Platinum Pick: Baltimore -7
The Ravens are a tough team to play against at home. They are 2-1 at home and the only game they lost was by 3 points against the 6-0 Tennessee Titans. In their 2 wins, they outscored the opposition 45-20. The main reason Baltimore will cover is because the matchup is significantly in their favor. Baltimore does not allow opponents to score a lot of points against them and plays even stronger at home. The Ravens are only allowing 11 points per game at home. Oakland has been averaging 16.33 points per game on the road.
The Raiders success depends almost entirely on their ability to run the ball. Oakland is averaging 143 yards on the ground, ranking 5th in the NFL. Their passing game is quite pitiful is the Raiders rank 27th in passing yards. Baltimore’s defense has not allowed a running back to rush for more than 100 yards in 25 consecutive games. The Ravens are allowing an average on only 67.2 yards on the ground. Oakland will likely have to rely on its passing game to move the ball. This will definitely make life difficult for the Raiders because the most yards Jamarcus Russell gained in a game on the road this season was 159. He has not had a passer rating better than 100 on the road. Furthermore, the Ravens rank 4th in passing defense. Therefore the only way that Oakland can hope to cover the spread is by shutting down the Ravens.
Baltimore has one of the least effective offenses in the NFL. Their offense is heavily focused on running the ball and this strategy has worked for them as they rank 7th in rushing yards. Oakland has a weak defense overall. They rank 23rd in points allowed and 26th in yards allowed. They have struggled at stopping the run since they rank 24th in yards allowed on the ground. The Ravens will exploit this weakness. But on the other hand, Joe Flacco is coming off his best performance of the season in Miami where he threw for 232 yards, a touchdown and had a rating of 120.2. It was one of the very few games where he didn’t turn the ball over. If he plays like this against Oakland, a weaker defensive team than Miami, the Ravens will undoubtedly demolish the Raiders.
Baltimore will cover because Oakland will not be able to score. Additionally, Oakland will have to deal with the time zone factor of playing at 1pm on the east coast.
Prediction: Baltimore 20 Oakland 6