Cap off a fantastic Week 1 of NFL football on Monday with an AFC matchup pitting the Baltimore Ravens versus the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders will host this one at Allegiant Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 8:15 pm ET.
Last season, the Raiders finished in second place in the AFC West, but at 8-8, they were still six games behind the Kansas City Chiefs. Head coach Jon Gruden will hope to get the Raiders back on track and into the postseason this year.
For the Ravens, they finished 11-5 last year and claimed one of the wild card spots. They were able to beat the Tennessee Titans 20-13 in the wild card round, but they lost 17-3 to the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round.
The Ravens are the favorites despite playing on the road. They are -215 to win while the Raiders’ moneyline sits at +180. The spread features Las Vegas +4.5 (-110), and the over/under for total points is 50.5.
The Ravens are co-favorites alongside the Cleveland Browns to win the AFC North at +130. They are +1500 to win the Super Bowl.
Las Vegas has the worst odds in the AFC West to win the division at +1700. They are just +7500 to win Super Bowl LVI.
By The Numbers
The Ravens are 6-1 in their last seven games, and they are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight. Furthermore, in their last 15 games against the Raiders, the Ravens are 12-3.
In their last six games, the Raiders are just 1-5 against the spread, and they are 2-5 overall in their last seven games. The Raiders have had some success in Week 1 games, though, as they are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games.
With Depleted Backfield, Ravens Will Rely On Jackson
Lamar Jackson has been spectacular with both his arm and legs since entering the NFL in 2018. Unfortunately, with multiple running backs going down, he may have to step up his game even more.
To this point, J.K. Dobbins (torn ACL), Justice Hill (torn Achilles), and Gus Edwards (torn ACL) are out in Baltimore’s running game. With these three out, it currently comes down to undrafted free agent Ty’Son Williams and veteran Le’Veon Bell.
Again, with limited options in the backfield, there will be extra pressure on Jackson. Last season, he threw for 2,757 yards, 26 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He also rushed 159 times for 1,005 yards and seven scores.
Defensively, the Ravens should continue to dominate. Last season, they ranked first in scoring defense (18.5 points), sixth in rushing yards allowed per game (101.3) and sixth in passing yards allowed per game (215.7).
Raiders Hope To Improve At Home
While they ultimately finished 8-8 in the division, the Raiders could have done better had they played better at home. Last season, they were 6-2 on the road, but they were just 2-6 at home.
Trying to lead them to a good start at home will be quarterback Derek Carr. Last year, Carr threw for 4,103 yards, 27 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 140 yards and another three scores.
On the ground, the Raiders will once again look to Josh Jacobs to lead the way. He is coming off of a season where he rushed 273 times for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The biggest question is how their defense will play. Last year, they ranked 30th in scoring defense allowing opponents 29.9 points per game.
Take Baltimore To Win And Cover
There is no doubt that the lack of options in the backfield will hurt the balance in the Ravens’ offensive attack, but between a stellar defense and a playmaker like Lamar Jackson, they should still be fine.
Take Baltimore to win and cover the modest 4.5-point spread.