Chiefs vs Ravens Picks: Betting Odds Favor Jackson, Mahomes Rare NFL Underdog on Monday Night Football
Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have combined for two NFL MVP awards, a Heisman Trophy, one Lombardi Trophy, a Super Bowl MVP and four division titles. At 25 and 23 years old, respectively, Mahomes and Jackson have taken the NFL by storm, and may have even scared Tom Brady away from the AFC in the process.
Mahomes won’t ever be a Heisman Trophy winner, but Jackson does have a chance to match Mahomes when it comes to Lombardi Trophies and Super Bowl MVPs. In fact, the Ravens are currently favorites to win Super Bowl 55. One step toward that goal would be doing something on Monday night that he has yet to accomplish: beat Mahomes and the Chiefs straight up.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Baltimore Ravens Odds
NFL oddsmakers believe Jackson will do just that. Despite being 0-2 against the Chiefs since the two quarterbacks took over for their respective franchises, legal U.S. sportsbooks make the Ravens 3.5-point favorites ahead of the highly anticipated Monday Night Football showdown.
It’s not only the sportsbooks who like Baltimore tonight but 62% of bettors are laying the points with the Ravens, per ScoresAndOdds.
Oddsmakers are typically right on the money. They were last September when they made the Chiefs 4.5-point home favorites against the Ravens. The final score? Chiefs 33, Ravens 28.
It’s no surprise the Ravens are favored on Monday night in Baltimore: the Ravens are Super Bowl favorites, edging out the Chiefs by a hair in terms of Super Bowl odds. However, playing against an advantageous Mahomes inside of an empty M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens might be favored by a half-point too much.
Monday Night Football: Chiefs vs Ravens Picks
It appears oddsmakers are giving home teams their typical ~3-point advantage, as is this case Monday night. If you look at the betting trends, it seems they’re right in doing so.
So far, home teams are 24-23 ATS despite stadiums operating at limited capacity, and many venues not allowing fans at all.
Each team is allowed to pump in a certain amount crowd noise, but we saw on Sunday night that it doesn’t make up for screaming fans in the seats.
Aaron Rodgers was able to take advantage of the Saints defense as he controlled the cadence of the game and caught them off-guard by turning sneaky snap counts into free plays, as he so often does in Lambeau.
Emulating his game after Rodgers’, Mahomes, too, has become quite the trickster when it comes to finding free plays.
In his first season as a starter, Mahomes racked up 234 yards on nine completions while draws defenses offside for 15 free play in which he connected with receivers nine times. I was unable to find updated stats through the 2019 season, but based on the chart below, Mahomes was on pace to become one of the most opportunistic quarterbacks in this regard.
The Ravens defense is one of the most blitz-heavy defenses in the NFL. Their aggressive schemes have allowed them to pressure quarterbacks 38% of the time this season. However, the Ravens’ blitz hasn’t been as successful in their attempts to deter Mahomes. They only sacked him once at Arrowhead in 2019 as he connected on two of his three touchdown passes in the faces of blitzes. In 2018, Mahomes torched Ravens for 377 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
Slowing down Mahomes and the prolific Kansas City offense is a tall task regardless of the location and matchup, but making it a bit taller on Monday night is the recent injury to Ravens’ defensive back Tavon Young, who tore his ACL in Week 2.
Primarily operating in Baltimore’s nickel packages, Young was set to be a significant contributor on defense in against Kanas City. Now they’ll have to find a way to slow down the likes of Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and possibly Sammy Watkins (currently questionable), all capable of playing in the slot, with Young’s replacements.
Expect Mahomes to pick up where left off, and the environment should be conducive, even with a talented defensive front lined up opposite of the gunslinger. If oddsmakers ask me to take 3.5 points while betting on Mahomes and the Chiefs, I’m not going to turn them down — especially not in these circumstances.
Monday Night Football Betting Pick: Kansas City Chiefs +3.5 (-110)
Chiefs vs Ravens Player Props & Picks
Using Scores and Odds’ prop tool, we can quickly find some of the best NFL player props across the sports betting industry. Right now a few stick out.
Patrick Mahomes Over 292.5 Passing Yards (-115)
Mahomes has passed for well over 300 yards in each of his two games against the Ravens secondary. His yards are a bit deflated this year thanks to the presence of running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who the Chiefs picked in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. With Edwards-Helaire in the backfield, Andy Reid and OC Eric Bieniemy have shown a new willingness to run the ball. They ran the ball 34 times in their season opener, and they’re averaging 28 run attempts through two games — four more than their 2019 average. That might scare you away from this prop, but the Ravens defense is allowing the fourth-lowest rush success rate, per GridironIQ. The Chiefs will turn to their bread-and-butter Monday night.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire Over 3.5 Receptions (-130)
Chiefs’ running backs caught eight passes against the Ravens last September. That wasn’t a fluke; in their 2018 meeting, Mahomes targeted his running backs 13 times for a total of 11 receptions and 78 receiving yards. With the Ravens’ stout run defense, the Chiefs will turn to short passes instead of forcing handoffs. Conveniently for CEH, Kansas City’s running back touches are consolidated more than they’ve ever been during the Mahomes era. This is my favorite Chiefs-Ravens pick of the night, and I also like using CEH in tonight’s DFS contests.
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