The Lewis Effect: Can the Ravens' leader move lines?
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who announced earlier Wednesday he’d retire at the end of the season, has been a full participant in practice this week after he tore his right triceps in mid-October, and could potentially be suiting up for the final game of his NFL career on Sunday versus the Colts.
Lewis, who is the undisputed vocal, physical and spiritual leader of the Ravens, possesses a rare game-breaking ability for a defensive player, but is his presence enough to influence Sunday’s betting line?
“I do believe the Lewis announcement will provide an "inspirational boost" to the Ravens this Sunday,” says Covers Expert Brian Power. “However, I don’t feel his return would have an impact on the pointspread as far as linesmakers are concerned, but I could see the public betting the line to the key number of 7.”
The Ravens haven't played well in nearly two months and have suffered because of injuries to veterans like Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed on the field. But when those three are in form this defense has been, over the past decade, one of the best in NFL history.
“Ray Lewis is worth 0 points to the spread, not even a hook," says Covers Expert Ted Sevransky. “Teams don't really need any extra motivation/emotion to win playoff games -- they've already got plenty. He's a tremendous leader in the locker room, but a 25-year-old Ray Lewis isn't going to magically show up in his 37-year-old body.”
The public is overwhelmingly siding with the Colts in this one, with nearly three of every four bets coming down on Indianapolis, according to Robert Ferringo of Doc's Sports. The line has already reached the key number of Ravens -7 at many Vegas books as of Thursday afternoon.