|Over 49 (-110) @ Fanduel|
8* Take Baltimore – Buffalo OVER (#303-304)
The Ravens defense is all about stuffing the run and blitzing opposing quarterbacks. That strategy worked great last week, when they focused on containing Derrick Henry behind the line of scrimmage while giving Ryan Tannehill steady pressure. But a Baltimore team that blitzes more frequently than any other team in the NFL (more than 41% of opposing QB dropbacks) is not likely to find that same success this week. Buffalo isn’t going to try playing a power rushing game this week like the Titans did last week.
Bills QB Josh Allen faced more blitzes than any QB in the league this season, and he’s excelled against them – second in the NFL with a 93.4 QBR against the blitz. And Allen’s ability to create big plays with his feet is a real problem for blitzing teams relying on single coverage downfield. When Allen gets out of the pocket, defenders have their backs turned to him, resulting in a whopping 38 rushing first downs from the QB during the regular season and three more last week. No surprise that this potent Bills offense has hung 26+ in each of their last nine games, with six 30+ point games in the mix during that span I expect them to approach or exceed 30 again here.
The Colts had ten drives in their game against Buffalo’s defense last week. The Colts reached Bills territory on all ten drives. But Indy settled for field goals, punted on multiple occasions, got stopped on downs, and watched Philip Rivers repeatedly misfire in the red zone while Bruce Arians mismanaged the clock and the situation more than once. I don’t expect John Harbaugh to make those same mistakes. Lamar Jackson requires a complete different defensive mindset than Philip Rivers does, and the Ravens power rushing attack plays right into Buffalo’s defensive weakness; a Bills stop unit that finished tied for #28 in the NFL in yards per carry allowed. Baltimore, too, is a real threat to hang 30+ in this ballgame.
Both teams offensive strengths are problematic for the opposing defense. Both teams have ample ‘big play, quick strike TD’ potential, what Over bettors covet. Both teams score touchdowns in the red zone at better than the league average, not settling for field goals, and both defenses allow red zone TD’s at higher than the league average as well.
The betting markets are worried about weather conditions on Saturday Night in Buffalo. I’m not so worried. There is NOT expected to be heavy precipitation or heavy winds at kickoff or in the hours thereafter. Two offenses that consistently use misdirection and both of which are loaded with playmakers can take advantage of any slick field. Both QB’s can create big play TD’s with their feet. I’m expecting a shootout on Saturday Night. Take the OVER.