Vikings vs. Ravens Odds, NFL Picks, Predictions: Why This Stat Creates Value On Over/Under For Week 9
Getty Images. Pictured: Kirk Cousins (left) and Lamar Jackson.
- A solid pace matchup of two offenses that can attack their opponent's respective weaknesses?
- Based on the Vikings vs. Ravens odds and matchup, find out why our analyst sees value on the over/under.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The 3-4 Vikings travel to Baltimore to face the 5-2 Ravens in Week 9. The Ravens are looking to separate themselves from the upstart Bengals at the top of the AFC North, while the Vikings need a win to stay relevant in the NFC.
After opening as seven-point favorites, 71% of bets and 76% of the money has came in on Baltimore as of writing, pushing the line down to -6.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Vikings vs. Ravens Injury Report
- DT Michael Pierce (elbow): Out
- LB Anthony Barr (knee): Questionable
- CB Cameron Dantzler (ankle): Questionable
- RB Latavius Murray (ankle): Doubtful
- G Patrick Mekari (ankle): Doubtful
- WR Sammry Watkins (thigh): Questionable
- DT Brandon Williams (shoulder): Questionable
- WR Rashod Bateman (groin): Questionable
Vikings vs. Ravens Matchup
|Vikings Offense||DVOA Rank||Ravens Defense|
|Vikings Defense||DVOA Rank||Ravens Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Vikings Have New-Look Offense in 2021
After a rough start, the Vikings have won two of their last three games, with the only loss being a four-point defeat last week to the 6-1 Cowboys. Despite a losing record, Minnesota has a positive scoring differential on the season.
With apologies to Bill Parcells, the Vikings are better than their record says they are.
Part of this is due to Minnesota’s health, which is remarkable for this point in the NFL season. The only player who failed to get in at least a limited practice session by Thursday for the Vikings was defensive tackle Michael Pierce (out for Week 9), who has four tackles all season.
The Vikings are now decidedly a pass-first offense in 2021. They rank inside the top 10 in passing DVOA and are bottom five in rushing. Much of this is due to their offensive line, which ranks second in adjusted sack rate, but 27th in adjusted line yards on the season.
Defensively, Minnesota has performed far better against the pass than the rush. While this is certainly a strength in today’s NFL, it’s not ideal when facing the Ravens. While totally stopping Lamar Jackson and the Ravens backfield is almost impossible, offering some resistance will be key to this game for the Vikings.
Minnesota is also playing fast this season, ranking among the top six in pace in all situations except when leading by seven or more. With that unlikely to occur much — if it all — on Sunday, expect a high-tempo game.
Ravens Backfield Depleted
The Ravens profile as the inverse of the Vikings, performing better in the run game on both offense and defense. That’s fairly remarkable on the offensive side of the ball because of all the injuries to their running backs this season.
The Ravens are expected to use some combination of undrafted second-year back Ty’Son Williams, reclamation project Devonta Freeman (on his fourth team since September 2020) and possibly former Vikings back Latavius Murray, if he’s somehow able to suit up. It’s not exactly a star-studded backfield.
Of course, the main attraction is Jackson, who leads all quarterbacks with 68 rush yards per game — next on the list is Jalen Hurts at 54, with no other QB over 40. Jackson has also been more effective as a passer this year with career-high 8.6 yards per attempt, which is fifth-best in the league.
Depending on the health of wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who is likely to play, Jackson could also have his full complement of weapons for the first time this season. First-round pick Rashod Bateman was still on the injured reserve last time Watkins was able to go. With Bateman, Watkins, Marquise Brown, and tight end Mark Andrews, this is by far the best supporting cast Jackson has had in the NFL.
Defensively, the DVOA for the Ravens looks bad. However, this is another situation where we need to look at the underlying numbers, not just the rankings.
In overall DVOA, the Ravens are closer to being 14 spots higher (10.4% off) than they are to being only seven spots lower (10.5 %). Baltimore certainly doesn’t have a good defense, but outside of the top few (and bottom two) units, things are much closer than they appear.
Finally, we have a solid symbiotic relationship with the Vikings in terms of pace. Remember, Minnesota plays fast unless it’s ahead by a touchdown. The Ravens, meanwhile, play fastest (relative to the NFL average) when up by seven or more points.
NFL Pick: Vikings vs. Ravens
These teams combine to average exactly 50 points per game — right where the over/under is set. However, we can project a bit of an uptick for both teams here.
The pace, while not fast at first glance, meshes nicely to produce a quicker-than-average game. Both offenses are also situated nicely against the opposing defenses, with the Ravens’ run game and the Vikings’ pass game attacking the relative weaknesses of their opponents.
Let’s take the over here, which is still 49.5 on BetMGM. Most books have moved it up to 50, which I’d still take, but no higher than that.
Pick: Over 49.5 | Bet to: 50
|More Vikings-Ravens Odds, Picks, Trends|