Ravens-Cardinals Monday Night Preview
IS BALTIMORE READY TO THROW IN THE TOWEL? IS ARIZONA READY TO WAVE THAT SAME TOWEL IN THE AIR?
Monday Night's Baltimore/Arizona game may be the unofficial end of the Ravens' season. They're off to a very disappointing 1-5 start because of sluggish play and a brutal schedule. It's only getting worse because a road trip to Arizona is a tough challenge for an East Coast team that's already played games against West division teams in Denver, Oakland, and San Francisco.
At least Baltimore players can use their frequent flyer miles for something fun in the offseason!
Worse, they catch talented Arizona in a bounce-back spot after the Cards fell apart in the second half of last Sunday's game in Pittsburgh. Arizona may be a legitimate #2 seed in the NFC behind Green Bay. How can Baltimore get back on track with such a difficult challenge starting them in the face?
Let's see what JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats have to say about this game and the immediate 2015 future for both teams...
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Baltimore: 1-5 (#6 schedule according to Sagarin)
Arizona: 4-2 (#27 schedule according to Sagarin)
Very interesting numbers there. Sagarin doesn't adjust for travel...so that #6 schedule ranking is only about opponents. Arizona's had it pretty easy. What if you flipped schedules? Would both teams be 3-3? Would Baltimore have the better record? You'll see in a moment that the Vegas price is treating Arizona like they're significantly better than Baltimore. Is that a schedule illusion?
Baltimore: 5.4 on offense, 5.7 on defense
Arizona: 6.7 on offense, 5.3 on defense
Obviously you have to make adjustments for schedule here. Though, it's worth considering that Baltimore is now so exhausted that they're going to play like a low level team. Arizona has established that they can crush low level teams. If Arizona is +1.4 in yards-per-play Monday night...it won't be much of a ball game. Baltimore must make a run at 6.0 YPP on offense to keep it a game.
Also influenced by schedule...because fatigue vs. quality leads to mistakes. Arizona plays the percentages well and exploits teams who screw up when trying to catch up. What you see above could really magnify the size of an Arizona blowout. Tired Baltimore won't just be outclassed. They'll make mistakes that will create a very big margin. That's fairly common for this site...so it's a legitimate expectation. On the other hand....if Baltimore plays clean, does Arizona have what it takes to pull away? Can Arizona win a blowout without a turnover boost?
Baltimore: 0-5-1 ATS
Arizona: 4-2 ATS
Baltimore has been the most overrated team in the league so far in 2015. Though, in fairness, it may be more accurate to say that oddsmakers and bettors underestimated the magnitude of their challenge. The team was a bit overrated, while the travel challenges were underrated. Arizona's blemishes came in a home flat spot vs. St. Louis, and then at Pittsburgh last Sunday when they lost their focus. Those are helpful reminders that you can't just assume a slaughter. Cardinal opponents that don't blink are positioned to win outright in the fourth quarter.
Current Line: Arizona by 9, total of 49.5
The market is sensing a blowout. Further...the market is either pricing Arizona as a strong playoff entry or Baltimore down in the class with Jacksonville and Tennessee. That's a HIGH number for what was expected of these teams prior to the season. Has the universe changed that much?
Tough challenge for handicappers. If Baltimore has mentally thrown in the towel...Arizona's going to be up about 31-10 entering the fourth quarter. If Baltimore still has some heart and can play clean, we're looking at a nailbiter finish.
JIM HURLEY knows Monday is the most important sports betting day in Las Vegas and around the world. He's 10-3 so far in sides and totals on Monday night, and has won the last two with the Eagles and the Steelers. He and his full team of experts will make sure you get the right side (or total) against the game day numbers.
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Back soon to look at the Thursday night TV game and start another winning weekend. Here's what's on tap this week in the NOTEBOOK...
Midweek: NFL TV Preview...Miami at New England
Friday-Saturday: College Football TV Preview...to be determined
Sunday: NFL TV Preview...Green Bay at Denver
Monday: NFL TV Preview...Indianapolis at Carolina
Good looks at New England and Green Bay...the two current market favorites to play in Super Bowl 50. Also a chance to evaluate Denver and Carolina as spoilers. The schedule never stops...so JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK never stops tracking down BIG, JUICY WINNERS!
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