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NFL Betting Ravens at Dolphins

October 18, 2008

NFL Football Betting - Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

Baltimore has dropped three straight games, two of which came by a field goal, and a loss here likely puts the Ravens three games back in the AFC North.

This game starts a stretch of four straight winnable games as Oakland, Cleveland and Houston follow before an absolutely brutal end to the schedule follows after that. The Ravens are remaining competitive with their defense as usual as the offense has been slow to catch up but that could change here.

Miami had won two big games in a row over New England and San Diego but the defeat at Houston last week was a stinger. The Dolphins are going to try and regroup and while many believe last season is behind them, this team has not turned the corner just yet.

While the two wins were impressive, the three losses were not as Miami was outgained in each of those and by a total of 340 yards. While the running game has been the strength, the Dolphins were actually outrushed in those three losses as well.

Ronnie Brown has been the catalyst of the rushing offense and while his overall numbers have been impressive, they are good only because of two games. In those wins over the Patriots and Chargers, Brown rushed for 238 yards on 41 carries (5.8 ypc) but in the three losses, he rushed for just 98 yards on 30 carries (3.3 ypc).

It is no coincidence that the two successful games came against rushing defenses ranked 22nd and 17th. Baltimore comes into this game with the best rushing defense in the NFL, allowing just 66.4 ypg.

The perennially solid Ravens defense is at it again as the team has held opponents to an NFL-low 220.8 ypg and has allowed the sixth-fewest points per contest at 17.4 ppg.

On the other side, Miami is 18th in total defense which is respectable but certainly nothing outstanding. Baltimore is ranked 25th in total offense and it relies on the seventh-ranked running game as quarterback Joe Flacco has had his share of rookie issues. However there is a sense that the play-calling is improving over the Brian Billick regime.

These teams are very even in terms of point differentials and the Ravens fall into a solid situation involving those numbers. Play on road underdogs or pick after scoring 14 points or less last game and now playing in a game where both teams are +3 to -3 in scoring differential.

This situation is 23-8 ATS (74.2 percent) over the last 10 seasons. The Dolphins are just 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games coming off as road loss and have covered just eight of their last 28 games against a team with a losing record.

Pick: Baltimore Ravens +3 (-114) available at 5Dimes.

- Matt Fargo of Sportscapping.com

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