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AFC CHAMPIONSHIP

RAVENS AT STEELERS

1/18/08

 

For Our NFC write up click here

 

3* Ravens +6 over Steelers - You've heard the saying, "there's more than one way to skin a cat". Well, there's more than one way to get a number on a football game. We use two primary methods to come up with a number on games. One, is the standard power rating. Power Ratings are adjusted each week to reflect a teams current performance and serve to provide a handicapper with a rough number on the actual point difference between two teams. We have kept our own football numbers for many years, but there are also a ton of other well known and very good ratings published for free on the net. Far too many to name but most do a very good job. The other method we use to get a number is the yards per point figure which you have seen us refer to often. This number can be used in many ways. You can take season to date, last 5 games, home and away, common opponents and so on.

Getting a number is a starting point. There's a saying in sports handicapping, "you need a number to beat a number". You need to take the guesswork out of it. There's always variables to consider, such as, weather, a teams state of mind, home field advantage and so on. But your own number is essential as a starting point. When using these various methods to get a number on this game, the end result is unanimous.........it all comes back Baltimore.

We have mentioned since the end of the regular season that Baltimore was putting up some numbers comparable to past Super Bowl teams, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. So it's no surprise to us that they are here in the AFC title game. Many say they were outplayed by the Titans, that the Titans gave the game away with costly turnovers. That's only partially correct. Turnovers are created. They are created by pressure, by hard hitting, by aggressively getting after the ball. The Titans didn't give the game away. The Ravens went out and did what they do best. The Ravens TOOK the game away. Also worth noting is the fact that the Steelers played the very same Titans in a meaningful game towards seasons end, and came up empty to the tune of 31-14.

As mentioned, we used the methods described above to come up with a number, or numbers on this game. The power ratings, both our own and another well known rating come back with the Steelers by less than a field goal. When we break it down using yards per point using just the last 6 games for both teams, our number is Baltimore by 4. Using yards per point home numbers for the Steelers and away numbers for the Ravens, we come up with pick. Using both teams entire season to date, the yards per point number on the game is also pick. Every method we use, and every time frame we consider, it all comes back Steelers by a field goal or less. Or in the case of yards per point using the last 6 games, a straight up Ravens win.

 

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You can also use the two games these two teams played against each other in making a case for the Ravens. After all, they played an overtime game earlier in the year, and then a game in December in which the Steelers won it on the final drive of the game. The Steelers had to come from behind to win in both games. In the game earlier in the year, it was a fairly even game statistically. The Steelers won the stat battle in the December game, but again, it took a score on the final drive, a controversial one at that, to win it.

It's not rocket science. Defense will be the name of the game this Sunday. Both teams will have trouble moving the ball. The game, like so many others, will be decided by mistakes, penalties, turnovers. The Ravens are on a roll. They have been putting up Super Bowl like numbers for the last half of the year. These teams are very familiar with each other. There's no reason this game, like the two previous, doesn't come down to the 4th quarter, perhaps the last drive, perhaps overtime. When you handicap games, you look for a slight edge when comparing your number with the actual number. We have that here across the board. We will gladly take +6 here in this spot. Presented with this exact same situation 100 times, you will win 55 times or more. That's enough to provide us with a long term profit. We may win, or lose, this particular play, but long term, it's a winner. So, we play. 3* Ravens +6 over Steelers

 

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