NFL Playoff Picks: Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, 1/6/12, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Baltimore -6.5
Current Betting Line:  Baltimore -7
Opening Total:  46.5
Current Total:  47
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Ravens vs. Bengals NFL Preview
The Baltimore Ravens have won at least one playoff game each year with Joe Flacco under center

Indianapolis landed one of the AFC Wild Card spots by winning five of its final six games, including a 28-16 victory over the Houston Texans as 6.5-point home underdogs in Week 17, while going UNDER the total for a third consecutive affair.  The Colts were 9-1 in games decided by seven points or less, while becoming only the fourth team to win as many as 10 games after a season of two or fewer victories.  Indianapolis is 2-4 ATS as a road underdog this year, which can’t be ignored when making your NFL picks against the spread Sunday.

The Colts are led by rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, who will need to protect the football against one of the more aggressive safeties in the league, as Ed Reed has 61 career interceptions.  The No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft had six 300-yard passing games, while also managing to throw 23 touchdown passes.  Eleven first-year signal-callers have earned a combined 7-11 starting record in the playoffs since 1970.

Baltimore lost four of its final five games, but did manage to gain some momentum in splitting its last two contests against the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants, finishing with a double-digit yardage advantage in each.  The Ravens captured their second consecutive AFC North Division title, as they will now participate in the NFL playoffs for a fifth-straight year.  The team set a single-season franchise record by scoring 398 points, which was made possible by averaging 31.8 points per game at M&T Bank Stadium.  Baltimore is 7-4 ATS as a home favorite of seven or less points, something to monitor when looking over the pro football odds page.

The Ravens turned the ball over just 16 times this season, as they hope that quarterback Joe Flacco can take another step toward the Super Bowl this year.  He threw for a career-high 3,817 yards and has won at least one playoff game each season since being drafted by the franchise.  On the defensive end, Baltimore surrendered 21.5 points per game, which was 12th-best in the league.

Sports bettors will likely back the Ravens due to their 5-1 ATS mark in Wild Card games, while the Colts are 0-3 ATS in January.

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