While players continue to ignore what outsiders think, fans of the Ravens are still feeling disrespected that the Patriots are so heavily favored in Sunday’s AFC Championship game.
You don’t have to gamble to have interest in what point spreads the Vegas sports books assign, as they often give a good gauge as to how games will actually play out. It’s the job of the oddsmakers to find an even line where those looking to place a bet on the game are torn between the two choices.
As far as Sunday goes, the Patriots have been made nine-point favorites.
Betting aside, Ravens fans should feel disrespected, especially after beating a team who happened to also be favored by nine points a week prior.
The biggest question when trying to understand how a game like the Ravens and Patriots is perceived as so lopsided is, “where does the bias come in?” Is it because the Patriots beat the Ravens in the same game last year? Is it because the Patriots are the “sexy” team? Is it because we’re used to seeing the Patriots in the Super Bowl?
All of those things must play in, to an extent.
Objectively, to say that the Patriots are nine points better than the Ravens is just ludicrous. Sure, the series history shows the Patriots ahead 7-2 but the margin of victory for the Patriots (especially in the past six meetings dating back to 2007) is minimal.
Since 2007, the Patriots are 4-2 against the Ravens and their largest margin of victory was six – the other three wins each came by a field goal.
The more mind blowing fact of the Patriots being so heavily favored comes when you look at the playoff history between the two teams. They have met twice within the past four seasons, with each game being played in Foxboro. In January of 2010, the Ravens blew the doors off the heavily favored Patriots from the game’s very first play from scrimmage, an 83-yard Ray Rice touchdown run. Baltimore went on to hang 24 points on the scoreboard in the first quarter on their way to a 33-14 victory.
The second time was in last year’s AFC Championship game where Joe Flacco had a better offensive day than Tom Brady and if it weren’t for a dropped pass and shanked 32-yard field goal attempt, the Ravens could have improved their playoff mark against the Patriots to 2-0 and appeared in their second Super Bowl.
But instead, the Patriots are the hot team in the AFC and the Ravens will continue to be overlooked. It apppears the team has embraced the underdog mentality, but it’s clear that nobody within the Ravens locker room cares how “favored” the Patriots are.
In what has been an up and down season, the Ravens are hitting their stride on both sides of the ball and remain a dangerous team, even if no one nationally wants to pay attention. They’ve already beaten the Patriots with a last-second field goal this season and even though plenty of things have happened since their Week 3 meeting, they’re confident.
Even if the Ravens lose on Sunday, given their history of playing close games, being nine-point underdogs is simply disrespectful.