Ravens vs. Chiefs Betting Odds & Picks: Will Patrick Mahomes Meet His Match?

Ravens vs. Chiefs Betting Odds & Picks: Will Patrick Mahomes Meet His Match? article feature image
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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes.

Ravens at Chiefs Betting Odds

  • Odds: Chiefs -5.5
  • Total: 52
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Odds above as of Thursday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can exclusively bet every NFL spread this season at reduced juice (-105).

In a matchup between the NFL’s most exciting quarterbacks, it appears bettors trust Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs over Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.

Fresh off two dominating performances to start the season, the Chiefs are receiving 59% of spread tickets. In addition, the over is getting more than two-thirds of tickets as of Thursday.

Can Jackson and the Ravens finally bring the Chiefs back to Earth?

Our analysts break down the most important angles of Sunday’s highly anticipated matchup featuring a look at Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a pick.

Ravens-Chiefs Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Ravens

The Ravens are looking quite good compared to other teams in the league. Cornerback Jimmy Smith is still battling an MCL sprain, so he’s not expected to be ready. And Mark Andrews (foot) returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs lost left tackle Eric Fisher (groin) after he had surgery and Damien Williams (knee) missed another practice on Thursday. LeSean McCoy (ankle) returned to practice on Thursday, but even if he suits up, he might not be 100%. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Chiefs -6.5
  • Projected Total: 53

When this total opened at 51.5, I felt it was a bit low, but not enough to bet — especially since 51 is a fairly key number. Bettors have since flooded the over with 73% of tickets and 83% of the money (see live public betting data here), pushing the line as high as 55 at some books, but it appears the market realized it overshot and is starting to correct itself.

I’d lock in the under at 54.5 if you can find it. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Ravens Run Offense vs. Chiefs Run Defense

In Jackson’s eight 2018 starts (including playoffs), the Ravens had a 1940s-esque 61.1% run rate and were efficient on the ground, managing 5.0 yards per carry and sporting a 54% rushing success rate. And they’ve maintained that ground-based dominance in 2019.

While Jackson’s aerial exploits have grabbed most of the headlines over the past couple of weeks, the Ravens have relied very heavily on the run, putting up a 54.5% run rate on the way to an NFL-high 79 carries and 447 yards rushing.

All of that production came with positive game script against the Dolphins and Cardinals, so perhaps it’s not representative, but the early action suggests that the Ravens will stick with the ground game whenever they can.

In running back Mark Ingram — a between-the-tackles grinder with sufficient speed and under appreciated agility and vision — the Ravens have a player whose skill set matches the strength of their offensive line, which returned all five starters this year and in 2018 ranked No. 1 with a power run success rate of 78% (per Football Outsiders).

In Jackson, the Ravens have perhaps the best dual-threat quarterback in the league: In his eight starts last year (including playoffs), he averaged 76.3 yards and 0.5 touchdowns rushing on 16 carries per game. While he had just six yards on three carries in Week 1, he embarrassed the Cardinals in Week 2 with 120 yards on 16 carries.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Lamar Jackson

With Ingram and Jackson spearheading the running attack, supported by Gus Edwards and Justice Hill in the backfield, the Ravens have the means and the will to run the ball as often as possible. Given that run-game aficionado Greg Roman is the offensive coordinator, that’s likely what they will do.

And the Chiefs defense has been historically poor against the run. Last season, the Chiefs were dead last with a 9.8% run-defense DVOA (per Football Outsiders), and they haven’t gotten significantly better this year.

The season is young, but the Chiefs are currently a bottom-five team with 1.65 second-level yards and 1.58 open-field yards allowed per carry: Whenever a runner has gotten past the frontline defenders, the Chiefs have struggled to contain him.

This game has the highest over/under on the slate, so people might expect lots of points, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Ravens looked to shorten the game with their running attack and and keep the Chiefs offense on the sideline.

As they did in Weeks 1-2, the Ravens could have upwards of 30 rushing attempts. Matthew Freedman

Expert Pick

Stuckey: Ravens +5.5

You might have guessed that the Ravens are running it as much as any team in the NFL like they did last year. That is still true, as Baltimore leads the league with 39.5 rushing attempts per game. But the passing game has been the most potent part of the offense.

Rookie wideout Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Andrews, two Oklahoma alums, have been two of the best offensive players in the league so far this season. And Jackson’s accuracy has improved dramatically in just one season. He’s a different quarterback than when these teams met last December in Arrowhead.

The Ravens have used a myriad of formations this season, but one of their most unique and effective sets they’ve been running is the heavy pistol, known as Desert Eagle. Baltimore will utilize 22 (and even sometimes 23, meaning two backs and three tight ends) personnel to punish defenses physically. They will also throw out of these formations.

Baltimore has also been utilizing a ton of motion and play action later in the game with great effectiveness. It’s an offense that’s very unique in today’s NFL and one that doesn’t have a lot of patterns as of right now. (Although that should change as teams get more tape on the Ravens and then it will be up to Roman to counter-adjust).

The Ravens should be able to use their power personnel and run right at a Chiefs defense that is still susceptible to the ground game. Kansas City is allowing 6.0 yards per carry (worst in the NFL).

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chiefs linebackers Anthony Hitchens (left center) and Damien Wilson (left) and cornerback Kendall Fuller (right).

It’s a small sample size, but the Chiefs did finish 31st in the NFL last year at 4.9 yards per carry given up. That should allow them to set up the play action to Brown/Andrews and designed or improvised runs for Jackson.

Mahomes will still get his as he always seems to do (the Chiefs have scored at least 25 points in an NFL record 24-straight games), especially against a Ravens secondary that is without Tavon Young and Smith.

There were some communication issues last week against Arizona (Kyler Murray connected on seven throws of 20-plus yards) that could rear their head against K.C. this week.

And keep in mind this Chiefs aren’t playing with a full deck on offense. Both of their backs are questionable, Tyreek Hill remains sidelined and left tackle Eric Fisher is now out. And secondary issues aside, this is still an excellent Ravens defense.

But this Ravens offense can keep up in a match up of two teams with solid special teams. And I trust the Ravens’ defense to make just a few more plays in the secondary than I do the Chiefs defense at this very moment.

I previously mentioned that game last season in Arrowhead. Kansas City pulled that out 27-24 in overtime. I expect a similar barnburner, so had to grab the 7 and like it anything 6 or above. We also could see wind and rain on Sunday, which would favor the Ravens, in my opinion.