Thursday, December 18, 2014

Baltimore Ravens Vs. Houston Texans: BAL -5 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

Want to see a severe line move?  The Texans were -1 point favorites last week, but after Fitzpatrick got injured the line reopened at Ravens -3.5. It quickly moved to -4, and on Tuesday it moved to -4.5. Now we've seen it go to -5, and it wouldn't shock me if it continued to move more before kickoff. 83% of the bets are on Baltimore.

Bottom Line

It's not recommended to bet a "bad number" when something better was available earlier in the week, but it also depends on how strong of a position you have on a game. In this case, I think the Ravens win by more than a touchdown - possibly double digits.

The main reason I'm in Baltimore is the matchup their defense presents to the Houston offense. Most of their approach runs through Arian Foster, but the Ravens front seven is the strength of their defense. The secondary is very vulnerable due to injuries, but I doubt Keenum will be consistent enough to take advantage. Yeah he's played for the Texans before, but the organization cut him for Ryan Mallett, and he's behind the 8-ball within the system.

If the Texans do hit some big plays or get the benefit of some favorable penalties, they'll also have trouble converting their red zone chances into TDs - an area that the Ravens D rank number one in the league.

It's also a bad matchup for the Texans at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They do have JJ Watt, and that always counts for something, but the Ravens are 5th in the NFL in adjusted sack rate. On the flip side, they are 3rd in that category on defense, which should become an even bigger factor going up against Keenum.

Making the task even tougher will be the special teams units. Houston rank 27th, while Baltimore is 2nd.

I think the only chance the Texans have will be with their own defense. They have been solid in the "make-or-break" moments all year, so they'll have to hope that this will be enough to keep the game close.

Ultimately, I don't think that will cut it though.

It will be an uphill climb all day for Houston, so I'll go ahead and lay the -5.

NFL pick: BAL -5.

Read more: Week 16 picks.