Every Friday during the NFL season, ESPN betting analysts Doug Kezirian (1-2 last week, 10-14 overall), Joe Fortenbaugh (0-5, 19-31), Anita Marks (2-4, 31-47-1), Preston Johnson (1-1, 11-15), Mike Clay (1-1, 11-8) and Tyler Fulghum (4-3, 24-30-1), sports betting deputy editor David Bearman (1-1, 17-9), Seth Walder (4-2, 29-13) of ESPN analytics and Aaron Schatz (2-3, 19-28-1) of Football Outsiders will tell us what they like from Sunday’s slate.
Note: Lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill and subject to change. Cincinnati at Pittsburgh is currently off the board.
8:20 p.m. ET game
Baltimore Ravens (-7, 43.5) at New England Patriots
Fortenbaugh: The Patriots’ defense just allowed Joe Flacco and the putrid Jets to hang 27 points and 322 yards on them, converting 6 of 10 third downs. How is this same bunch going to limit Lamar Jackson and the Ravens? I know Baltimore has struggled at times, but New England has dropped four of its past five outings while averaging just 15.8 points per game — and that includes 30 points against the Jets on Monday night! And I doubt Cam Newton and a Patriots offense currently ranked 28th in passing (202.3 yards per game) will be able to consistently sustain drives against the league’s top-ranked scoring defense (17.8 points per game).
Pick: Ravens -7
Bearman: Patriots fans could not like what they saw against the Jets, despite the win. Enter the Ravens, who ran up and down the field against them last season. Jackson had three touchdowns, including two on the ground as part of the Ravens’ 210 rushing yards. Baltimore is even better on the ground this year, bringing the league’s top rushing attack (170.1 rushing yards per game) to face a Patriots defense getting gashed for 131 rushing yards per game, 25th in the league. Oh, and Joe Flacco passed for 262 yards and three TDs on Monday night. I don’t see the Patriots stopping Jackson and the Ravens, or scoring enough to keep up behind Newton.
Pick: Ravens -7
Kezirian: I want to avoid repeating what Dave and Joe outlined. I essentially agree with everything they wrote. To me, this is about one team that should be able to dominate on both sides of the ball. A few weeks ago, San Francisco went into Foxborough, Massachusetts, and rushed for 197 yards. The Niners kept the New England defense off balance with misdirection and physicality. The Ravens should be able to do the same. However, this is Bill Belichick, who is widely considered the greatest coach in NFL history. Giving him seven points at home is scary, although I want no part of the Pats. As bad as New England has looked, the Pats, with a backup QB, still nearly upset the Chiefs in Kansas City. But I am confident in Baltimore’s ability to win the game.
Pick: Ravens -1 in teaser with Saints -4
Marks: The Pats come in on a short work week against one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. Jackson should come in with confidence after an impressive second half last week in which the Ravens put up 17 points against a good Colts defense. Newton has zero TD passes and five interceptions over the past four games, and the Pats have a league-high turnover rate of 23%. The stars align for the Ravens to dominate on Sunday night.
Pick: Ravens -1 in teaser with Chargers +8.5
Walder: After losing this prop at a higher line last week, I’m coming back to try again. I know the Ravens passing game is not clicking on all cylinders, but there’s two reasons to make this bet. First, the opportunity Marquise Brown is getting (44.2 expected completed air yards per game) more than justifies taking the over here. The problem is he and Lamar Jackson have converted those air yards at a below average rate. But there’s a fix for that coming: the Patriots defense. Believe it or not, no team is allowing a higher completion percentage over expectation (+5.5%) than any other team in the league.
Pick: Brown over 46.5 receiving yards
1 p.m. ET games
Philadelphia Eagles (-3, 44.5) at New York Giants
Schatz: The 2-7 Giants (25th) are actually higher than the 3-4-1 Eagles (28th) in Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings.
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