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Ravens vs. Dolphins Gambling Odds Preview/Pick

NFL: SPREAD MOVES IN RAVEN’S FAVOR

Two teams with identical 11-5 records meet on Sunday when the Miami Dolphins host the Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore is a 3.5-point road favorite and the Over/Under is 37.5. That 3.5 point spread is due to a recent change with the Ravens starting as three-point chalk.

In addition to the game and Total wagering, we also have our Primetime Prop for this contest.   Pick the ‘First Scoring Play’ prop for this game and if it hits, and the same scoring play occurs again any time in the third quarter, your winnings will be doubled, up to $100.00 for this specific prop.

The fact that the visitor is a 3.5 point favorite is surprising. It could have something to do with the Ravens being 12-4 ATS on the season opposed to 8-8 ATS by the Dolphins, or the fact that Baltimore won in Miami in October, 27-13.

Coach John Harbaugh’s team is hot, having won five of its last six both straight-up and ATS. They are all about defense, ranking in the Top 3 in the NFL in scoring, yardage, and yards per play.

However, they do boast a strong running game too at 149 YPG. The Dolphins strength is on offense at 5.9 yards per play. The game’s top trend finds Miami is 16-36 ATS versus good rushing teams averaging >=130 yards since 1992. Amazingly, this will be the 7th time since 2000 that these clubs meet in Miami, with the hosts having won four of six.

What a difference a year has made for these two teams. Last January, the Dolphins and Ravens were in the market for new head coaches after tough campaigns that saw them finish 1-15 and 5-11, respectively.

Miami’s rise from the ashes is movie-making material. With rookie head coach Tony Sparano, new quarterback Chad Pennington, a healthy Ronnie Brown and a rejuvenated Ricky Williams, the Dolphins captured their first AFC East championship since 2000 by defeating the Jets last Sunday, 24-17.

A legitimate MVP candidate, Pennington completed 67% of his passes for 3,653 yards and 19 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Brown and Williams combined for 1,575 yards rushing and 14 scores, and linebackers Joey Porter (17.5 sacks) and Channing Crowder (122 tackles) regained respect for a defense that was on the field for 48 touchdowns in 2007.

Baltimore, which happened to be Miami’s lone victim a year ago, hired John Harbaugh to replace Brian Billick as head coach. They also brought in Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator (yes, the same guy fired as head coach of the Dolphins) and gave the keys to rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.

The Ravens were sitting at 2-3 when they visited Miami in Week 7. That’s when most of the pieces fell into place. Flacco passed for 232 yards and a touchdown, Willis McGahee ran for 105 yards and a score and Terrell Suggs brought back a Pennington interception 44 yards for a touchdown to highlight the 27-13 victory.

Pennington threw for 295 yards, but the ground attack managed just 71 yards on 22 carries. It was the start of a four-game winning streak for Baltimore, which also won seven of eight with the only loss coming to the Giants in the finale of a three-game road swing.

A 27-7 win over Jacksonville in Week 17 put the Ravens in the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Flacco has managed the offense well, and the fact Baltimore out-rushed their opponents by more than 1,000 yards helped his cause. McGahee and Le’Ron McClain (1,573 yards, 17 touchdowns) will be a handful for the Dolphins.

The Fish made history as the first one-win team to qualify for the playoffs the following season, and Pennington’s experience outweighs that of Flacco by a mile. The bigger difference is on defense, where the Ravens will prove too tough to crack.

Ravens vs. Dolphins Pick: Baltimore -3.5

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