November 22, 2015 (11:00 AM ET)
Sports Profit System is now 20-12 in its last 32 football picks after a rare losing Saturday saw us go 1-3.
It has been a nicely profitable NCAA football season thanks largely to 10 winning Saturdays in the first 12 weeks!
Today's two NFL picks were released last night at 9:00 PM ET.
1) Take Baltimore Ravens at -2.5 spread against St. Louis Rams for 3% of the bankroll.
This season hasn't exactly gone the way the Baltimore Ravens had expected. Sitting at just 2-7 and with no hope of making the playoffs this season, coach John Harbaugh took to the media this week to emphatically state that despite his team's struggles, they are not ready to throw in the towel. That's a powerful statement considering that it would be easy for his team to give up, but this is a squad that includes a lot of proud veterans both on the field and in the locker room. This is a team that is better than their record suggests.They were a Super Bowl winning team not long ago and we believe they will want to finish the season strong or at least snap this current ugly skid.
Injuries have played a big role in the Ravens struggles this season and have contributed to their somewhat shocking overall record. Despite those injuries however, QB Joe Flacco is quietly having a good year and ranks eighth in the league in passing yards having surpassed the 300-yard mark in his last two games. That's an interesting fact considering that Jay Cutler managed 258 yards last week against the Rams. Flacco had struggled a bit after losing top target in wideout Steve Smith, Flacco now has chemistry with his young receivers and should have a solid showing at home in this contest especially considering that Robert Quinn, the Rams best pass rusher will be out for this game today.
While the Ravens have had their issues this season, their opponents, the St Louis Rams have issues of their own. In the offseason they traded away Sam Bradford in order to get former Eagles QB Nick Foles. It appears that may have been a mistake. Through 9 games, Foles is statistically the worst quarterback in the league as he ranks dead last in in QBR (34.1), 29th in passer rating (75.9), and 28th in passing yards (1,678). Jeff Fisher made the decision to bench Foles and will instead go with Case Keenum. This will be the 11th start for Keenum in his career after spending some time in Houston. Keenum is just 2-8 as a starter and there is a reason for that. He is a journeyman and not quite fit to be a signal caller at this level. He was a gunslinger in college and that has not worked out well in the NFL. We believe he will struggle in his first ever start for the Rams!
St. Louis has no doubt found its workhorse stud in RB Todd Gurley, however teams have started to key in on Gurley in the backfield and his last two opponents have held him to less than 100 yards rushing. Bottling up Gurley and forcing the ball into Keenum's hands is the key to a Ravens victory. While the Ravens have struggled against the pass this season, they have actually been exceptional against the run. The Ravens rank 8th in the league in rush defense and if they can contain Gurley in the backfield, it will make things difficult for the Rams to move the ball.
The Ravens are no doubt desperate for a win at this point and are in a favorable situation in this contest with their opponents starting a backup QB! After Elvis Dumerville's face-mask mistake last week which allowed the Jaguars to kick a 53-yard game-winning field goal, look for him to play with extra motivation today! We believe their defense will finally create some turnovers as there is a reason this 2-7 team is being favored by almost a field goal here! This is their best chance to pick up a win and build some confidence and momentum. They owe a good performance to their passionate fans and we believe they will deliver this afternoon! This is a small number to lay with what we believe is the team that should have a big edge in this contest. Harbaugh is a winner and won't allow his team to drop back to back home games against the Jaguars and the Rams!
2) Take the UNDER 45 total points in Redskins vs. Panthers for 3% of the bankroll.
Kirk Cousins and the Redskins scored 47 points on their own last week while the Panthers remain undefeated and yet this total opened at 46 and has since moved down a full point due to sharp money. That's because Cousins and the Washington offense will have a much tougher time against Luke Kuechly and company! The Carolina defense has been formidable for years now and features players like Roman Harper, Thomas Davis, Josh Norman and many other athletic and competitive players that make it tough on opposing offenses. When the officials don't throw out cheap pass intereference flags that bails out a stagnant offense and gifts them automatic 1st downs, this group don't give up much. They have allowed an average of just 19.4 points per game and have bottled more capable offensive units than that of Jay Gruden's Redskins!
One shouldn't forget that Washington's 47-point offensive explosion came against the worst defense in the league and finally cost Rob Ryan his job as the New Orleans Saints defensive co-orindator! Ryan's defense had been poor all season and finally got the axe after giving up big play after another. They made Cousins and the team from the capital look a lot better than they actually are. Washington had played the Patriots the previous week and they were limited to just 10 points! And we don't believe New England's defense is as solid as Carolina's. Ron Rivera has instilled a defense-first mentality in this squad for years now and despite the media attention on Cam Newton, much like the Seahawks previously, their success is still largely thanks to their stout defense. They are undefeated on the season and will look to go 10-0 by the end of this game! They will stick to their roots which is playing good D and running the football and that should help keep this game low-scoring. It's worth knowing that over the last 4 years, undefeated NFL teams' games have gone 'Under' 10 of 11 times when they were at least a touchdown favorite and the total was set at 52 points or less!
Jonathan Stewart will get many carries today and on the other side, Alfred Morris and Jones will get the ball for Washington. Both teams will run the ball at times which keeps the clock rolling and limits possessions. We believe the Panthers will gain more rushing yards and try to run the clock out by playing it safer in the 4th quarter, at which point, they probably have a healthy lead. They have a game on Thanksgiving and don't need to put all their effort into this one. Their job is to simply get the W without losing any players to injuries. We foresee some drives stalling and ending in field goals instead of touchdowns and that'll go a long way toward keeping this 'Under' the 45 points mark.
Look for the Panthers to employ Ron Rivera's often conservative offensive approach and primarily run the ball and play solid defense. If they can avoid giving up a late meaningless TD in garbage time, this game should stay low scoring One final betting nugget from our historic database is the following, road underdogs of +3 points have seen all 7 games go 'Under' when they have scored 10 points followed by +45 points in back-to-back weeks and the total is set at 49 or less points!
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