You can almost count on one hand how many times the New England Patriots have been an underdog since 2008.
They are in that role Sunday at Baltimore—just the seventh time in four seasons the Patriots have not been favored on the NFL-odds menu on a given week. And in case you believed it was a good opportunity to bet against the Pats, it hasn't worked that way in the past.
"In those six recent games, they are 5-1 ATS, so they seem to take it personally when the oddsmakers call them underdogs," Jack Randall, a football analyst at OddsShark.com, said in an interview Friday. "When we dug deeper into our odds database, the trend continued back to 2005 where they are 10-3 ATS in 13 games as a dog."
It's a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game, and the Patriots look to continue their domination of the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium.
But can they cover three points against a hungry Baltimore team, who is coming off a disappointing road loss in Philly?
New England was the victim of the most stunning upset of the young 2012 season last week. After steamrolling Tennessee in Week 1, it looked like business as usual for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots’ offense.
But entering Week 2 as a 13-point favorite against the Arizona Cardinals, the Patriots hit a rough spell on offense and managed only 18 points in a stunning 20-18 loss. Aaron Hernandez was injured in the loss, and the Patriots signed Kellen Winslow Jr. to fill in for him this week.
Though not nearly as stunning, the Baltimore Ravens also came crashing back down to earth with a loss in Week 2 following a nearly perfect game in Week 1 (a 44-13 win over Cincinnati).
The Ravens forced four turnovers against Philadelphia and took a 23-17 lead with under five minutes left, but Michael Vick led his team on a touchdown drive with under two minutes to go to seal the win.
The Patriots have beaten the Ravens eight times in the last nine meetings between these two teams, but Baltimore holds a 3-1-1 ATS edge over the last five. Each of the last two games between New England and Baltimore have been 23-20 New England victories, including last year’s AFC championship.
Baltimore held Brady to just 239 yards passing with no touchdowns and two interceptions, but still ended up losing the game.
Baltimore will be hungry for revenge Sunday, but the Patriots won’t go down easily after being beaten last week. This should be a great game between two of the AFC’s best teams, but in Baltimore, the Ravens get the slight edge.
Baltimore has won 11 straight games at home and, with a repeat of last year’s defensive performance, should be able to do enough on offense to win the game.
PICK: Baltimore -3 (courtesy of PickShark.com)