Baltimore Ravens Favored Over The Carolina Panthers


Aug 22, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) is rushed from the pocket by Baltimore Ravens linebacker D.J. Bryant (49) and linebacker John Simon (47) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas odds for week four of the NFL season are in, and it’s a clean sweep that unanimously has the Baltimore Ravens favored over the Carolina Panthers.  It’s a bit surprising, but completely understandable following the Panther’s crushing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday night.

Carolina’s typically suffocating defense gave up an astonishing 264 yards rushing (7.8 avg!!!) in a 37-19 shellacking.  We tend to ignore games that buck trends, however, and this is a classic example of one.

Both teams stand at 2-1 heading into week four and are looking to keep pace in what are two of the tougher and more competitive divisions in football – the NFC South and the AFC North.  Both teams are stout along the defensive line and feature some of the NFL’s best linebackers.

And both like to run the football as much as possible.  The Panthers are down two of their backs, however, with Mike Tolbert on short term I.R. and Jonathan Stewart out for Sunday.  In spite of the injuries and the odds, we believe this game is a hard one to predict as both teams are ripe with talent.

Here is the breakdown of how each Vegas outlet predicts the outcome of Sunday’s game.

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Opening Line

Ravens -2, 39u


Ravens -3 1/2, 40 1/2u

Westgate Superbook

Ravens -3 1/2, 41u

MGM Mirage

Ravens -3 1/2, 41u

William Hill

Ravens -3, 40 1/2u

Wynn LV

Ravens -3 1/2, 40 1/2u

CG Technology

Ravens -3, 41u


Ravens -3 1/2, 40 1/2u


Ravens -3 1/2, 41u

The consensus point total for Ravens/Panthers is the lowest in the NFL for week four, just barely beating out Buffalo/Houston at 41.  We would expect this to be a lower scoring game as both teams have thus far struggled to score more than 30 points in any game through three weeks, and both figure to run the ball and play to stop the run on defense.  That’s always a formula for low scoring games.

With a 3 1/2 point spread, this matchup is also tied for the 5th smallest, with the closest being Lions and Jets at 1 1/2.  We would expect a close game for the reasons stated above, plus we figure both teams will work to eliminate the big play.  Both Steve Smith and Kelvin Benjamin are averaging over 15 yards per completion this season and figure to draw extra defensive attention downfield.