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Even With Lowered Expectations, Ravens Losing Against The Line

November 15, 2013

If you're a Ravens fan, you're probably frustrated with the first nine games of the team's season.

If you've been backing the Ravens against the point spread, you're probably also a little poorer.

The Ravens' 4-5 start was mirrored in their performance against the spread -- they're 4-5 there as well, according to the odds at, which reports betting statistics and news. An outright loss in Cleveland Nov. 3 was the Ravens' fourth defeat during a five-game stretch, both on the scoreboard and against the betting line.

Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations at the LVH SuperBook in Las Vegas, said he would have been more surprised if the Ravens' 2013 season hadn't been a letdown, following their Super Bowl XLVII victory and the retirement of linebacker Ray Lewis.

"I think this was to be expected," Kornegay said. "There's a post-Super Bowl and -Ray Lewis hangover. And while no one intends to do it, it's human nature to take a step back after the kind of late run they had in the playoffs last season. Their offensive line played great in the playoffs."

Perhaps more worrisome for Baltimore fans is that the Ravens have been trending downward from the week-to-week point spreads that were posted before the season by Cantor Gaming, a high-tech oriented bookmaker, which operates betting parlors in several Vegas casinos.

For instance, before the season began, Cantor listed the Ravens as one-point favorites for Week Six against Green Bay. At kickoff, the Ravens were one-point underdogs on, and failed against the spread, losing, 19-16.

For Week Seven, the Ravens were 1.5-point underdogs in Pittsburgh before the season. By game time, the Ravens had become 2.5-point underdogs, and even with the added cushion, they failed again, losing, 19-16.

For Week Nine, it was more of the same. The Ravens were 3.5-point preseason favorites in Cleveland. By kickoff, they had slipped to one-point favorites and, as already mentioned, lost outright, 24-18.

The Ravens nearly blew the game and the point spread during Week 10 against Cincinnati, but managed to cover as a one-point favorite, 20-17, in overtime. During the preseason, the Ravens were three-point favorites for the game, and if that had held, they would have pushed. 

So as the season has progressed, there have been lowered expectations for the Ravens from the oddsmakers and the bettors -- and even with those lowered expectations, the Ravens frequently have been losing against the line.

If trending performance against the spread is indicative of anything meaningful about a team's prospects, then the Ravens' trajectory through nine games is certainly problematic.

Point-spread historians might point out that last season, the Ravens also started 4-5 against the spread during their first nine games, and went on to win the Super Bowl. The difference is that a year ago, the Ravens had a 7-2 overall record.


Increased scoring in the NFL is having an impact on the wagering world, with the overs covering the over-under total for 55.5 percent of the league's games through Week 10. The over-under wager is a bet on whether the two teams combined will score a certain number of points.

Kornegay said the NFL's emphasis on safer play had a lot to do with what has happened with the over-under bets.

"Good quarterbacks and wide receivers are taking advantage of the new rules," Kornegay said. "There's less fear of going over the middle, and there are times when it seems you can't touch a guy. It's certainly better for the game that the league is making it safer, but it's also had a big impact on the scoring over the last two years."

As far as the overs covering at a healthy clip, Kornegay said, "We'll keep making adjustments out here."

In the NFL overall, home favorites have won 54.5 percent against the spread during the first 10 weeks of the season, according to And for money-line fans, those home favorites have won 73.6 percent outright. In a money-line bet, the wager is decided by who wins the game without the spread. Bettors who wager on the favorite lay odds, and those who take the underdog receive odds.


The University of Maryland men's basketball team opened its season with a 78-77 loss to No. 18 Connecticut Nov. 8 as it headed toward an Atlantic Coast Conference swan-song season.

The Terps' prospects in March in the wagering world are mostly viewed with a shrug. Maryland is listed at 300-1 to win the NCAA tournament at the LVH SuperBook.

The betting favorites at the beginning of the season were Kentucky at 7-2; Duke at 6-1; Louisville at 6-1; Kansas at 7-1; Michigan State at 10-1; and Florida, Arizona and Ohio State, all at 15-1.

For Maryland fans looking to read more favorable tea leaves, the Terps were listed at 100-1 on at least one online wagering website.

But if one is a true believer, the odds at the Vegas sports book offer a better return on investment, if you can get there.


The Maryland Lottery has another promotion with one of its favorite partners, the Baltimore Ravens.

As part of a new football promotion, the lottery is giving Mega Millions and Powerball players a chance to turn losing tickets into a second chance for a winner.

A Ravens logo will automatically be printed at the top of all Mega Millions tickets with Megaplier, and on Powerball tickets with Power Play.

If the ticket is not a winner, players can go online and enter their non-winning ticket's 17-digit validation number, located at the bottom on the ticket, at for a chance at football prizes and cash. Lottery players should make sure to keep their tickets, because they will need them if they win.

There have already been scores of winners, but there are prizes still up for grabs during the promotion, including game-day tickets, Fan of the Game honors, hospitality tents with tickets, premium packages for 2014, season tickets for 20 years and cash.

Entries from eligible non-winning tickets are valid for only one prize drawing. The drawings will be held weekly during the regular season. Prize winners will need to present the original ticket to validate their win in order to claim their prize.

The promotion is not available in Prince George's and Montgomery counties because of NFL marketing restrictions.

Issue 191: November 2013