When: Saturday 4:35 p.m. ET
Odds: Patriots opened as 7.5-point favorites and now sit as 7-point favorites. The total has dropped from 49 to 48 points.
If there were any team that could feel pretty good about heading to play the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, it’s probably the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore has beaten the Pats twice in three playoff meetings and has won six of its last eight. Plus, the Ravens are 7-4 in postseason road games under John Harbaugh.
“I really don’t have an explanation for that, other than the fact that we played well,” Harbaugh told reporters. “You have to play well on the road to get a chance to win.”
Still, there are tons of reasons why New England is a touchdown favorite at home. To begin with, Baltimore’s secondary has struggled all year and this is a nasty matchup against Tom Brady and this passing attack. The Ravens also tend to be one-dimensional offensively. Last week they managed just 49 yards on 25 rushing attempts and that will need to change if they’re going to hope against the Pats.
Meanwhile, New England is coming off an off week which gives Brady and Belichick even more time to get the offence ready to roll. As good as the Ravens have been recently, they don’t exactly have a lot of statement wins over tough competition during this hot streak. New England’s attack will be too much and the Pats will focus on shutting down one element of Baltimore’s offence. If that happens, this could be a blowout.
New England Patriots 34, Baltimore Ravens 23.
When: Saturday 8:15 p.m. ET
Odds: Seahawks currently sit as 11-point favorites after opening -11.5. The over/under is at 40 after opening at 40.5 points.
If you’re looking for a loveable underdog to root for with some betting value, don’t discount the Carolina Panthers. They’ve another club riding a major hot streak with five wins in a row and they traditionally play the Seahawks very tough. Carolina has lost its last three against Seattle but just by a combined total of 13 points. To put that in perspective, the Seahawks still sit as 11-point favorites in this one.
Carolina hasn’t allowed any of its last five opponents to score more than 17 points and owned the No. 10 total defence in the league this season. So, if the Panthers can avoid getting down by a couple of scores early, there’s no reason to think they won’t be in the mix by the time the fourth quarter rolls around. Yes, Seattle is a place road teams go to die, but if you’re taking Seattle to win by more than 11 against this club, you might consider re-checking your prescriptions. No disrespect to the Seahawks – they’re as tough as they come and can put any team on the ropes with their defence and running game. This line just seems too high for a playoff game against a Carolina team that’s finally reaching its potential.
Seattle Seahawks 23, Carolina Panthers 17.