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  • With a 6-1 record since turning to rookie Lamar Jackson as their starting quarterback, the Ravens enter the postseason as hot as any AFC team.
By Scott Gramling
January 02, 2019

Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)

Sun. 1/6, 1:05 p.m. ET

Three things you need to know before betting on Chargers-Ravens:

1. The AFC’s two hottest teams outside of Indianapolis meet on Sunday afternoon when the Chargers travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens for the second of two AFC Wild Card Round games this weekend. While Los Angeles comes in having won five of its past six games, Baltimore ended the 2018 regular season with six wins over its final seven games after inserting rookie Lamar Jackson into the lineup as its starting quarterback. The only loss Jackson has suffered as an NFL starter was a 27-24 overtime defeat as a 6.5-point underdog in Kansas City in Week 14. Thirteen days later, the Ravens ended the Chargers’ four-game win streak with a convincing 22-10 Week 16 win as a four-point underdog in Los Angeles.

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2. Since the start of the 2009 season, NFL favorites that have won three of their previous four games are 30-8-2 against the spread when facing an opponent that has won at least eight of its previous 10 games. That includes a 25-6-2 against-the-spread mark when the favorite has been the home team, with the average margin having been more than 10 points over those 33 games despite the home team having been favored by an average of only 4.1 points. The Ravens are 5-0 against the spread when facing an AFC West opponent since the start of last season, with the lone straight-up loss in that span having been the aforementioned overtime defeat in Kansas City. Baltimore is 5-1 against the spread since last season when facing an opponent with a winning record past the midway point of the season.

3. The Ravens have been outstanding in the opening round of the playoffs under head coach John Harbaugh, going 5-0 both straight up and against the spread when playing in the Wild Card Round. Baltimore has won all five games by more than 12 points and by an average margin of more than 17.5 points, and in none of the five games did the Ravens allow their opponent to score more than 17 points. Baltimore is 7-1 against the spread in postseason games since the start of the 2012 calendar year, with the lone against-the-spread loss having occurred eight playoff games ago in a 20-13 victory as a 7.5-point favorite against Houston in January 2012.

Pick: Baltimore -2.5

Confidence Level: Very High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)

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