Archive for October, 2008

NFL Betting: Packers at Titans

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

The last undefeated team in the NFL looks to stay that way when the 7-0 Tennessee Titans play host to the 4-3 Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon in Nashville (1:00PM ET, FOX).

OddsMaker opened Tennessee as a 5.5-point home favorite for Sunday’s game, with a total of 41.5. And while the line has remained the same, the total has been bumped up to 42.5. The Titans are also money-lined at -240, with Green Bay getting +200 as the road underdogs.

The Packers started the Aaron Rodgers era with two wins to begin this season, then lost three straight. But Green Bay has bounced back to win two in a row and get back above the .500 mark.

Tennessee, meanwhile, has reeled off seven straight victories to begin this season. And with their 31-21 win over Indianapolis Monday night, the Titans now own a four-game lead in the AFC South.

Meanwhile, Green Bay is tied with the Chicago Bears for first place in the NFC North.

Tennessee, as mentioned above, played Monday night, while the Packers had last weekend off, after also beating the Colts 34-14 back on Oct. 19.

The Titans are also a perfect 7-0 against the spread this season, while Green Bay is 4-3 vs. the numbers.

This game may very well be decided by the ground games, and that doesn’t bode well for Green Bay. The Packers rank 25th in the league at stopping the run, allowing 142 YPG on the ground, while the Titans rank fourth in running the ball at 144 YPG.

Conversely, Green Bay ranks 23rd in the league in rushing at 101 YPG, while Tennessee ranks 10th vs. the run at 90 YPG.

And no team in the league has allowed fewer points than the Titans – 87 through their first seven games.

On the injury front, the bye week gave several Packers opportunity to heal, including Rodgers and defensive backs Al Harris and Atari Bigby.

These two teams have met in the preseason each year since 2002. Their last regular-season meeting came in 2004, when the Titans went up to Lambeau Field and beat the Packers 48-27.

The totals are 5-1-1 in Packers games this season, which are averaging a healthy 50 total points, while the O/Us are 4-3 in Titans games, which are averaging 38 points.

OddsMaker also lists Green Bay at +100 to win the NFC North this season, +1200 to win the NFC, and +2500 to win Super Bowl XLIII down in Tampa in February.

Tennessee is now listed at -3000 at OddsMaker to win the AFC South this season, +140 to win the AFC, and +400 to win the Super Bowl.

NFL Betting: Cowboys at Giants

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

On the verge of teetering toward a downslide, the Dallas Cowboys gutted out a tough win last week over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to regain their balance. Meanwhile, the New York Giants proved themselves road warriors again, coming from behind to beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh last Sunday.

So 5-3 Dallas will try to stay within striking distance of 6-1 New York in the NFC East when the two teams meet this Sunday afternoon (4:15PM ET, Fox) in New Jersey.

OddsMaker opened the Giants earlier this week as nine-point chalk for Sunday’s game, with a total of 41, and those numbers have held steady in early wagering action. OddsMaker is also offering New York at -400 on the moneyline, with the Cowboys getting +320 as the underdogs.

Dallas picked up a much-needed victory last week, beating Tampa 13-9 with Brad Johnson at QB in place of the injured Tony Romo. But after a 3-0 start to this season, the Cowboys are just 2-3 since. And even in winning last week, Dallas managed just 172 yards of total offense.

The Giants, on the other hand, are doing a nice job of defending their Super Bowl title. They won their first four games this season before falling on a Monday night in Cleveland a few weeks ago, and have won twice since.

So going into this game, the G-Men lead the East by a half-game over the second-place Washington Redskins, while the Cowpokes ride in third place, a game and a half back. OddsMaker is listing New York at -250 on its updated NFC East betting board, with Dallas getting +350.

New York is also a winning 5-2 against the spread this season, while the Cowboys are just 3-5 vs. the numbers.

The Giants are one of the very best teams in the league at controlling the ball, ranking second in time-of-possession at 33:21. Dallas ranks 19th at 30:10. Through the first seven weeks of this season, teams that won the TOP battle had won 73 of 102 NFL games, and were 74-26 against the spread.

On the injury front, Dallas TE Jason Witten is dealing with a broken rib, and while word is he could play Sunday, his effectiveness would undoubtedly be reduced. The Cowboys could be without three starters in the defensive secondary, and the Dallas injury list doesn’t stop there. This team is banged up.

The totals are 5-3 in Cowboys games this season, which are averaging 48 total points. But Dallas has scored just 27 points in the two games with Johnson at QB. Meanwhile, the O/Us are 4-3 in Giants games this season, which are averaging 44 points.

New York has been bet into favorite status on the updated OddsMaker NFC championship betting board at +150, while Dallas is now listed as the second choice at +500. And the Giants are now co-favorites with the Tennessee Titans on the OddsMaker Super Bowl XLIII board at +400, while the Cowboys are getting +1200.

College Football: Week 10 Betting Preview

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

The top-ranked Texas Longhorns continue their run through the Big 12 gauntlet with a fourth straight game vs. a highly ranked conference opponent this weekend when they trek to Lubbock to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday night (8 pm Eastern, ABC).

OddsMaker is listing Texas as six-point chalk for Saturday’s showdown.

Both teams are 8-0 coming into this game, and both are also 4-0 in the Big 12’s South Division. The Longhorns have beaten Colorado, Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State by an average score of 42-26, while the Raiders have beaten Kansas State, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Kansas by an average score of 50-26.

Texas is also 7-1 against the spread this season, while TT is 3-2-1 vs. the numbers.

‘Horns QB Colt McCoy tops the updated OddsMaker 2008 Heisman Trophy betting board at -150, and with good reason. He’s leading his team toward the BCS Championship game, completing a near-ridiculous 82% of his passes for almost 2,300 yards and a 21/4 TD/INT ratio.

But Tech’s Graham Harrell is putting up equally impressive numbers, hitting on 71% of his throws for over 3,100 yards and a 28/5 TD/INT ratio. OddsMaker is listing Harrell at +500 on its Heisman board.

Harrell’s favorite pass-catching target, WR Michael Crabtree, is getting +1200 on the OddsMaker Heisman betting board.

The ground games, however, could make the difference Saturday night in Lubbock and Texas seemingly has the advantage. The Longhorns are outgaining opponents by an average of 114 yards per game on the ground so far this season, while the pass-happy Raiders are outrushing foes by 38 YPG.

Texas has won five in a row in the series with Texas Tech. And the last two meetings – with Harrell and McCoy at QB for their respective squads – have both gone over the totals, averaging 84 total points.

Elsewhere around the college football landscape this weekend:

  • In the game of the week in the Southeastern Conference, matching the top two teams in the East Division, OddsMaker is listing the 6-1 Florida Gators as 5.5-point favorites vs. the 7-1 Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville (3:30PM ET Saturday, CBS).
  • In a key Atlantic Coast Conference bout, OddsMaker is listing the 6-2 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who sit at 3-2 in the Coastal Division, as one-point home chalk vs. the 6-1 Florida State Seminoles, who sit atop the Atlantic Division at 3-1 (3:30PM ET Saturday, ABC or ESPN).

NFL Betting: Giants at Steelers

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Two of the best teams in the National Football League meet in what could be a preview of Super Bowl XLIII when the 5-1 New York Giants visit Heinz Field in Pittsburgh to battle the 5-1 Steelers on Sunday afternoon (4:15PM ET, FOX).

OddsMaker is listing Pittsburgh as three-point home favorites for Sunday’s game, with a total of 42. The Steelers are also listed at -140 on the OddsMaker moneyline, with the Giants getting +120 as road underdogs.

With wins over Washington (16-7), St. Louis (41-13), Cincinnati (26-23 in overtime), Seattle (44-6) and, last Sunday, San Francisco (29-17), the Giants lead the NFC East by a half-game over the second-place Redskins and own the best record in the NFC. Their only loss came two Mondays ago, a 35-14 defeat in Cleveland.

On the other side of this matchup, the Steelers – with wins over Houston (38-17), Cleveland (10-6), Baltimore (23-20 in overtime), Jacksonville (26-21) and, last week, Cincinnati (38-10) – lead the AFC North by two games over Baltimore. And they trail the undefeated Tennessee Titans by just one game in the race for the best record in the AFC. Pittsburgh’s only loss came in Week 3, when they fell at Philadelphia 15-6.

The quarterback matchup in this game features two members of the NFL draft class of 2004 who have already won Super Bowls. New York’s Eli Manning has completed 62% of his passes for a 7.3 yards-per-attempt average and an 8/4 TD/INT ratio so far this season, while Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger has hit on 63% of his throws for a 7.8 YPA average and a 9/3 TD/INT ratio.

The Giants rank a lofty second in the league this season in total offense at 395 YPG, first in rushing at 170 YPG, second in scoring at 28 PPG, fourth in total defense at 275 YPG, fifth vs. the run at 85 YPG and sixth in points allowed at 17 PPG.

Meanwhile, the Steelers rank 25th in total offense at 299 YPG, 18th in rushing at 109 YPG, 13th in scoring at 24 PPG, first in total defense at 228 YPG, second vs. the run at 70 YPG and second in points allowed at 15 PPG.

New York also ranks third in the league in average time-of-possession at 33:10, while Pittsburgh ranks 16th at 30:43.

These two teams last met in December of 2004, when the Steelers went to the Meadowlands and came away with a 33-30 win.

On the injury front, Pittsburgh RB Willie Parker has missed three straight games with a sore knee, and is listed as questionable for Sunday. Also, S Troy Polamalu left last week’s game with a concussion, but he’s listed as probable for Sunday.

The totals are 4-2 in Giants games this season, which are averaging 45 total points. The totals are also 4-2 in Steelers games this year, despite averaging just 38 points.

OddsMaker is also listing New York at -150 to win the NFC East this season, +180 to repeat as champs of the NFC, and +500 to win the Super Bowl.

OddsMaker also lists Pittsburgh at -2000 to win the AFC North this season, +300 to win the AFC, and +800 to win the Super Bowl.

NFL Betting: Cardinals at Panthers

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

A pair of NFC playoff hopefuls meet when the 4-2 Arizona Cardinals head east for a visit with the 5-2 Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon (1 pm Eastern, Fox).

OddsMaker is listing Carolina as 4.5-point home chalk for Sunday’s game, with a total of 43.5. The Panthers are also listed at -210 on the OddsMaker moneyline, with Arizona getting +175 as road underdogs.

Arizona opened this season with consecutive wins over San Francisco and Miami, then lost back-to-back games at Washington and at the New York Jets. But the Cards have since won two straight, over what was an undefeated Buffalo team and, two weeks ago, over arch-nemesis Dallas by a 30-24 count in overtime.

Arizona had last week off.

Carolina opened its season with come-from-behind wins over San Diego and Chicago, then lost at Minnesota. The Panthers proceeded to knock off Atlanta and Kansas City, and lost at Tampa Bay before bouncing New Orleans last week 30-7.

Carolina is 4-0 at home this season, outscoring the Bears, Falcons, Chiefs and Saints by a combined 108-33.

So going into this weekend’s action, Arizona sits atop the NFC West, two games ahead of the second-place St. Louis Rams. Meanwhile, Carolina is in a tie for first place with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South, and with five wins, trails the New York Giants by a half-game in the race for the best record in the conference.

Kurt Warner is proving Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt was correct in choosing him as the starter over Matt Leinart. So far this season, Warner has completed 70% of his passes for an 8.0 yards-per-attempt average and a 12/5 TD/INT ratio.

On the other side of this QB matchup Jake Delhomme is proving his value to his Carolina team, hitting on 59% of his throws so far this season for a 7.6 YPA average and a 7/5 TD/INT ratio.

Arizona ranks sixth in the league so far this season in total offense at 360 YPG, and leads the league in scoring at 29.5 PPG, but ranks just 28th in rushing at 87 YPG. On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals rank 14th in total defense at 314 YPG, 11th vs. the run at 94 YPG, and 21st in points allowed at 24 PPG.

Carolina ranks 16th in total offense at 324 YPG, 15th in rushing at 114 YPG, 21st in scoring at 21 PPG, fifth in total defense at 276 YPG, 14th vs. the run at 107 YPG, and third in points allowed at 15 PPG.

Arizona also ranks ninth in the league in average time-of-possession at 31:49, while Carolina sits 13th at 31:16.

These two teams met last season, when the Panthers (with Vinny Testaverde at QB) went out to Arizona and beat the Cardinals (who were being quarterbacked by Tim Rattay), 25-10. Carolina outrushed the Cards that day 181-98.

The totals are 4-2 in Cardinals games this season, which are averaging a healthy 53.5 total points. Meanwhile, the totals are 1-6 in Panthers games this season, which are averaging just 36 total points.

The Cardinals are also now overwhelming -2000 favorites to win the NFC West at OddsMaker, while the Panthers are listed at -120 to win the NFC South. Carolina is also listed at +800 on the updated OddsMaker NFC championship betting board, with Arizona listed at +1000.

Both teams are posted at +2000 on the updated OddsMaker Super Bowl XLIII betting board.

College Football Betting: Conference Showdowns

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Two games, both with serious conference championship and national title significance, dominate the upcoming college football weekend. The first involves a couple of Big 12 border rivals, while the other features next-door neighbors up in the Big 10.

The Texas Longhorns are playing their third “big” game in a row this week, but really, they’re all big now. Two weeks ago, UT beat down Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout to take over the top spot in the two major polls. Last week, the ‘Horns pounded national championship pretender Missouri. And this week, Texas gets an undefeated Oklahoma State team that’s sneaked into the top 10 in the rankings (3:30PM ET Saturday, ABC).

OddsMaker is listing the Longhorns as 13-point home-field favorites for Saturday’s game vs. the Cowboys. 

Oklahoma State is 7-0 so far this season, and 3-0 in the Big 12. But when it comes to playing Texas, the Pokes may have a bit of a mental block: Over the last four meetings in this series, OSU has blown leads of 35-7, 28-9, and last year 35-14, losing all three games. The Cowboys haven’t beaten the Longhorns since 1997. 

OddsMaker has yet to post a total on the Texas-Oklahoma State game. But for some reference, the ‘Horns were averaging 46 points over the last three weeks, all Big 12 wins, while the Cowboys averaged 39 points in their three conference victories.

Meanwhile, at age 81 Joe Paterno is leading his Penn State Nittany Lions toward a BCS championship game berth. PSU is 7-0, and 4-0 in the Big 10, with convincing wins over Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin and, last week, Michigan. The Lions are rolling through their opposition, having outscored their four Big 10 opponents 152-54. But their toughest test so far this season comes when they visit Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday night (8:00PM ET, ABC).

The 7-1 Buckeyes are also 4-0 in conference play, having outscored Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue and Michigan State by a 115-48 margin.

With a win Saturday, and some help elsewhere, Penn State could move up from its No. 3 slot in the polls. Meanwhile, an Ohio State victory could help the Buckeyes squeeze back into the national championship picture.

OddsMaker is listing Penn State as 2.5-point conference road chalk for Saturday’s game at the Big Horseshoe.

OddsMaker is also listing Texas at +300 on its updated BCS national championship betting board, followed by, among others, Penn State at +400, Ohio State at +1800, and Oklahoma State at +3000.

NFL Betting: Colts at Packers

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

The Indianapolis Colts, coming off their best performance of this season, will be gunning for their third straight victory when they visit the 3-3 Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field (4:15PM ET, CBS).

OddsMaker is currently listing the Colts as two-point road favorites for Sunday’s game, with a total of 47. Indy is also listed at -125 on the OddsMaker moneyline, with Green Bay getting +105 as home underdogs.

Indianapolis started slowly this season, losing two of its first three games. But the Colts rallied in minor-miracle fashion to win at Houston a couple of weeks ago, then bounced Baltimore and its top-ranked defense last week 31-3.

Green Bay opened the season and the Aaron Rodgers era with two straight wins, over Minnesota and Detroit. But the Packers then lost three straight games, including two at Lambeau Field to Dallas and Atlanta. Green Bay then rebounded with a 27-17 win in Seattle last week over an injury-riddled Seahawks team.

Indy QB Peyton Manning also started slowly this season, after undergoing two surgeries on a knee and missing the entire preseason. But Manning had his best outing of this season last week vs. the Ravens, going 19/28/271 passing with three TDs. On the season Manning has completed 63% of his passes for a 7.2 yards-per-attempt average, and has posted an 8/5 TD/INT ratio.

Meanwhile, Rodgers has performed well in taking over the Packer reins from Brett Favre. So far this season, over his first six career NFL starts, Rodgers has hit on 64% of his throws for a 7.7 YPA average and an 11/4 TD/INT ratio.

The Colts rank 17th in the league so far this season in total offense at 317 YPG, and dead last in rushing at 69 YPG. On the other side of the ball, Indy ranks 21st in total defense at 334 YPG and 29th vs. the run at 161 YPG.

Meanwhile, Green Bay ranks 14th in total offense at 333 YPG, 22nd in rushing at 99 YPG, 20th in total defense at 332 YPG and 27th vs. the run at 153 YPG. 

These two teams have played one common opponent so far this season. The Packers beat Minnesota 24-19 in the season opener at Lambeau Field, while the Colts rallied from a 15-0 third-quarter deficit to beat the Vikings 18-15 at the Metrodome in Week 2.

NFL home dogs are 10-17 straight up so far this season, and just 11-16 against the spread.

The totals are 2-3 in Colts games this season, which are averaging 42 total points, while the O/Us are 4-1-1 in Packers games, which are averaging 51 points.

These two teams last met in September of 2004, when Manning picked apart a Packer defense for nearly 400 yards through the air in a 45-31 Colts’ shootout win at the RCA Dome.

On the injury front, Indy RB Joseph Addai is dealing with a pulled hamstring, and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game.

OddsMaker is also listing Indianapolis at +140 to win the AFC South again this season, +400 to win the AFC championship, and a tantalizing +1000 to win the Super Bowl in Tampa in February.

Green Bay is posted at +140 to win the NFC North at OddsMaker, +1000 to win the NFC, and +2000 to win the Super Bowl.

NFL: Saints at Panthers

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

All of a sudden, the NFC South looks like one of the toughest divisions in the league. And a couple of South teams that should be in contention for the division title all season long hook up for a key Week 7 bout, when the 3-3 New Orleans Saints visit Charlotte to take on the 4-2 Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon (1:00PM ET, Fox).

OddsMaker is listing Carolina as three-point home favorites for Sunday’s game, with a total of 44.5. OddsMaker is also listing the Panthers at +140 on its updated NFC South betting board, with New Orleans getting +200.

With the .500 Saints in last place in the South, that division stands along with the NFC East as the only two in the league without a losing team through the first six weeks of this season.

New Orleans is coming off a 34-3 win over a hapless Oakland team last week, while the Panthers got kicked in Tampa last Sunday 27-3.

These division rivals, on their way to identical 7-9 records, split their two meetings last season, each team winning on the other’s home field. The Panthers rallied to score the last 10 points of the first game, winning 16-13 in New Orleans, while the Saints dominated the second game, winning 31-6 in Charlotte. Both of those games stayed under the totals of 43 and 42.

It should be remembered that Panthers QB Jake Delhomme missed both of those games after going down and out for the season in Week 3 with an elbow injury.

Delhomme is back and healthy this season, though, and had been playing well – until last week when he threw three INTs in that loss at Tampa. On the season Delhomme is completing 59% of his passes for a pedestrian 7.4 yards-per-attempt average, and has a 5/5 TD/INT ratio.

Meanwhile New Orleans QB Drew Brees – even with two of his top targets out of action with injuries – has been wonderful this season, hitting on 71% of his throws for an 8.9 YPA average, and boasts a 12/6 TD/INT ratio.

These two teams have played two common opponents so far this year. The Panthers lost 20-10 at Minnesota in Week 3, and as mentioned above, at Tampa last week 27-3. In those games Carolina got outrushed by the Vikings by 72 yards, and by 102 yards vs. the Bucs. On the other side of the ledger, the Saints beat Tampa 24-20 at home in the season opener, and lost at home to the Vikes 30-27 two Monday nights ago. New Orleans got outrushed by the Buccaneers by 45 yards in Week 1, but outgrounded Minnesota by 11 yards.

On the season, the Saints are getting outrushed by 15 yards a game, while the Panthers are outgrounding opponents by three yards, on average. But thanks to that potent passing game New Orleans is outgaining opponents by 81 YPG this season, while Carolina is +57 in average total yards. 

The totals are 4-1-1 in Saints games this season, which are averaging 51 total points, while the over/under has gone 1-5 in Panthers games, which have averaged 36 total points. On the season the totals have gone 46-40 (with two pushes) in NFL games, which have averaged 44.2 total points.

So far this season, teams that have scored first have won 56 of the 88 games played, and gone 53-33-2 against the spread. Carolina has scored first in four of its six games, New Orleans twice.

OddsMaker is also listing New Orleans at +1000 to win the NFC championship this season, and +2000 to win the Super Bowl down in Tampa in February. Meanwhile, OddsMaker lists Carolina at +800 to win the conference crown this season, and +2000 to win the Super Bowl.

NCAAF Week 8 Betting Preview

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

After another weekend full of upsets near the top of the rankings, the college football polls look like they were cut and pasted from a copy of a sports page from the 1970s. The Texas Longhorns, with a win over Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout last week, became the third different No. 1 team of this season, with Alabama and Penn State nipping at their heels. Here’s a quick look at a couple of the more interesting and important games coming up this weekend.

Texas gets its first shot at defending its perch atop the polls when it hosts one of the national championship contenders that got beat last week, the Missouri Tigers. While the Longhorns beat the Sooners last Saturday 45-35, and jumped four spots in the polls, Mizzou got upset at home by Oklahoma State (who’s now 6-0) 28-23, and dropped 10 spots in the rankings.

OddsMaker had Texas listed as seven-point home chalk for Saturday’s game (8:00PM ET, ABC) on Monday night, but that number dropped to 6.5 by Tuesday morning.

Ohio State looked like they were out of the national championship picture after that dismal loss at USC a month ago. But with four wins since then – including a come-from-behind victory led by highly regarded freshman QB Terrelle Pryor at Wisconsin two weeks ago – the Buckeyes can’t be considered dead yet. OSU sits at No. 11 and No. 12 in the two major polls, and gets a shot at the No. 3 Nittany Lions next week in Columbus. But first, coach Tressel’s troops will have to get by a resurgent Michigan State in East Lansing this Saturday (3:30PM ET, ABC).

The Spartans, in their second season under coach Mark Dantonio, are off to a 6-1 start this season and 3-0 in the Big 10 after winning at Northwestern last week 37-20. Dantonio did it old-school at Cincinnati, running the ball and playing tough defense, and that’s what he’s trying to do at MSU. And so far, with some success. Dantonio was the defensive coordinator at Ohio State for three years earlier this decade, so he might know a thing or two about what Tressel and the Buckeyes like to do.

OddsMaker has Ohio State listed as 3.5-point favorites for Saturday’s game at Spartan Stadium. 

Other games involving some of the national title contenders this weekend, and the corresponding OddsMaker odds, include: Alabama -13.5 over Ol’ Miss; Penn State -23.5 over Michigan; Oklahoma -19.5 at Kansas; USC -42.5 at Washington State; Texas Tech -21 at Texas A&M; BYU -1 at TCU (Thursday night); Oklahoma State -17 over Baylor; and Georgia -14 over Vanderbilt.

On the updated OddsMaker BCS national title betting board, Southern Cal’s Trojans are now solid +200 favorites. They are followed by Penn State at +400, Alabama and Texas at +500, Florida +700, Oklahoma +1000, Texas Tech +1500, Georgia and Ohio State +1800, and Missouri at +2000.

NFL Preview: Baltimore at Indianapolis

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

With a new head coach and a rookie starting quarterback, the Baltimore Ravens are off to a 2-2 start this season. Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts may also be 2-2, but they should consider themselves lucky to be at that mark.

So one team seemingly on the rise meets another team that may be on a downslide when the Baltimore Ravens hit the midwest to take on the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC inter-divisional bout Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.

OddsMaker is listing Indy as 4.5-point home favorites for Sunday’s game, with a total of 38.5. The Colts are also listed at -210 on the OddsMaker moneyline, with Baltimore getting +175 as the road underdogs.

The Ravens opened this season with wins over Cincinnati and Cleveland, but have lost two straight tough ones, at Pittsburgh and, last Sunday, at home to Tennessee on a late touchdown. Indianapolis, meanwhile, opened this season, and its new stadium, with an ugly loss to Chicago, but managed to escape from Minneapolis the following week with a come-from-behind victory over the Vikings. The Colts subsequently blew a late fourth-quarter lead of their own and lost at home to Jacksonville, then rallied last week, scoring three TDs in the final four minutes of the game to win at Houston 31-27. So while the Colts are 2-2, they could be 0-4. Or, they could be 3-1.

Ravens rookie Joe Flacco has completed 58% of his passes this season, which ranks in the lower third among NFL quarterbacks, for a 5.7 yards-per-attempt average, which is very low, and a 1-4 TD/INT ratio. On the other side of this QB matchup, Peyton Manning has completed 62% of his throws for a 6.7 YPA average and a 5/5 TD/INT ratio.

The Ravens lead the league in total defense, allowing just 193 yards per game this season, and defending the run at 64 YPG, and rank 3rd in points allowed at 14 per game. But they also rank just 24th in total offense at 290 YPG, and while 4th in rushing at 154 YPG, just 31st in passing at 136 YPG.

Indy, meanwhile, ranks 16th in total offense at 313 YPG but dead last in rushing at 68 YPG. The Colts also rank 25th in total defense at 353 YPG and last against the run at 189 YPG.

These two teams played last December, when the Colts, with the help of five Ravens turnovers, jumped out to a 30-0 second-quarter lead, and coasted to a 44-20 win in Baltimore. Indy ended up going 13-3 last year, and winning their division for the fifth season in a row, while Baltimore finished 5-11 and in last place in their division.

The totals are 2-2 both in Ravens games this season and Colts games. However, Baltimore games are averaging just 33 total points, while Indianapolis games are averaging 44 points. On the season, NFL totals have gone 42-31-1, as the games have averaged 44.5 total points.

On the injury front, several key names are listed on both sides, so bettors will want to determine who’s playing and who’s not as kickoff approaches.

OddsMaker is listing Baltimore at +400 to win the AFC North this season, +2,200 to win the AFC championship, and +4,000 to win Super Bowl 43 down in Tampa in February. The Colts can be selected at +180 at OddsMaker to win the AFC South again this season, +500 to win the AFC, and +1,200 to win the Super Bowl.