2019 Week 9 Betting: New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens
Market opener: Ravens +3.5, 45
Suuma line: Ravens +4.5, total range of 41-43
Wow. It seems like everyone, and their mother in law is on the Ravens. And I am talking about sharp bettors and betting groups because the public rarely moves a line this drastically. The reasons why groups like the Ravens are the following: they are coming off a bye, their defense has been improving, the Pats offense is overrated, and Lamar Jackson on the ground is a good matchup against that Pats defense. There is so much sharp money on the 3.5 that we shouldn’t anticipate that number crawling back. I couldn’t bet against the Pats at this number. We are on the Under, and I disagree entirely with the first total of 45. I anticipated this number shorter, and I would be surprised if it closed at 45 or higher.
Look at DVOA, EPA or simply at the tape: this is the worst Patriots offense since 2004. They rank 15th in DVOA and 16th in EPA. They also rank 14th in points per drive and 17th in net drive success rate. But it’s flying under the radar. They are still playing with two backup offensive linemen at the center and left tackle positions, they have no tight ends and their receiving threats are Julian Edelman and Mo Sanu, two guys who work the inside rather than the outside. Their offensive line cannot run-block this year either. They are meeting with a Ravens defense that looked horribly lousy at the start of the season but has been improving since. And they get Jimmy Smith back, their second-best cornerback.
This month, the Ravens defense ranks 4th in EPA per dropback and the number, of -0.177 would have ranked first in 2018. The Ravens have two quality cornerbacks who can take away anything the Pats are going to run on the outside, which allows Earl Thomas to play his free safety position not as deep in cover-1 and cover-3. He can come down and help his mates against inside routes on Sanu and Edelman. I don’t see a way this Pats offense is going to move the chains consistently.
The Ravens passing offense has been explosive to start the year, but they have been getting cold lately. If we take away the 59-point Miami game, Baltimore ranks only 16th in EPA per dropback. On the season, they rank 17th in pass DVOA. For your information: DVOA smoothes outliers (big plays) and emphasizes consistency. EPA can get skewed by big plays. Now the Ravens face the best passing defense in league with a genius at head coach. Rookie receiver Marquise Brown is cleared to play on Sunday, but if he does, he probably won’t be 100%, and he will play against Stephon Gilmore, arguably the best cornerback in the league right now.
The #Packers head into Sunday with optimism that star WR Davante Adams (toe) can return to the field, sources say. They’ll likely put him through a workout to test it, but they are planning as if Adams will be back for the first time since Sept. 26.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 3, 2019
Lamar Jackson and company have the best rushing offense in the league, and that’s where they can gain ground against the Pats. Bill Belichick will most likely come up with a good game plan to contain Lamar on the ground. He’s going to stack the line of scrimmage and will probably send linebackers or safeties in spy. This is not going to work out properly for Lamar Jackson if he’s forced to throw the ball on this defense, no matter how improved he looks as a passer.
We have a struggling passing offense (Ravens) against the best passing defense in the league (Pats) and the worst Pats offense since 2004 against an improving Ravens defense. Sign me up on the Under!
The Play: Patriots/Ravens UNDER 45.5 -105 (LowVig, 10/31 10.30 AM ET)