NFL Playoff Picks: Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Sunday, 1/20/12, 6:30 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  New England -9
Current Betting Line:  New England -7.5
Opening Total:  51
Current Total:  51.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Patriots vs. Dolphins NFL Preview
The New England Patriots are 7-1 in AFC Championship Games

Baltimore knocked out the top seed in the AFC playoffs last week, capturing a thrilling 38-35 overtime win over the Denver Broncos as 9.5-point road underdogs, while going OVER the posted total of 44.  “I think we personally kind of wanted to play the Patriots again,” commented Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata after the game.  The Ravens suffered a disappointing 23-20 setback to the Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship Game as seven-point underdogs.  Baltimore is 7-6 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus years, something to consider when making your pro football picks Sunday.

The Ravens captured their second consecutive AFC North Division title during the regular season, as they set a single-season franchise record by scoring 398 points, but 254 of those came at home.  Baltimore produced 72 offensive plays of 20-or-more yards this season, which was the third-best mark of its kind in the NFL.  Quarterback Joe Flacco threw for a career-high 3,817 yards, while tossing 22 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions.

New England will look to improve upon its stellar 7-1 record when playing in conference championship games, which includes a perfect 3-0 mark at Gillette Stadium.  The Patriots enjoyed a first-round bye in the playoffs before coming away with a 41-28 win as 9.5-point home favorites against the Houston Texans last week.  Quarterback Tom Brady leads the league’s best offense, as he passed for 344 yards and three scores last time out.  New England is 1-7 ATS off two consecutive covers as a favorite over the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 6-3 in that situation.

The Patriots have compiled a dominating 10-2 record at home in postseason play since 2002, while outscoring all foes in front of their home fans by an incredible 924 points during that period.  New England is 5-1 all-time against Baltimore in Foxborough, but did manage to drop a 31-30 decision as 2.5-point road underdogs at M&T Bank Stadium earlier this year.

Sports bettors will likely back the Patriots due to their 4-1 ATS mark at home, while the Ravens are 1-6-1 ATS after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.

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