all game long. It’s quite possible that Baltimore repeats this performance as they will be at home where they went 6-2 on the year.
It’s also quite possible that the Chargers get revenge this weekend. Los Angeles went 7-1 on the road this year, which was tops in the league and seem to play as a more consistent and intelligent football team. Additionally, the defense is getting healthier and could improve their play this weekend.
Offensively, the Chargers rank inside the Top 10 in several categories. The most notable one is their 6th ranking in points scored at 26.8 ppg. The Chargers might be able to move the ball on Baltimore, but that doesn’t mean it will translate into touchdowns. The Ravens only allow 17.9 ppg, which is 2nd best in the league.
When diving deeper into the Ravens defense this year, it only looks more doom and gloom for the Chargers. Baltimore finished 4th in rushing yards allowed at 82.9 ypg, 5th against the pass at 210 ypg, and 1st overall in total yards allowed at 292.9 ypg. Add in the home field advantage of a raucous crowd and you have a very dangerous defense that can win a game by themselves.
For the Chargers, they are going to need to take away Baltimore’s rushing attack and force the Ravens to throw the ball with their rookie QB Lamar Jackson. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. The Ravens ran for 159 total yards against the Chargers two weeks ago and I see them doing that again.
This time, I see more rushing TDs in their future. The Chargers best shot and winning this game is having their defensive line pressure Jackson with just a 4 man rush. However, that still requires other defenders to keep an eye on Jackson running with the ball.
The Chargers are 4-4 SU as an underdog of 3 points or less, 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games against the AFC North division, and 1-2 SU following a divisional game. The Ravens are 5-1 ATS versus the AFC West, 7-4 SU as a favorite this year, 6-2 SU at home in 2018, 8-4 SU against the AFC, and 7-1 SU in the Wild Card round.
I really like that Baltimore defense and I believe it will lead them to victory. The safe bet is taking the Ravens moneyline at -135, but the spread of -2.5 is not a bad option as Baltimore will win by more than a FG. This team is built for the playoffs and we will see it on Sunday. Take the Ravens with confidence in winning by more than a FG.
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