Baltimore Ravens -3.5 @ Cleveland Browns Week 9 – Side Play
The Baltimore Ravens are really good at beating the Cleveland Browns. They have won their last nine matchups by six points or more. After stewing for a week over their worst defeat all season (vs. Houston in week 7) the Ravens have extra incentive to dismantle their division rival in Cleveland this Sunday afternoon.
The loss to the Texans was just the fourth defeat by 20 points or more since John Harbaugh took over in 2008, and in each prior example Baltimore rebounded with a victory.
Since losing team leader Ray Lewis and anchor cornerback Ladarius Webb the Baltimore defense has allowed 400 yards in back-to-back outings for the first time since 2009. The defense has been porous against the run allowing an average 142.9 yards per game, ranking them among the leagues’ worst at 30th position.
Linebacker Terrell Suggs returned to the lineup against Houston, but it was not near enough as Baltimore allowed its most points since a 44-27 defeat by Indianapolis in 2007.
While the Ravens have faced tough times recently, the Browns have won two of their last three games and look to head into their bye-week on a high note.
Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden continues to improve, and had connected on two touchdowns in three successive games up until last week’s 7-6 soaking-wet victory over San Diego. In his first test against the Ravens he threw for 320 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
Weeden’s fellow rookie Trent Richardson battled through a rib cartilage injury and ran for a season-high 122 yards with a touchdown against the Chargers.
Baltimore Ravens -3.5 @ Cleveland Browns (betting prediction)
As I mentioned, the Ravens have dominated this series winning the last 9 meetings by six points or more. They are also looking to get back on track after their franchise’s worst loss in five years. Factor in that the Ravens have had a week off to rest and prepare for this divisional match-up and things start to look very ugly for the Browns (not to mention that Cleveland heads into the bye, which has been a play-against all year).
The casual observer might look back to Cleveland’s Week 4 performance in Baltimore (a narrow 23-16 defeat) as an indication of what will take place this week. But when we look deeper we see that the Ravens were playing their fourth game in 17 days (the shortest amount of rest through 4 weeks in the NFL since the 1940 Brooklyn Dodgers). Furthermore, that narrow win against Cleveland was just 4 days removed from an emotional Sunday Night win versus the Patriots (the team that knocked them out in last year’s AFC Championship).
Baltimore also has this trend in their back pocket: The League is 23-4-1 ATS (9.6 ppg) since October 22, 2007 as a road favorite the week after their bye. Active on Baltimore.
Taking all of these things into consideration, I expect to see a highly-motivated Baltimore club this Sunday. I predict a 30-10 Raven win.
Play: Baltimore -3.5 (5dimes.eu)
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