Sunday, January 22, 2012



Patriots were originally put up as a nine point favourite for this game which was too high and it has since been scaled down to a touchdown. The Patriots have benefitted from an "easy" home schedule IMO and the Giants ( 9-7) were the only team with a winning record they faced all season and they lost that one ! In the other games they gave up at least 21 points in all bar two, allowing the Cowboys 16 and only restricting the low scoring Chiefs ( ranked 31st for points scored). Now they meet the 12-4 Ravens and it is difficult for me not to see the visitors posting a decent total.

The Ravens have averaged 19.875 points on the road and in all starts against teams with a .500 + record, that total rises to 24.4, so you can argue that they perform better against the stronger teams.

We have seen playoff games become increasingly open and high scoring in recent times, rule changes are always made to the benefit of offense's and that has seen some big scores racked up. The last seven post season games last season averaged 52.28 points and 12 of the 14 teams scored 21 points plus. Last weekend the four games averaged 53.25

The two teams met here in the post season, two years ago, with Baltimore winning 33-14, that was nearly all earned on the ground, with 234 running yards, 159 from Ray Rice. They know that they can come to Foxborough in mid winter, move the ball, score points and win.

In that game, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was sacked three times and forced into throwing three interceptions. I think the Pats will be a little nervous early (they trailed 24-0 after just one quarter in that match up) ,will be focused on stopping the run and if the Ravens are brave enough to let Joe Flacco throw the ball early, there could be some cheap yardage up for grabs. The Pats defense has disappointed ranking 31st for total and passing yards given up, which is not what you expect to see from a potential Superbowl winner. They are unlikely to be able to stop Rice and that will leave them vunerable to the Ravens being able to mix things up at times. Given how freely the Pats have conceded to far worse teams than Baltimore and also the chance that this could also develop into a shoot out, I will take 1.25 units Ravens to score over 21.5 points 1.926 Pinnacle Sports/ Vegas Line..... this is under team totals on the main NFL page with Pinnacle, who appear to be doing their best to make it difficult to find odds !

Pinnacle offer 1.66 that Ray Rice scores a touchdown, that is way too short for me to get involved, but other companies affer as low as 1.17 and whilst that is wrong, the true price is probably closer to 1.45-1.50 , so the 1.66 offers value, if that is your kind of price.

Weather here in Foxborough cold, dry and sunny, with only very light winds, it is very different in San Francisco for the other Championship game where, heavy rain, maybe even thunderstorms and also high winds are forecast.... you wait 15 years for a Title game and with it comes a soaking !

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Good Luck.

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