Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
1:00 PM EST. Mathematically, the Bucs have not been eliminated so it’s not like they have nothing to play for. As for the Ravens, they hold the sixth seed in the playoffs right now (barely) so every game is a “must win”. Must win is a phrase you are going to hear repeatedly over the next three weeks and it’s an angle you’ll hear pick-sellers and pundits use often. We’ll use it too -- only we’ll use it to bet against these “must win teams” because we’re almost always getting inflated points against them. Such is the case here.
Baltimore won and covered in Kansas City last week despite getting continuously screwed over by the zebras. You can read all about that screw-job here:
That loss in K.C., in OT no less, ended Baltimore’s three-game winning streak. Only a half game behind the Steelers, the Ravens have a good shot at winning the division but if they fail, they'll end up in the logjam for the No. 6 Wild Card. We’re just giving you the skinny on the possible outcomes but at the end of the day, it’s still all about value and right now, Baltimore’s stock is a little too high and therefore doesn’t warrant being better than a converted TD favorite over the Bucs.
The question surrounding the Ravens this week is which QB will John Harbaugh turn to. It's all a bit college football, but Lamar Jackson is 3-1 as a starter and even in the loss to the Chiefs, he threw for two touchdowns for the first time while maintaining his normal 70+ yards as a rusher. Jackson had his ankle rolled last week during overtime and had to give way to Robert Griffin so he could throw a few incompletions. Harbaugh said Jackson would be fine but he has not indicated his plans now that Joe Flacco is back from his hip injury. Truth is, oddsmakers don’t give a f**k which QB starts so we don’t either. There’s an old adage that says if you have two QB’s that you have to decide between, than you have none. Lamar Jackson is not NFL caliber and Joe Flacco is a massive risk spotting points. Therefore, if it doesn’t matter which QB starts -- the oddsmakers have clearly reflected that by not waiting to post a number. In othjer words, if Flacco is a big risk, so, too, is Lamar Jackson. If we’re betting the Bucs, which QB do we prefer to go against? We don’t give a f**k either.
Update on Sunday is that Lamar Jackson will start and that has us shouting with glee.
Tampa can score and they can stay in games. Outside of a 48-10 loss to the Bears way back in Week 4, the Bucs beat Cleveland in OT, lost to Atlanta by five, lost to the Giants in New Jersey just four weeks ago, had a chance to beat the Saints last week, crushed San Fran three weeks ago, 27-9 and lost by just seven to the Panthers two weeks ago. This 5-8 squad could easily be 8-5, as they also have a three-point loss to the Bengals and a three-point loss to the Steelers. The Bucs defense is playing better lately and if Tampa just happens to score the first TD, a distinct possibility indeed, the Ravens will be chasing a cover the rest of the afternoon and very likely won’t get it. Regardless, we’re getting great value against an overpriced favorite and that’s all we are interested in.
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Tampa Bay +8½ -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)