I’m not a gambler, but I’ve got some friends who are.
Living in New England most of my friends are Patriots fans. A couple years back, one of these friends who I’d get together with every Sunday made a decision. To provide an incentive to root for the Ravens with me, he was going to throw a few bucks on them every week. As a neutral observer he’d always say he felt they weren’t given the respect they deserved by the oddsmakers who set the lines.
Aside from enjoying watching the Ravens games, it was at times equally entertaining to see a gambling man’s wide range of emotions when betting on the Ravens. Even when he’d win it was never easy. I think at the end of the year he won more than he’d lost, but it took about four years off his life.
Welcome to life as a Ravens fan.
Historically speaking the Ravens get very little respect from the oddsmakers in Vegas. This comes as no surprise to Baltimore fans who have embraced the underdog mentality. The 2012 postseason was a perfect example.
With the exception of the wild card matchup versus the Colts, the Ravens were heavy underdogs dogs in every other game. At one point they were 9.5 point underdogs in Denver, and a full touchdown in the AFC championship game in New England. On a neutral field in Super Bowl 47 the 49ers were favored by four points.
When Super Bowl 49 odds were released the day after this years Super Bowl it was no surprise to see the Ravens as a long shot. Depending on the site you looked at they were around 30 to 1 to make it to Arizona. Given their 8-8 finish, this seemed about right, but even at that point it seemed they were getting very little respect.
But with the recent upgrades to the offense and a productive offseason, Vegas has to be showing them a little more love now right?
As a matter of fact Bovada in Vegas now has them at 33 to 1 win it all, which was just updated on April 8.
The Ravens, according to Vegas have the same chance to lift the Lombardi next year as the Arizona Cardinals and the 2-14 Houston Texans. Sure the Cardinals have improved but don’t they play in the same division at the Seahawks and the 49ers? And last time I checked the Texans shipped Matt Schaub to the Raiders for a sixth round pick, and Case Keenum is at the top of the depth chart.
The fact that these odds haven’t improved considering the free agent moves the Ravens have made is preposterous. Vegas is essentially saying the Ravens aren’t any better than they were on February 3rd?
Do the Ravens have the most talented roster in the AFC? No they don’t. Do they have a pretty solid chance at getting back to the playoffs with the upgrades they’ve made? Yes.
Just like any other tournament in pro sports, getting to the dance is half the battle. Once a team is in the postseason, if they get healthy and hot at the right time, they have as good a shot as anyone else.
For a team that’s made it to the postseason five of the last six years, and has a Super Bowl MVP as it’s quarterback, at 33 to 1 it’s not a bad bet.
But I’m sure it will cost my friend a few more years…