The Baltimore Ravens (2-1 straight up, 2-1 against the spread) hit the road for the third time in four games, as they head to the Mile High City where the Denver Broncos (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) await their arrival in Week 4.
While injuries have wreaked havoc on the Ravens, the Broncos have caught the injury bug as well. Already without wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, the Broncos also lost K.J. Hamler to a torn ACL in Sunday’s win over the Jets. While Hamler hadn’t established himself as a focal point in the offense, the threat his speed presented will be missed. Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb will also be out as he recovers from ankle surgery.
As of Monday afternoon, online sportsbooks were dealing the Broncos as short home favorites.
Living A Charmed Life
For the second week in a row, the Ravens snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. This time it took a miraculous 66-yard field goal from Justin Tucker, the longest conversion in NFL history, to give Baltimore (-7.5) a 19-17 win at Detroit.
After the game, Tucker spoke with the media about the trust the team has for one another. And “trust” is a fitting word given what head coach John Harbaugh demonstrated in his quarterback last week. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the effect these two games will have on the Ravens. However — and it may sound cliché — teams that play well as a unit are often the ones standing in December.
Magic finishes aside, the Ravens have some sloppiness to clean up this week, particularly on offense. Tight end Mark Andrews got going (five catches, 109 yards), but Marquise Brown (three drops) appeared stuck. If Brown catches those well-thrown passes, the Ravens aren’t asking Tucker for a bailout.
Trend Or Mirage?
Three games. Three wins. Three covers. It could not have gone any better for the Broncos to open the season.
But to what degree should fans and bettors be hopping on the bandwagon? The Broncos boast a talented roster led by Teddy Bridgewater, a quarterback who manages the game and avoids costly miscues. The fast start isn’t particularly shocking, but it needs to be highlighted that their opponents are a combined 0-9.
Two of their three games have come on the road, so credit to them for winning away from home. However, one would be hard-pressed to find a softer three-opponent stretch than Giants, Jaguars, and Jets. The Ravens will present the stiffest test yet for the Broncos by far.
Strength On Strength
The Ravens and Broncos both feature run-heavy offenses. Baltimore’s 97 rushes and Denver’s 95 attempts rank third and fourth, respectively.
We know the threat Lamar Jackson presents to opponents — he leads the team with 35 attempts and 251 yards. Conversely, the Broncos lean on a pair of backs — veteran Melvin Gordon III and rookie Javonte Williams. The duo has accounted for 54.8 percent of the team’s offensive touches through three weeks.
Both teams are stingy against opposing ground attacks, allowing only 3.6 yards per attempt. Neither team wants to sling it around the yard, so Sunday’s result will hinge heavily on who can establish — and remain committed to — the run.
The Broncos finished UNDER the total in all three contests. Much of that can be attributed to poor opposing offenses, but Denver features a quality defense and likes to run the ball. The Ravens can be described in a similar fashion, but they hit the OVER in two of three games. However, those OVERs came against the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs.
Considering the makeup and style of these teams, the UNDER will have some appeal throughout the week. Circa Sports in Las Vegas opened the game at 44.5. WynnBet, meanwhile, opened 45, and the total sits between 44 and 44.5 as of Tuesday.
While Denver opened Sunday night in Las Vegas at -2.5, the line ranges from -1 to -2 as of this writing. FanDuel Sportsbook is dealing Denver -1 (-108), the most attractive price we’re seeing for Broncos backers. Ravens bettors could still find +2 at Circa as of Tuesday morning, and a lot of shops, including DraftKings Sportsbook, have settled at 1.5.
The money line will be worth monitoring throughout the week as well. The Ravens, priced as +110 underdogs at Circa and +105 at several online shops, are significantly superior, on paper at least, to the three teams Denver has brushed aside.