Ravens vs. Broncos Odds, Predictions, Picks, Spread: Find Value On Unbeaten Underdogs In Week 4 NFL Matchup
Getty Images. Pictured: Lamar Jackson (left) and Teddy Bridgewater.
|Moneyline||-109 / -104|
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
One of these teams features an elite defense, with playmakers all over the field dictating the play, along with a surprisingly capable offense.
The other one is the Baltimore Ravens.
Life comes at you fast in the NFL, and the shoe is on the other foot suddenly for the Ravens. The defense is not what it once was, and the offense is struggling to score consistently. Baltimore is 2-1 but has barely gotten over the finish line each of the past two weeks. The Ravens could easily be 0-3.
Baltimore is used to being the tough defense protecting its home field, but it’s the Denver Broncos who look like a typical Ravens team. The Broncos are a perfect 3-0 with a high-flying defense, and it’s Denver trying to keep its season perfect.
Will the Broncos win again and get to 4-0?
Injured Ravens Look To Get Going
It’s been a wild ride thus far for the Ravens.
You remember all three of their games. Baltimore’s season started with an overtime loss in Las Vegas on Monday Night Football. The Ravens won six nights later against the Chiefs, with Lamar Jackson carrying the team to victory in a wild 36-35 win over the defending AFC champs. Then last week in Detroit, the team laid an egg and would’ve lost if not for a fourth-and-19 pass to Sammy Watkins in the final seconds and that record-setting 66-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.
What a wild, exhausting season — and that was just September.
August was punctuated by a seemingly endless list of injuries. Baltimore lost its top three RBs for the season along with cornerback Marcus Peters, and the ailments have continued to pile up. Calais Campbell, Marlon Humphrey, Justin Houston and Derek Wolfe are question marks for the defense, while the Ravens could be without both starting tackles, Ronnie Stanley and Alejandro Villanueva.
Jackson is also questionable. He played through last week but clearly wasn’t himself against the Lions, and it’s no wonder his back is sore the way he’s been carrying these mediocre Ravens all season.
Baltimore ranks 13th in overall DVOA at Football Outsiders, right around league average. The Ravens are 13th in Offensive DVOA and 20th in Defensive DVOA.
Outside of their typical elite special teams play and occasional flashes of brilliance by Jackson, the Ravens have been remarkably average. All three Baltimore games have come down to the wire and could have gone either way, and the Ravens are probably lucky to have two wins at this point.
Really, it just feels like this might be one of those years from hell. The injuries continue to mount, and they’re especially problematic in this matchup. At Pro Football Doc, they rank the offense just a 76 out of 100 for health overall, including a 69 for rushing attack. That’s Baltimore’s bread and butter, and Denver has the best secondary in the league so it’s not like the passing game will magically find itself in this game.
Broncos Could Stay Perfect
The Broncos are a perfect 3-0, both straight-up and against the spread (ATS), though it’s hard to know just how good this team is. Denver has played the softest schedule in the league, coasting to easy wins against the Giants, Jaguars and Jets, who are 0-10 combined.
Denver looks like one of the best defenses in the NFL. Rookie Patrick Surtain II appears to be the real deal at cornerback. He and free agent addition Kyle Fuller have stepped in right away, combining with safeties Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson to form the league’s best secondary.
Von Miller is finally healthy again and flying all over the place, while Bradley Chubb is back on the field opposite him too. With those two rushing the passer and an elite secondary, this is shaping up to be the best pass defense in the league. The run defense has been good too.
There’s a reason all three Broncos games have gone under. This defense is the real deal.
That’s not a big surprise though. We expected the defense to be good. The offense is the real surprise.
Teddy Bridgewater has been outstanding. Denver ranks seventh in Offensive DVOA and fourth in Passing Offense DVOA. That’s a shocking start for an offense that was supposed to struggle to just be good enough.
Even with Jerry Jeudy hurt, Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick have been terrific, and Bridgewater is finding his guys and making plays. This is a passing attack that can really hurt Baltimore with the Ravens so banged up at cornerback.
If Bridgewater plays like he has this season, Denver could win comfortably again. If he struggles, this could turn low-scoring and ugly.
Melvin Gordon is questionable, and rookie running back Javonte Williams has struggled to find his groove. The Broncos are also missing one or maybe both guards so that could leave some room for Wink Martindale’s Baltimore defense to cause some issues.
There’s no question that the Ravens are a serious step up in competition from what the Broncos have faced so far. The question is how much of a step.
The Ravens we’ve known over the past few years would probably find a way to win this game. That’s the way the public is leaning too, with money pouring in on Baltimore all week, making it the favorite.
But this just might not be those Ravens of old this year.
Really, it feels like the public is still treating Baltimore like the tough defense and old reliable offense, when it’s Denver that fits that profile this season so far. The Broncos defense has been fantastic on early downs, and that could leave Baltimore in an uncomfortable position, forced into passing against an elite secondary.
All the better that the line has moved so far from Denver early in the week that the unbeaten Broncos are now underdogs. So far this season, underdogs of three or fewer points are 11-5 ATS, with all 11 covers also winning straight up.
It’s pretty rare for an unbeaten team to be an underdog Week 4 or later. Per Action Labs, such unbeaten underdogs are 30-21-2 ATS since 2003, covering 58.8% of the time. They’re even better at home, 9-3 ATS with a 75.0% cover rate. In other words: you should bet on undefeated underdogs:
The public continues to go all-in on Baltimore here, but I think they’re late to the party for Denver. Maybe Baltimore keeps pulling wins out of thin air, but remember, even the two wins it has have been by three combined points.
Because of that, I’ll stick with Denver +1 at -110, which you can find at most books, rather than playing the -105 moneyline. If the Ravens do win, it could be another close one so I’ll pay that 10 cents to give me a push option if Baltimore does win by a lone point.
But if the line moves even further in Baltimore’s direction by kickoff, it may be time to hit the moneyline too. When in doubt, history says it’s a good idea to trust a home unbeaten underdog. They’re usually undefeated for a reason.
Pick: Broncos +1