Jim Harbaugh has captured the imagination of NFL fans everywhere. He has the 49ers at 9-1 SU and 9-0-1 ATS. He beat the Eagles in Philadelphia and the Lions in Detroit. And then beat up Jim Schwartz during the post-game handshake.
Really, what’s not to love about Harbaugh and the 49ers?
Well, nothing. They’ve had a great run and they look like a top 5 team this year. But it’s precisely because of this great run that bettors have a tremendous opportunity to find value in tonight’s Ravens/49ers line.
The Ravens are 7-3 SU and just 5-4-1 ATS. They’ve been positively schizophrenic this season; they beat Pittsburgh twice (including an opening game beatdown), the NY Jets and the Texans but they’ve also lost to Jacksonville, Tennessee and *gasp* Seattle. Those under-performing losses combined with Joe Flacco, who has been predictably inconsistent and ranks 26th in the NFL in QB rating, makes it hard to get too excited about the Ravens. But again, this is why the Ravens are now just a 3.5 point favorite over the 49ers.
So sentiment behind ¬†San Francisco is at an all time high. And no one has confidence in the Ravens. That sets up for line value for Ravens’ backers. Just as importantly, this is San Francisco’s fourth trip east this season and this game is being played on a short week. West coast teams traveling east to play on Thursdays are 2-9 ATS.
Meanwhile, the 49ers have a 5 game lead in the NFC West and the Ravens are tied for the division lead with the Steelers (albeit with the tie-breaker in hand) which makes this game substantially more important to the Ravens then it is to the 49ers.
Nearly every significant circumstance is providing Baltimore Ravens’ backers with a great opportunity to make money. But the cherry on top? The public loves the 49ers. It’s rare for the public to back an underdog but when they do, it can be particularly profitable to fade them. And so that’s what I’ll be doing tonight to the tune of 4 units (the most I’ll ever play on a single game).
Recommendation: Ravens -3
Who do you like?