The fantasy season may be over but that doesn’t mean we’re done asking the experts for advice. With 4 playoff games on tap this weekend, we’re sure more than a few of you have a “rooting” interest in the outcomes. To help steer you in the right direction, we polled 35+ experts to get their picks against the spread.
The early game on Sunday (1:00pm EST) features 2 teams with plenty of storylines: Indianapolis at Baltimore. The Colts will try to continue their storybook season while the Ravens are set to welcome Ray Lewis back into the defensive fold. Read on to see who the experts like this week against the spread.
Note: Each expert polled provided commentary on the single team (across the 4 games) they like best this weekend. Therefore, an expert with a write-up likes this pick as their “best bet” of the week.
Expert Picks: Indianapolis at Baltimore (-6.5)
|“Surge of emotion from Ray Lewis’ retirement announcement. Colts were near perfect against Texans and let down is coming. Ravens know the intensity of postseason football well, Colts are a young team.” – Sigmund Bloom (FootballGuys)||“The young Colts aren’t without their flaws, but the Ravens haven’t been right for a while. Maybe playoff experience and the energy of an amped-up crowd carries Baltimore through the first round, but 6.5 seems like too many points for the wobbly Ravens to lay.” – Pat Fitzmaurice (ProFootballWeekly)|
|“I feel like the Colts are probably the most overrated team in the playoffs. I don’t think they match up well on defense against Flacco and Ray Rice, and I certainly can see Baltimore’s D playing out of their minds as this could potentially be Ray Lewis’ final game. Add in the fact that 80% of the money is currently on the Colts and I’ll gladly take the side that Vegas is on.” – Ryan Forbes (2MugsFF)||“The Colts aren’t quite as good as their 11-5 record, but they’re not terribly far off either. They stole a few wins early in the year, but the young squad has grown as the season has progressed. Baltimore is struggling, but may be able to sneak away because they’re the more experienced, and probably more talented group. Either way, my bet is that Indy will be able to keep this one close.” – Mike Clay (ProFootballFocus)|
|“The Colts are the only NFL playoff team to have a negative point and yardage differential in the regular season. According to Pro Football Reference, their expected W/L is 7.2-8.8, which is almost four games below their actual record. The Colts are a great story and will be a Super Bowl contender, but now is not their time. RB Ray Rice should be able to run through that defense and the Ravens should win convincingly.” – Derek Lofland (FFManiax)||“Home field advantage shouldn’t be discounted, but neither should a secondary ripe for the picking. Injuries and age have made Baltimore’s cover men more than a little vulnerable, evidenced by allowing receivers to tally five touchdowns in the final four weeks of the season. I project this as a high scoring affair that stays close, and one that’s won on the strength of Andrew Luck and his pass catchers against the Ravens’ burnable secondary.” – C.D. Carter (Sports Jerks)|
|“Indianapolis simply isn’t as good as their record suggests. The retirement announcement of Ray Lewis is enough to counter whatever mystical effects the Chuck Pagano saga has injected into the Colts. Ravens roll.” – R.J. White (FFCafe)||“Even if the Ravens win, the Colts have the potency to keep it very close.” – Scott Engel (RotoExperts)|
|“The only reason the Ravens are favored by less than a touchdown is because of the emotional play that the Colts are right now because of Chuckstrong. From a numbers perspective, the Ravens are a much better team. Baltimore is 11th in footballoutsiders.com’s DVOA while Indy is 25th. And the Colts are 29th in defensive efficiency per Football Outsiders and are likely to struggle against a Ravens offense that plays much better at home.” – Brett Talley (The Fantasy Fix)||Andrew Norton (GHL Fantasy)|
|“Colts are down an average of 7.6 points on the road on the season.” – Raju Byfield (Win My Fantasy League)||Ken Zalis (Fans Fantasy Football)|
|Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)||Kevin Hanson (EDSFootball)|
|John Halpin (Fox Sports)||Dawgmatica (Pyromaniac)|
|Michael Pichan (RotoInfo)||Dan Yanotchko (EDSFootball)|
|Muntradamus (Beast Dome)||Tom Schriner (FFLockerRoom)|
|Zach Greubel (Win My Fantasy League)||Ryan Lester (Lester’s Legends)|
|Mike Tagliere (TagsFantasyFootball)||Brent Namejko (Fantasy Smack Talk)|
|Joe Dyken (FFNerd)||Greg Smith (The Fake Football)|
|Jeff Paur (RTSports)||Jeff Brubach (The Fake Football)|
|James Hatfield (HattyWaiverWireGuru)||Ryan Fowler (Fox Sports)|
|Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Sports Empires)||Walton Spurlin (Fantasy Sharks)|
|Kevin Roberts (NFL Soup)||Joel Beall (Fox Sports)|
|Chet Gresham (The Fake Football)||Keet Bailey (NFL Soup)|
|Maurile Tremblay (FootballGuys)|
Thanks to the experts for stopping by to give us their picks. Feel free to let us know if you agree with their take in the comments. Also, if you want to see who the pundits like in the other wild-card games, please check the links below.