Sunday night prime time NFL action serves up an excellent matchup between teams with postseason aspirations as the New York Jets head to ‘Charm City’ to take on the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are coming off a decisive road victory over the injury riddled St. Louis Rams while the Jets are trying to bounce back from a loss on the road to the improving Oakland Raiders.


The biggest storyline of the 2011 NFL season so far—at least among the sports betting segment of the audience—has been the high scoring. Game after game has sailed over the total and ‘prime time’ games on Monday and Sunday nights have been a lopsided ‘Over’ winner. That notwithstanding, this total looks a little high considering the teams involved.

The Ravens allowed an uncharacteristically high 26 points at Tennessee in Week 2 but that had much to do with their offense, which struggled to move the ball and lost three turnovers in the process. Combined with a ‘letdown’ situation off their opening week win over Pittsburgh this was a classic spot for a substandard effort. Make no mistake, this Baltimore defense is still very good—Ray Lewis will always be the emotional leader but the biggest talent on the Ravens’ stop unit is likely Haloti Ngata. If the Jets’ all pro center Nick Mangold can’t play (more about him in a moment) that’ll mean Ngata will benefit from a huge mismatch against undrafted rookie Colin Baxter.

Baltimore has put up 35 and 37 points in their two victories but that’s likely an aberration. Joe Flacco is becoming a very competent NFL quarterback who excels at ‘playing within himself’ but those big score totals came against a Pittsburgh Steelers’ team that turned the ball over 7 times and the banged up St. Louis Rams. There’s no reason to think that the Ravens are going ‘run and gun’, rather the schedule to this point has facilitated some higher scores.

Lost among the media frenzy of the high scoring nature of early season NFL play has been the erosion of the New York Jets’ rushing attack. New York is currently 25th in rushing offense despite facing opponents (Dallas, Jacksonville and to a lesser extent Oakland) not known for their ability to shut down the run. That means more pressure on Mark Sanchez to throw downfield and that’s always a tenuous proposition. Sanchez could be scrambling for safety all day and especially if center Nick Mangold is unavailable. He was listed as ‘out’ earlier this week, though in later reports head coach Rex Ryan suggested that he’s a ‘game time decision’ though this wasn’t reflected in the various injury reports.

The total on this game opened at 40 and has been bet up to 43′ at most sports books with at least one 44 on the screen (at the Wynn in Las Vegas). Sports Options reports 73% of the action on the ‘Over’. That’s hard to envision given the offensive and defensive tendencies of these teams. Last year the teams combined for 19 points in a 10-9 Ravens’ win and while there may be a few more points here that still gives a nice ‘margin for error’. Baltimore has played Under the total in 12 of their last 19 against opponents with winning records and this could be one of the spots where some ‘correction’ from the early season ‘Over’ bias is in order. Look for a final score in the mid 30’s and an easy ‘Under’.

Bet New York Jets/Baltimore Ravens Under 43′

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