Baltimore did what they were supposed to do last week; they beat Carolina. Tampa did was they weren’t supposed to do; they beat San Francisco. The Bucs were 3.5 point underdogs last week, and it’s time the odds makers started believing in this team. They remind me a lot of the 2008 Atlanta Falcons under then first year head coach Mike Smith and first year QB Matt Ryan. No one believed they’d keep winning, both at home and on the road, but they finished the season 11-5. The Bucs can win anywhere and are a real threat to the Ravens this week.
Baltimore dominated the Panthers 37-13 last week, but not much can be taken away from the game. They were playing against a depleted Panthers team who were starting Brian St. Pierre at QB. Yes, who is right. Flacco threw for over 300 yards against a solid Panthers pass D which ranks 5th on the year, and the Ravens go up against the Bucs 6th ranked pass D this week. Baltimore are undefeated at home this year, with a record of 4-0. But their running game still isn’t where it needs to be. Ray Rice ran for 65 yards on 19 carries for an average of 3.4 against a Panthers run D that gives up almost 130 yards per game on the ground. If Rice is going to get things going it’ll be this week against the Bucs 29th ranked rushing defense.
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So how are Tampa winning games? Their pass defense is in the top 10 this year and they’re scoring a respectable 20 points per game, but it’s the play from their QB Josh Freeman and their #1 WR Mike Williams that’s putting them over the edge. Where young teams usually falter, the Bucs are showing no signs of youth. They’re 4-0 on the road with big 4th quarter comeback wins against the Bengals and Cardinals. Freeman has done enough already to be a viewed as a potentially great QB of the future, and this week either the 7-3 Ravens who are undefeated at home or the 7-3 Tampa Bucs who are undefeated on the road, will lose.
Bucs vs. Ravens Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7.5
@ Baltimore Ravens -7.5
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Bucs vs. Ravens Prediction for Week 12 Betting:
Spread Prediction (Top Play): The Bucs are playing as an underdog again this year, and clearly the odds makers are sticking with their guns in believing they’re a touchdown worse than the Ravens. Baltimore have been average this year, despite their 7-3 record. They didn’t do much to on the ground against the Panthers poor run D last week so I don’t have a reason to think they’ll do anything on the ground this week. Through 12 weeks and they haven’t fixed their O line problems, it won’t suddenly change overnight. Tampa are undefeated on the road and have big play ability from WR Mike Williams. I really like the Bucs to keep it rolling and easily keep this game within 7.
Top Play Prediction = Bucs +7.5
Game Total Prediction: Whether the number will go over or under in this game will be determined by how well the Ravens defense play. The Bucs defense doesn’t shut teams down, they just outscore them, so it’ll be up to the Ravens defense to keep Tampa off the scoreboard. In 3 of their 4 home wins their opponents scored more than 17 points, with Buffalo putting up 34. The Bucs put up about 20 points per game on offense, but have scored more than 20 in all 5 road games this season. I like this one to go over based on the Ravens inconsistencies on defense and lack of running game. This will be an aerial game which will allow for more points to be put up before time runs out.
Prediction = Over 41