Monday Night Football Odds & Picks: Your Browns vs. Ravens Betting Guide
Getty Images. Pictured: Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield
Monday Night Football Odds
The Ravens clobbered the Browns 38-6 in Week 1. Will Cleveland be able to close the gap in the rematch?
In some ways, the Browns have been impressive.
For one, they’re 9-3 and winning the games they’re supposed to — no small feat for a franchise that has suffered through the NFL’s worst record since the turn of the century (108-223-1). The Browns also rank eighth in Football Outsiders’ pass offense DVOA despite losing top wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. midway through the season.
In other ways, the Browns have been unimpressive. Despite their 9-3 record, they have a -15 point differential, which nearly doubles after adjusting for strength of schedule. Against the spread, the Browns are just 5-7.
Cleveland’s pass offense may rate slightly better than its run game, but the team will likely lean on the latter in what is forecasted to be a cold and windy affair. Nick Chubb is averaging 6.0 yards per carry, and averaged exactly that much against the Ravens in the first matchup.
Baltimore ranks fourth in rushing DVOA on the season and got back defensive lineman Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell, making this is a strength-on-strength matchup.
The key for Baltimore will be containing the run game enough to create must-pass situations for the Cleveland offense. The Ravens have been mediocre at generating pressure — their 23.4% pressure rate ranks 14th, according to Pro Football Reference — but Mayfield’s performance under pressure has been abysmal enough (a 32.8 rating that ranks 38th out of 39 qualifiers per PFF) that even a modest amount of pressure downs could swing the game.
In the first meeting between these two teams, the Ravens pressured Mayfield on 12-of-42 dropbacks (28.6%), and Mayfield completed just 2-of-9 passes for 25 yards with three sacks. The Browns offense went 3-of-15 on third and fourth downs, scoring just six points in the game.
The Ravens are finally getting healthier after a COVID-19 outbreak gutted the team over the past few weeks.
With tight end Mark Andrews and wide receiver Willie Snead activated, the Ravens will finally have a full compliment of pass catchers. The Browns, meanwhile, will be without cornerback Denzel Ward and safety Ronnie Harrison — PFF grades Ward (77.8) and Harrison (72.7) as the top two coverage players in Cleveland’s secondary.
Lamar Jackson’s performance has been uneven this season. After leading the league with a 82.3 mark in QBR last season, the former MVP has posted a mark of just 63.0 this season, which ranks 20th.
The Browns held up well against the run in the first matchup, limiting the Ravens to 111 yards on 30 carries, but to no avail — Cleveland instead got shredded for 21-of-26 passing for 281 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions instead. Jackson threw for all but six of those yards in one of his best performances of the season.
On paper, the rematch favors the Ravens: The Baltimore offense ranks fifth in rush DVOA and fourth in weighted DVOA (which weights recent games more heavily) while Cleveland’s run defense ranks 19th in DVOA and 22nd in weighted DVOA.
Rookie J.J. Dobbins has emerged has Baltimore’s lead back. He’s been explosive, nearly matching Chubb in terms of efficiency with 5.4 yards per carry on 83 carries this season.
I have this game projected at Ravens -3 with a total of 45. The Ravens are likely to be the hungrier team after a midseason slide has left them currently on the outside looking in of the playoff picture.
Head coach John Harbaugh is 10-0-1 ATS in divisional road games from Week 10 on (excluding Week 17), according to our Action Labs data. Much of the value has been bet out of the line, however, as teams are just 42-69-2 (38%) when the line moves two or more points in their favor in Monday or Thursday night matchups.
Betting a side largely comes down to which side of 3 the number is on — if the number is under 3, I lean Ravens. But over 3, I lean Browns.
This should be a classic hard-fought late-season divisional matchup, which has tended to favor the under, especially in primetime.
The Ravens and Browns are 23rd an 25th in first-half pace, so it also wouldn’t be surprising if the first-half total went under, which has also been a trend in these spots in primetime:
PICKS: Under down to 45.5; 1H Under down to 22