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NFL Live Betting Week 8: How We’re Live Betting Ravens-Bucs on Thursday Night Football

NFL Live Betting Week 8: How We’re Live Betting Ravens-Bucs on Thursday Night Football article feature image
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Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Lamar Jackson.

Week 8 has kicked off with a matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Baltimore Ravens — and with more live betting scenarios for us in primetime.

Tampa was a slight favorite for this one, which had a 46-point total at kickoff. This game also had some fairly clear scenarios in terms of betting the total, with the Bucs one of the league’s fastest-paced teams and the Ravens one of the slowest. With the moderate pregame total, it’s quite possible we’ll be able to find value numbers to bet in both directions at various points tonight.

There are also some valuable player prop situations to look into, as Tampa has one of the highest pass rates over expectation in the league. They’re likelier to continue to pass with a lead than most live lines will account for — but more on that later.

With all that in mind, here’s how we’re live betting Ravens-Bucs on Thursday Night Football in Week 8.

The Live Bet We’ve Already Made on Thursday Night Football (And Why)

Tampa Bay Takes the Lead — LIVE BET MADE

Based on pace splits alone, either team getting out to a commanding lead was likely going to speed things up here. However, I was far more interested in betting the over with the Bucs in front.

As discussed further below, Tampa has one of the highest pass rates over expectation in the league. Not coincidentally, they also have one of the worst run-blocking offensive lines in the league.

Those add up to a scenario where Tampa likely uses short passes to control the ball with a lead, rather than the run game. Those are likelier to lead to more scoring for Tampa and to stop the clock via incompletions.

Baltimore also plays about two seconds quicker (relative to situation neutral) when trailing, as well as shifting to a more pass heavy approach. Ideally, we would have had something like a 7-0 Tampa lead after a quarter or so, and can take an over on a line in the low 40s.

Everything was lining up nicely for the over as we neared halftime — except for Mark Andrews limping into the locker room. We had a 40.5 total with the Bucs up by seven, but Baltimore had looked lost offensively except when throwing to Andrews. So we were waiting for more information and for more of the game to be played.

Andrews or not, a 35.5 live total at BetMGM at halftime is simply too low here. We prefer overs with Tampa in the lead, and they get the ball to start the third quarter. Baltimore moved the ball fairly well in their last two possessions, so it was fairly flukey to come away with 0 points. This one has even more value if Andrews is able to give it a go in the second half.

The Other Thursday Night Football Live Betting Scenarios We Were Watching For

A Close Game

We mentioned in the intro that Tampa Bay has played at one of the league’s fastest paces this season, while Baltimore plays at one of the slowest.  That statement holds true for both overall and situation-neutral pace splits.

Where it doesn’t quite hold up is when games are within a touchdown. In that scenario, Tampa Bay drops down to the 18th-ranked team in pace of play. That’s their only split outside of the top six. And Baltimore ranks 27th when games are within a score, considerably lower than their 19th-ranked situation neutral pace.

It’s pretty clear that both teams want to play cautiously in close games, controlling the action on the ground. Therefore, we’ll look to bet the under. Hopefully, we can hold out for a number in the 50s, following a quick score or two from both teams.

Player Props

I’ll leave the heavy lifting in the player props department to Dr. Nick, but I wanted to point out an angle worth considering.

As we’ve touched on, Tampa Bay is likely to continue throwing the ball even with a lead. It’s an awful matchup for their run game, and they may have no other choice.

Broadly speaking, it’s worth looking for situations where books adjust Tampa Bay passing props down when they have a lead — particularly on Brady’s attempts/completions, as well as lines on the short-area targets for the team. Chris Godwin and Cade Otton are likely to see more looks with the Bucs playing ball control than Mike Evans or Julio Jones (if active.)

Be sure to tune in to “Bet What Happens Live with Dr. Nick!” at halftime for a full breakdown of all the live player props worth taking, though.

How We Approach Live Betting in General

The NFL is perfect for live betting, with the pauses between plays providing plenty of time to get bets in. This season, I’ve built a model to project the pace of play under a variety of in-game scenarios. These include first vs. second half, as well as which team is leading or when the game is within a touchdown.

The primary benefit is for betting totals. If the game is going to be faster or slower than was assumed pregame, the application is obvious. Faster-paced games tend to produce more points.

Player props also present some interesting opportunities. Sportsbooks are offering a variety of live player props, and faster or slower than expected games create obvious opportunities.

Take a look around various books before placing bets, though. There tends to be more variation between shops in live markets than there is pregame.

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