The Baltimore Ravens visit the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon in what could be an ugly game. The Ravens are playing well, going 3-1 straight-up and against the NFL betting lines in their last four. Arizona is stinking it up, going 0-4 straight-up and ATS in its last four contests. The Ravens at Cardinals betting odds have Baltimore now favored by 9.5 points, and the total has climbed slightly to 45.
Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Line: Baltimore -9.5
Ravens Leading AFC North
The AFC North figured to be a two-team race between Baltimore and Cincinnati. The Ravens are doing their piece, but the Bengals have struggled. So it’s Baltimore in front by a half-game over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens are coming off their best game of the NFL season last week, a 38-6 victory over Detroit. The Ravens dominated the game and were never challenged.
Scoring hasn’t been a problem for Baltimore. But it hasn’t been a strong point, either. The Ravens are averaging 24.4 points per game and 362.6 total yards. Baltimore is running the ball pretty well, gaining 4.4 yards per carry and 145 yards per game. The Ravens are passing for 217.6 yards per game. Baltimore is gaining 5.7 yards per play, which is No. 6 in the NFL.
But the bigger story in Baltimore has been the play of the defense, which is allowing 13,9 points per game. The Ravens have been pretty strong against the pass, but not as good against the run. Baltimore is making teams travel 19.6 yards to score a point, which ties them for No. 2 in the NFL.
Cardinals Quickly Falling Apart
Arizona didn’t start out the season too bad. The NFL scores show a pair of close losses to Washington and the Giants to start the season, and the Cardinals were 2-0 against the spread. Then came the upset victory against Dallas. But since then, the Cardinals are 0-4 straight-up and against the spread. The closest game they’ve been involved in was last week’s 20-10 loss to Seattle as 9-point underdogs.
Arizona hasn’t been too bad offensively. The Cardinals are averaging 18.1 points against teams, allowing 20.7 points. So they’re below average, but nothing dreadful. Arizona can run the ball pretty well. The Cardinals gain 5.2 yards per carry but only rush 26.6 times per game. Arizona throws 33 times a game for 180.9 yards.
The biggest problem for the Cardinals has been the defense, which is allowing 26 points to teams scoring just 21.3 points. The Cardinals don’t defend the run that well and are even worse against the pass. If the Cardinals weren’t +3 in turnovers, the defensive stats might look a little bit worse.
What to Expect
The Ravens can pretty much pick their poison here. Baltimore should be able to move the ball on the ground or through the air and will likely mix it up to keep Arizona off balance. The team does run more than it passes, although some of those rushing attempts were pass plays, and Lamar Jackson decided to take off with the ball. This is the type of game the Ravens just want to get in and get out healthy with a victory. This is a game the Ravens can’t afford to lose if they want to win the division and land a decent spot in the NFL playoff bracket.
Arizona’s best chance to keep this one close is to stick with the rushing attack. The lone weakness on Baltimore’s defense is its rushing defense, where the Ravens allow 4.2 yards per carry to teams averaging 3.9 yards. The Cardinals are averaging 5.2 yards against NFL teams, allowing 4.3 yards. Arizona should be able to make some plays running the ball. It’s a question of how many times they’ll run the ball.
Who to Bet On?
The Ravens at Cardinals betting odds of Baltimore -9.5 is a tough one to play. Betting Baltimore requires the Ravens to win by double-digits in a game they may not be too motivated for. A much tougher test in Seattle is up next, followed by Cleveland and Cincinnati.
But betting on Arizona would require the Cardinals to play their best game in the past five weeks to cash a ticket. It’s hard to put that much faith in a team that has lost four straight NFL games by 10 points or more.
The Ravens at Cardinals betting odds on the total of 45 looks a little more appealing. If the Cardinals can run the ball and work the clock, they can keep Jackson and the Baltimore offense off the field. Arizona should look to shorten the game any way they can, which should help keep points down a little bit. The under 45 is the way to bet this one.
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