Ravens Betting: 2021 Win Totals
Arguably the top two teams in the AFC are the Kansas City Chiefs and now the Buffalo Bills. But where do the Baltimore Ravens figure into the mix?
Like the Chiefs and Bills, the Ravens have an exciting franchise quarterback in Lamar Jackson.
But unlike his two counterparts, there’s still a question about one part of Jackson’s game — can he win a game with his arm?
After knocking off Tennessee in the Wild Card Round last season — avenging a season-ending loss to the Titans in the previous playoffs — Jackson and the Ravens were shut down by Buffalo in the divisional round, 17-3.
Will that loss fuel Jackson and his teammates into taking the next step this season?
Vegas likes Baltimore to reach the playoffs once again as BetOnline – one of the top sportsbooks at Online Betting Sports — has set the over/under on a number of wins at 10.5 this season. Bet Online currently has the Ravens with the eighth-best betting odds of winning the Super Bowl this season at +1600.
Kansas City (+500), Buffalo (+1100), and Cleveland (+1400) are the only teams in the AFC with better SB odds.
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Will Jackson be a Distraction?
For the second time in the last season, the former NFL MVP tested positive for the coronavirus. On Saturday (8/7), Jackson took part in the Ravens’ full-team practice for the first time this training camp after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the previous ten days. The Ravens’ quarterback made news earlier this offseason when he spoke out about not taking the COVID vaccination despite the NFL highly encouraging all NFL players and team personnel to do so.
Aside from COVID, Jackson and the Ravens are also trying to work out an extension to keep Jackson in Baltimore for the long haul. Josh Allen’s recent new and lucrative contract extension in Buffalo earlier this week could also play a part in Jackson’s negotiations.
Early Season Test
After a trip to Vegas in the season opener, Baltimore will receive the ultimate litmus test in NFL Week 2 as they play host to Super Bowl favorite Kansas City. Most thought this game would have been last season’s AFC Championship game, but someone forgot to tell Buffalo’s defense of those plans.
If Baltimore can send the Chiefs back to KC with a loss here, albeit an obviously arduous task, it could go a long way in how the rest of the season will pan out for the Ravens. It would also serve as a confidence booster to Jackson when it comes to winning the big games.
Can others step up around Jackson?
In last year’s divisional round, Buffalo made it a point to make Jackson one-dimensional. And it worked.
For the season, Jackson finished ninth in the NFL Odds in rushing with 1,005 yards and seven touchdowns. But through the air, Jackson ranked 22nd with 2,757 yards. He did have a well-above TD-INT ratio with 26-9. But when teams stack the box, can Jackson make them pay?
The addition of Sammy Watkins along with 2021 first-round draft pick Rashod Bateman should help solidify the Ravens’ passing game. If Hollywood Brown and Devin Duvernay can continue to make strides, the Ravens’ passing attack could become scary good.
And we haven’t even talked about tight end Mark Andrews and running back J.K. Dobbins.
Dobbins should pick up where he left off with a break-out rookie season, while Andrews provides not only a security blanket for Jackson in the passing game but also is one of the top tight ends in the game.
Odds in the North
With the resurgence of Big Ben in Pittsburg last season and Cleveland finally starting to see results from all its talent, the AFC North is one of the most fun and competitive divisions in the league. And you also have Cincinnati, who can make some noise of its own with a healthy Joe Burrow back under center.
Bovada Sportsbook – another one of the top sportsbooks for onlinebettingsports.com — has Baltimore (+115) picked as slight favorites to win the North over Cleveland (+150), while the Steelers are picked third at +400.
Although the offense appears to have made improvements around Jackson, will the defense be able to hold its own against the Kansas City’s and Buffalo’s of the AFC? Losing pash rushers Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon could prove costly. However, if Marlon Humphrey continues his trend into being one of the top defensive backs in the league, the Ravens may be alright defensively.
2021 Season Prediction: A big Week 2 win vs. Kansas City will set the tone for the Ravens’ season…14-3, First in AFC North