The pre-season of the NFL rolls on Saturday with a hefty set of intriguing match-ups. Yesterday I selected out a winner in the Chargers/Cardinals game. San Diego won in convincing fashion as narrow home favourites, with Philip Rivers and new wideout Travis Benjamin looking good in the early stages. Even though they did win last night, don’t expect much from the Chargers in 2016. Their teams has holes throughout and this Joey Bosa-contract situation is getting to be more of a mess as each day passes.
Today though we will shift our attention to Indianapolis where the Colts will host the visiting Ravens in an all-AFC showdown. Both these teams heasvily rested their starting players last week, but the reins should be off a bit as we progress through the exhibition campaign. For John Harbaugh’s Baltimore side, many key veteran starters didn’t suit up at all last week against the Bengals, but they’re expected to play Saturday night. On the other side of the field, it’s believed Andrew Luck will be getting an entire quarter with his starting group tonight. This should be a good match-up between two teams who will surely be jockeying for playoff positioning throughout the season. Read on below for a full game preview and prediction, as we look to go above the .500 mark for this pre-season.
Ravens vs. Colts Betting Odds:
Baltimore Ravens +3 (-120)
@ Indianapolis Colts -3 (+100)
Over 40 (-110)
Under 40 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ravens vs. Colts Pick:
Even though it is expected that the Ravens will have more of their starters available tonight, their starting quarterback Joe Flacco is likely going to be held out for one more week. Flacco is recovering from off-season knee surgery, and should be able to get some game reps in next week before the regular season commences.
Beyond Flacco though is why the Ravens should be backed tonight. They’ve got great options at QB2 and QB3 with former starters with experience in Ryan Mallett and Josh Johnson. The duo looked solid in Week 1 of the pre-season and should be able to do damage once again against the Colts back-ups and into the second half. Beyond Andrew Luck will be Scott Tolzien, who has looked dreadful in his limited NFL action thus far.
Another intriguing trend throughout the pre-season between these teams is their historical records. While I don’t value trends particularly, it is interesting to see that John Harbaugh has quite the impressive pre-season record. He has never hid his desire to win, even in the exhibition season, and as a result Baltimore is 21-12 all-time under his guidance. Indianapolis meanwhile has struggled over the past few seasons.
Though Indianapolis is at home and may leave their key starters in for longer than Baltimore’s, the depth of the Ravens, especially at the quarterback position – makes me side with them tonight as road underdogs. This remains a talented and motivated organization every time they take the field, and their defense should rise to the challenge to keep them in it in the first quarter vs. Luck and his teammates.
PICK = Ravens +3 (-120)