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2010 AFC Divisional Round Lines: Ravens Colts Free Predictions

NFL Divisional Playoff Betting – Ravens vs Colts Preview & Pick

After last week, it’s clear we have to take the Baltimore Ravens seriously despite their 9-7 regular season record. Then again, most savvy bettors saw their destruction of the Patriots coming – myself included. New England was a wounded animal. The Indianapolis Colts are an entirely different beast.

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Baltimore Ravens @ Indianapolis Colts

Saturday, January 16, 8:15 p.m. ET
Sportsbook favorite: Colts -6

Hey – as good as the Colts are, the Ravens have plenty of weapons to scare them. Ray Rice and the Baltimore running game wasted no time in tearing New England apart, as Rice broke an 83-yard touchdown run on the first offensive play of the game last week. The Colts’ much-maligned run defense, which ranks 24th in the league, has its hands full. As annoying as Bob Sanders’ brittleness is, they still miss his run stopping ability.

The Ravens’ “D” also poses a threat. While even the best pass rushers struggle to pressure Peyton Manning, the Ravens’ front seven could swallow up Joseph Addai and Donald Brown, who comprise Indy’s 32nd-ranked rushing attack.

But there’s a problem for Baltimore. The Colts’ had the league’s “worst” rushing attack mainly just because they pass the ball so well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Peyton Manning won a second-straight MVP award this season, completing a career-best 68.8 per cent of his passes. His attractive arsenal of weapons includes elite playmakers like Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark plus effective rookies like Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon. All subscribe to the Colts’ “smart football” philosophy, taking whatever yardage they can get and hitting the deck when there’s trouble to avoid turnovers. Perhaps the most amazing stat about the Indy offense: Manning took just 10 sacks all season. Absolutely unbelievable. How can we expect the Ravens to penetrate Indy’s O-line?

Another hurdle for the Ravens to overcome: Joe Flacco. He was underused last week, so his performance wasn’t entirely his fault, but 34 yards on 4/10 passing is pathetic. There’s a good chance Baltimore will play from behind for much of Saturday’s game, so the pressure is on him to deliver. He has a cannon arm and is capable of the big game but he still lacks a star playmaker downfield. Also, the Colts’ underrated pass defense has a knack for picking off passes and stripping balls at crucial times. They may force Flacco to make mistakes.

The Ravens are a solid team and everyone would love to have Ray Rice, but they won’t maximize his ability if they’re trailing. And they will be. The Ravens’ pass “D” is beatable deep and no quarterback exploits opponents’ soft spots better than Peyton Manning.

Forget the Colts’ consecutive losses to end the season. Their starters played half those games. They’re still the class of the AFC and should handle the Ravens with relative ease.

Gambling Trends:

The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Baltimore’s last 8 games when playing on the road against Indianapolis
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Baltimore’s last 7 games when playing Indianapolis
Baltimore is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Baltimore’s last 6 games on the road
Indianapolis is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Baltimore
Indianapolis is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Baltimore
Indianapolis is 13-1 SU in its last 14 games at home
Indianapolis is 22-3 SU in its last 25 games

Pick: Colts -6

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Shea Matthews lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national newspapers. He now applies his knowledge to sports betting and handicapping every day, and shares his winning picks with the world.

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