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NFL Betting Preview for January 9, 2011: Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Written by Matt Stevens   
Tuesday, 04 January 2011 08:16

Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs OddsBetting Online Preview:

Betting on NFL playoff games does not get any more difficult that the wild card game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs. The sports betting bonus experts know that this game features two teams that have overlapping strengths and exploitable weaknesses. The NFL pick for this game may wind up being the team that scores last, considering that both teams may not find the opportunity to score very often.

The Chiefs have one of the best running games in the NFL and the Ravens have one of the top running defenses in the NFL. The Ravens have a passing game built on speed while the Chiefs secondary has the ability to stay step-for-step with any offense in the NFL. It should be a good game, but it could be another situation where the visiting team wins on wild card weekend.


The Chiefs offense is an eclectic mix of a powerful running game and a utilitarian passing game. Quarterback Matt Cassel has become an excellent manager of football games, and he knows that he has running backs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones to fall back on. The Chiefs offensive line is one of their strengths, and that can be enough to help keep the Ravens pass rush from getting through to Cassel. The problem the Chiefs will have is the linebackers of Baltimore who are very fast, very active and very motivated by Ray Lewis. The Baltimore secondary seems to have come to life with Ed Reed back at safety. Reed had two interceptions in the week 17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and he looks to be in mid-season form.

The Ravens offense has become a solid mix of good running from running back Ray Rice and good decision-making from quarterback Joe Flacco. The season started shaky for Flacco who was getting sacked because he was holding the ball too long, or getting intercepted because he was making inaccurate throws. The Ravens have worked out the kinks on offense, and now they are able to use their huge and athletic offensive line to help spread out the opposing defense.

The Chiefs defense has benefited from the excellent running game that Kansas City has. The Chiefs offense is able to control the time of possession, which keeps some of the pressure off of the defense. The Chiefs defense is ranked 14th in the league allowing an average of 330 total yards per game. The strength of the Chiefs defense is stopping the running game. One of the ways to beat the Ravens used to be to shut down Ray Rice and the running game and put the game in the hands of Joe Flacco. But with the recent turnaround by Flacco, the athletic secondary of the Chiefs will be getting a workout in this game.

The Ravens have strength on the defensive line and at linebacker. For most of the season, the weakness of the Ravens defense was the secondary. In the last two weeks, the Baltimore secondary has suddenly shown that they can play with just about any offense. That means the Ravens can take away the passing game and focus the majority of their energy on stopping the run.

The Bottom Line:
This game will be a battle to see which is better; the Ravens defense or the Chiefs running game. Unfortunately for Kansas City, the smart gambler puts his money on Ray Lewis and the Baltimore defense.

BSN Sports free pick: Baltimore Ravens

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