Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Detroit +3 -110 over Baltimore
1:00 PM EST. This spread needs to be set slightly in the Ravens favor because of situational reasons. It’s the Lions’ second road game, they haven’t tripped up in four straight weeks, and this will likely be their biggest challenge yet this season. Aka, sharps are expecting a letdown or regression spot for Dan Campbell’s team. While sentiments are high on the Lions and many analysts are placing them among the top 5 teams in the NFL, a feisty and underrated Ravens team lies in waiting. While that’s where the odds probably should be and apparently the sharp betting community agrees, that doesn’t mean it’s accurate.
We can type it over and over again until our fingers fall off but it’s still worth repeating– Dan Campbell is building something special in Detroit. Nothing about their recent wins, all of which have been dominant showcases, has been phony. Jared Goff is playing some of the most poised and efficient football of his career, their talent at the offensive skill-positions proves worthwhile every week, their offensive line is among best in the league, and their defense is only getting better. Shallow analysis will talk a lot about second-year edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson, who’s turning into a true game-changer, but the reality is Detroit’s defense is deeper than you think. Offseason additions and depth created in the draft have formed a hungry group of hard-hitting athletes that take Campbell’s culture of “biting your kneecaps off,” as he famously said last season, very seriously. Brian Branch, the rookie standout safety who was making one big play after another before falling to injury, could return this weekend. Linebacker Alex Anzalone is playing like a man possessed, and the Lions’ defensive line is garnering pressure even when Hutchinson takes a break on the sidelines.
The Ravens are no slouches either, although their new offense is clearly still working through some developmental setbacks. A team that could very well be 6-0, Baltimore is talented and capable on both ends of the football; they just need more chemistry together and more experience in a new playbook. A perpetually injured defense last year and with a few players already getting hurt this season, the defense is dynamic and talented when healthy. Roquan Smith brings back the nostalgia of Ray Lewis when he roamed the middle of the field, as the veteran linebacker has played exceptionally well as the centerpiece of their unit. On the other hand, the Baltimore offense has been, well, just okay. Mark Andrews is the only dependable catcher week to week, Odell Beckham is clearly not the same guy and Rashod Bateman may never ascend to expectations, and without Jackson’s legs the Baltimore run-game wouldn’t put up consistent numbers.
Add up all these factors and considering the fact that it’ll be a windy and chilly day in Baltimore, and this figures to be a close contest. The Ravens “situational advantage” is also a bit overstated. They spent a full 6 days in London last week and no doubt it’s been an adjustment as they prepare for Week 7. The Lions are performing at a very high level right now and I just can’t make a case to stand against them at this number. When market perception is this high on a team – there’s a lot of “the Lions are one of the best teams in the NFL” fodder this week, there’s simply nothing phony about this program through six weeks. If we’re getting a 3, we’re taking it.
Detroit +3 -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)