NFL Odds & Picks For Ravens vs. Colts: Bet Baltimore as Road Favorite
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Lamar Jackson
- The Baltimore Ravens are slight favorites when they take on the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
- Raheem Palmer sees value on the Ravens rebounding from last week's loss with a win against this overrated Colts defense.
- Check out Palmer's full preview and betting analysis for Sunday's matchup below.
NFL Odds: Ravens vs. Colts
This matchup is ripe with historical connections.
Twelve years after the Colts relocated from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1983, then-Browns owner Art Modell shocked the world in November 1995 when he announced the move from Cleveland to Baltimore, giving birth to the Ravens. Now, just days after the 25th anniversary of that announcement, the Colts (5-2) host the Ravens (5-2) in an AFC showdown that could have playoff implications.
While Indianapolis is coming off a 41-21 blowout victory over Detroit, Baltimore enters this matchup riddled with injuries after a disappointing 28-24 loss to Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for the Ravens, they’re 0-6 all-time against the Colts in Indianapolis and 5-10 in the overall series. Nonetheless, the Ravens have won nine consecutive road games — the NFL’s longest active streak.
Can the Ravens get off the snide in Indianapolis? Or will the Colts take their seventh consecutive home game against the team from their former city?
Clearly something has to give, so let’s find out!
Lamar Jackson is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL, but he’s yet to reach the level of play from his 2019 MVP campaign. Then in last week’s loss, he completed 13-of-28 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. However, he had four turnovers, including two interceptions and two fumbles.
If you’re a fan of the NFL, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know how turnovers impact an outcome and can be the difference in the setback.
Well, last week’s game marked just the second time since 1933 in which an NFL team ran for 250 yards, doubled its opponent in yardage and still lost. By all metrics, the Ravens dominated the Steelers, doubling them in total yards (457-221); time of possession (35:22-24.38); first downs (25-19); third down efficiency (53%-33%); and yards per play (5.8-4.4).
The Steelers are second in defensive run success rate and efficiency, but the Ravens still ran for 5.8 yards per carry with a 57% success rate. That was largely thanks to rookie J.K Dobbins, who rushed for 113 yards on 15 carries. He continues to be a bright spot in the absence of Mark Ingram, averaging 6.7 yards per carry and ranking first in Football Outsiders’ DVOA among running backs with fewer than 63 carries — a sign the Ravens should be feeding him more.
Given that performance against a Steelers defense that’s second in defensive efficiency and first in pressure rate (34.6%) and sacks (30), the Colts’ third-ranked defense won’t exactly be a step up in competition for the Ravens, who should have no problem scoring.
The Ravens haven’t been fortunate on the injury front, though.
They lost All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley for the rest of the season with a broken ankle. Stanley is Pro Football Focus‘ second-highest graded tackle in pass blocking (90.5), allowing just nine sacks in 2,332 career pass-blocking snaps.
Two plays before that, right guard Tyre Phillips suffered an ankle injury of his own and will miss the next three weeks sitting on the injured reserve.
The Ravens still have one of the best defenses in the league, ranking second in points allowed (18.9), fifth in defensive efficiency, eighth against the pass and first against the run.
On the other side of the ball, All Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey is out after a positive COVID-19 test. And due to contract tracing, six other defenders missed practices before being activated off the reserve list on Saturday.
By most metrics, Indianapolis is one of the best defenses in the league.
The Colts are third in expected points added per play, fourth in early down success rate, third in defensive efficiency, fourth against the pass and fifth against the run. They allow only 3.4 yards per carry, which ranks second among all teams.
Led by a defensive line featuring DeForest Buckner, Justin, Houston, Denico Autry and Tyquan Lewis, the Colts are ninth in pressure rate (24.8%) and 11th in sacks (18th).
It’s worth noting the fact they’ve played the 31st-ranked schedule of opposing offenses. Still, the Colts allowed 27 points in a Week 1 loss against Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars, then another 32 points to the Browns. And finally, to make matters worse, the Bengals got off to a 21-0 first-half lead on the road before the Colts emerged with a 31-27 comeback win — that’s not particularly encouraging against a Ravens offense that’s a large step up in class.
The defense is clearly the strength of this team, as the Colts are just 22nd in offensive efficiency despite being fifth in DVOA.
What makes the offense so disappointing is that it has faced the second-easiest schedule of opposing defenses and is last in rushing success rate and yards per carry (3.5).
The Colts’ offensive line has struggled to generate a push, as its 28th in adjusted line yards (per Football Outsiders). It now faces a Ravens defense that is fifth in rushing success rate, allowing just 43% of runs to be positive.
With the Colts inability to run the ball, they’ll likely face an uphill battle against a Ravens defense that’s fourth in pressure rate (26.6%) and fifth in sacks (24).
Phillip Rivers will be without wide receiver T.Y Hilton, but the quarterback should be pleased to have Michael Pittman Jr., Mo Alie-Cox and Trey Burton available. If the Colts are going to make it seven consecutive wins against the Ravens, it will surely come behind Rivers’ arm.
Overall, this game should be decided by whose offense can perform best and I expect a rebound performance from the Ravens offense against an overrated Colts defense.
The Ravens have won nine consecutive road games and currently boast 14-5 SU and 13-6 against the spread (ATS) records over their last 19 road games. Jackson is 12-2 straight up and 10-4 ATS in road games throughout his career, with both road losses coming against the Chiefs.
Baltimore is a big step up in class for Indianapolis, so I’m fading the Colts and playing the Ravens to get their first-ever win in Indianapolis. I’d also recommend adding the Ravens in 6.5-point teasers with the Giants.
PICK: Ravens -1 (up to -2.5)