NFL: Saturday, December 22, 2018, ROKiT Field at StubHub Center, Carson, California, 8:20 PM ET
The Baltimore Ravens responded to a three-game losing streak with four wins in the previous five games including the latest one over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to improve to 8-6 record and to stay in the AFC wildcard race with Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, and Miami Dolphins. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Chargers (11-3) are in an excellent form of four consecutive victories as they are fighting the divisional rivals Kansas City Chiefs to secure the top spot in the AFC, and considering that the Chiefs have a tough job at Seattle, the Chargers could end up at the top of the conference after this encounter.
The Ravens bounced back from a loss to Kansas City with a win over Tampa
Baltimore’ three-game winning run was snapped in Kansas City as the Chiefs beat them in overtime but the Ravens returned home and defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 20-12, to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Ravens failed to score in the opening 15 minutes but they kept the Bucs off the scoreboard in the first and final quarter, while they totaled 370 yards in opposite to Tampa Bay’s 241 and had 12 more first downs than the visitors (24-12). Baltimore dismantled the Buccaneers with their running game as they recorded 242 yards thanks to Gus Edwards and Lamar Jackson who combined for 199 yards with a touchdown. The second-best running team in the NFL is averaging 141.9 yards per contest and they are facing the Chargers’ defense that allows 103.7 yards to the opposing runners, so the visitors will have an opportunity to add 100+ rushing yards in this one as well.
Sign up for a FREE Trial Consultation to start working with Legendary Sports Bettor Jon Price
Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson is completing 58.9 percent of his passes for 818 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions for the Ravens. Jackson also has 566 rushing yards with three touchdowns on 114 carries and he posted 131 passing yards with a TD in a win over the Bucs and he added 95 yards on 18 carries.
The Chargers are looking for the fifth straight victory
Los Angeles was on a six-game winning run before the Denver Broncos surprised them but the Chargers responded magnificently with four consecutive wins over Arizona, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and most recently, the divisional rivals Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers were down by 14 points twice in this encounter but fantastic Philip rivers made a comeback as he connected with Mike Williams for a touchdown with only four seconds to go and then for a two-point conversion to snatch a tight 29-28 victory. Los Angeles dominated the passing game as they recorded 313 yards with a couple of TD’s, both scored by Williams and the 8th passing team in the league will face a tough job against Baltimore’s defense that allows 202.6 yards to the opposing receivers but the Chargers will have a chance to get 200+ yards in this one, especially with Keenan Allen back from an injury.
Philip Rivers is completing 69.4 percent of his passes for 3951 yards with 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions for the Chargers. Rivers had an excellent game in a win over the Chiefs as he posted 313 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions and now will have more passing options as Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon returned from recent setbacks, so Rivers is expected to have another 200+ yard performance.
• 1-4 ATS vs. an opponent with a winning record
• 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game
• 4-1 ATS in their last five games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game
• 5-2 ATS vs. an opponent with a winning record
• 5-2 ATS in their last seven games overall
The Winner Prediction
Baltimore won three out of the previous five H2H encounters including the latest one that was played in November 2015, while the Ravens were victorious in two of the past three meetings in San Diego, where the Chargers were previously located. It’s going to be a tight affair that could easily go either way but I am backing the Chargers who have more offensive weapons and I think that Baltimore’s sturdy defense will capitulate here. The Ravens have the best defense in the NFL that is allowing just 18.1 points per contest but Los Angeles scored at least 20 points in each of their games this season, so it’s going to be hard for the visitors to keep the hosts under 20 in this one.
The Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -4.5 (-110)
The total is set at 43.5 and considering the teams’ respective offenses, we should expect around 52 points here but their top 10 defenses will likely have a say and that’s why it’s going to be hard to predict the total. However, over is 5-1 in the last six H2H meetings; over is 8-3 in Ravens previous 11 games following an ATS loss, while over is 8-2 in Ravens last ten road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Chargers received an offensive boost in midweek as Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon are back into contention and the Ravens will face a stern test, which I don’t think they’ll pass and I wouldn’t be surprised if the hosts score around 30 points.
The Pick: Over 43.5 (-110)