Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens: 2022 Week 13 NFL Pick

Denver Broncos (3-8) at Baltimore Ravens (7-4)

This line is pretty high at Baltimore -9.5, but this is a matchup between one of the best and one of the worst teams in the league and the better team, the Baltimore Ravens, is at home, so this line isn’t nearly high enough in my opinion. The Ravens have four losses, but in all four losses they have blown two-score leads and they lead the NFL in time spent leading. In terms of point differential, the Ravens rank 7th at +48 and in schedule adjusted efficiency they rank 3rd, about 7.5 points above average. They’ve also won by double digits in four of their seven wins, relevant considering this line is 9.5.

The Broncos, meanwhile, rank dead last in schedule adjusted efficiency, 7 points below average and aren’t much better in my roster rankings, where they rank 16 points behind the Ravens. Their defense has been the strength of this team, with an offense and special teams that both rank dead last in schedule adjusted efficiency, but their defense isn’t quite as good now as it was earlier in the season, before losing Randy Gregory to injury and trading Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins. I don’t expect this game to be close at all, with my calculated line at Baltimore -17.5, so I have no problem laying the 9.5 points. In fact, this is my Pick of the Week this week.

Baltimore Ravens 27 Denver Broncos 10

Pick against the spread: Baltimore -9.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2022 Week 12 NFL Pick

Baltimore Ravens (7-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)

The Ravens have three losses, but all came by four points or fewer and all came after blowing 4th quarter leads, with the Ravens leading the league in percentage of time leading per game. In terms of point differential, the Ravens rank 7th at +49 and in schedule adjusted efficiency they rank 3rd, about seven points above average. Also healthier now than they were earlier in the year, I consider the Ravens among the best teams in the league and a true Super Bowl contender, which isn’t the consensus opinion of them, so I think they’re a little underrated, even at 7-3.

The Jaguars have been competitive in most of their games this season, but all of their losses have come by more than four points, which would have covered this spread. They have a positive point differential at +11 and a positive schedule adjusted efficiency, about a point above average (13th in the NFL), but they are five points below average in my roster rankings, suggesting they’ve overachieved their talent level and could easily regress going forward. The Ravens should be able to win this game with relative ease and my calculated line has them favored by a full touchdown, so they’re worth a bet here at 3.5.

Update: This line has dropped to 3, so I am increasing the confidence of this bet.

Baltimore Ravens 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 20

Pick against the spread: Baltimore -3

Confidence: Medium

Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens: 2022 Week 11 NFL Pick

Carolina Panthers (3-7) at Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

This line is pretty high, favoring the Ravens by 12.5, but I don’t think it’s high enough, as this is a matchup of among the best and among the worst teams in the league, with the better team, the Baltimore Ravens at home. The Ravens have three losses, but all came by four points or fewer and all came after blowing 4th quarter leads, with the Ravens leading the league in percentage of time leading per game. In terms of point differential, the Ravens rank 6th at +39 and in schedule adjusted efficiency they rank 3rd, about 7.5 points above average.

The Ravens have done that despite having several key players miss time with injury and now, coming out of their bye week, they are as healthy as they have been in weeks. Stud tight end Mark Andrews, top running back Gus Edwards, stud left tackle Ronnie Stanley, stud defensive lineman Calais Campbell, starting edge defenders Justin Houston and Tyus Bowser, and starting cornerback Marcus Peters have all missed time with injury thus far this season but have since returned and will play this week, for a Ravens team that ranks almost ten points above average in my roster rankings. They’re also in a good spot coming out of the bye, with Jim Harbaugh being 21-11 ATS with extra time to prepare in his career as Ravens’ head coach.

The Panthers, meanwhile, have played slightly better in recent weeks after a 1-5 start, but they are still just 3-7 and they go back to quarterback Baker Mayfield this week, losing PJ Walker due to injury, a key absence considering he has been their quarterback for their recent slight offensive improvement. Even with slightly better offensive play in recent weeks, the Panthers still rank 31st in schedule adjusted offensive efficiency across the season, about five points below average, leading three of the Panthers’ seven losses coming by 14 points or more and four of seven coming by at least 10 points. 

Carolina’s defense is what has kept them somewhat competitive in some games, ranking 14th in schedule adjusted defensive efficiency, but they’re not healthy right now, with starting interior defender Matt Ioanndis and starting cornerback Donte Jackson both out this week. They could get starting safety Jeremy Chinn back this week, but, if not, they’ll not only be without him, but they’ll likely be without the two players they have used most in his absence, Myles Hartsfield and Juston Burris, leaving them very thin at safety. 

Even if Chinn does play, he might not be 100% and the Panthers will still be at least four points below average in my roster rankings, fourteen points below the Ravens, giving us some line value with the Ravens as 12.5-point home favorites. This line is too big for the Ravens to be worth a big bet this week, but they are bettable at that number, even with Chinn’s possible return. I want to lock this in now because the line could increase to 13 or higher if Chinn is ruled out before gametime. This is likely to be a blowout victory for the Ravens either way.

Baltimore Ravens 27 Carolina Panthers 10

Pick against the spread: Baltimore -12.5

Confidence: Medium

Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints: 2022 Week 9 NFL Pick

Baltimore Ravens (5-3) at New Orleans Saints (3-5)

The Ravens are 5-3 and they could easily be even better than that, blowing big leads in all three of their losses and ranking 2nd in time leading, only behind the undefeated Eagles. In terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, the Ravens rank 3rd, about 7 points above average, and my roster rankings have them around the same, about 7.5 points above average. Despite that, they are only favored by 2.5 points on the road in New Orleans.

The Saints are better than their 3-5 record, having a -1 point differential despite a -9 turnover margin and ranking 14th in schedule adjusted efficiency, about a half point above average, but we’re still getting great line value with the Ravens in a game in which they basically just have to win to cover, with less than 10% of games being decided by two points or fewer. My calculated line has them favored by 4.5, which is a significant difference, given that 1 in 5 games are decided by 3-4 points. That assumes Ravens stud tight end Mark Andrews is going to play, which is not a guarantee right now, but we should know that before gametime. I’m leaving this as a low confidence pick for now, but I will increase this to medium confidence if and when we know Andrews is playing.

Baltimore Ravens 24 New Orleans Saints 20

Pick against the spread: Baltimore -2.5

Confidence: Low

Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2022 Week 8 NFL Pick

Baltimore Ravens (4-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)

The Buccaneers have lost back-to-back games as big road favorites against last place teams to fall to 3-4 on the season, but they still rank 8th in schedule adjusted efficiency, about 2.5 points above average and, even with some key players missing due to injury, they rank even higher than that in my roster rankings, about 3.5 points above average. On top of that, they return home this week on a short week, which puts them at a significant advantage, with non-divisional home favorites covering the spread at a 63.8% rate on Thursday Night Football.

The Buccaneers are only favored by a point, but they arguably deserve to be favored by more, as it’s hard for a team to go on the road on a short week and play an unfamiliar opponent who is comparable to or better than them. This is also a spot where Tom Brady quarterbacked teams tend to be close to an automatic bet, going 59-30 ATS as underdogs or favorites of less than three in his career. That’s especially true after a loss, with Tom Brady led teams going 36-12 ATS after a loss as long as they are not favored by more than a touchdown. Brady also hasn’t lost three in a row since 2002, going 9-3 ATS after back-to-back losses. Most of this was from his New England days, but the Buccaneers will definitely be the hungrier and more desperate team, which should give them an advantage.

The Buccaneers are missing some key players, including top safety Antoine Winfield and starting cornerback Carlton Davis, but the Ravens have some key injury absences as well, most notably top safety Marcus Williams and top interior defender Calais Campbell, as well as potentially their top pass catcher Mark Andrews, who is very questionable after not practicing all week. The Ravens are still the better team, ranking 3rd in schedule adjusted efficiency, 6.5 points above average, as well as 7 points above average in my roster rankings, even with their current injuries, but the Buccaneers are at a significant advantage as a desperate team at home in a non-divisional game on a short week, so, in a game in which they basically just have to win to cover, I think they are worth betting. This is a small bet for now, but it would become a bigger play if Andrews didn’t play, unless the line moved significantly to compensate.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 Baltimore Ravens 20

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -1

Confidence: Medium

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens: 2022 Week 7 NFL Pick

Cleveland Browns (2-4) at Baltimore Ravens (3-3)

Earlier in the week, the Browns at +6.5 seemed like an intriguing bet in this game, as the Ravens are in a tough spot with a game against the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football on deck, with favorites covering at just a 42.6% rate all-time before Thursday Night Football. However, since earlier this week, the injury news has been in Baltimore’s favor, with the Browns ruling out one of their most important players, stud right guard Wyatt Teller, and the Ravens possibly getting back wide receiver Rashod Bateman and edge defender Justin Houston, a pair of key re-additions. 

It might be unlikely that Bateman and Houston both play, but it’s unlikely at least one of them returns and, with Teller out, if one of those two players plays, my calculated line has the Ravens favored by a touchdown, so we’re not getting any line value with the Browns anymore. I’ll still take the Browns for pick ‘em purposes because the Ravens are getting an insignificant amount of line value and are in a bad spot, but if Bateman and Houston both play, I might flip my pick to Baltimore. That’s how close this one is in my opinion. Either way, this would be a no confidence pick.

Update: Bateman and Houston are both playing, so I am switching to the Ravens, who are healthier than they’ve been for most of the season and are facing a Browns team missing one of their best players in Wyatt Teller.

Baltimore Ravens 31 Cleveland Browns 24

Pick against the spread: Baltimore -6.5

Confidence: None

Baltimore Ravens at New York Giants: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at New York Giants (4-1)

The Giants are a surprising 4-1, but they haven’t played as well as that suggests, as they have had one of the easiest schedules in the league and haven’t won any games by more than one score. They got their best win of the season last week against the Packers in London, but, even with that taken into account, the Giants rank just 21st in schedule adjusted efficiency, about 1.5 points below average. That lines up with my roster rankings, which have the Giants 2.5 points below average.

Unfortunately, the public and odds makers seem to still understand that the Giants aren’t as good as their record, with this line favoring the Ravens on the road by 5.5 points. The Ravens are 3-2, but both of their losses came on last second scores and their point differential is tied for 6th best in the NFL. They’re also 5.5 points above average in schedule adjusted efficiency and 6.5 points above average in my roster rankings. There isn’t enough here for me to take them as 5.5 point road favorites with any confidence against a competitive Giants team, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes.

Baltimore Ravens 26 New York Giants 20

Pick against the spread: Baltimore -5.5

Confidence: None

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (2-2)

This is one of the tougher calls of the week. I have the Ravens a couple points better than the Bengals in my roster rankings and they are at home, but being favored by 3.5 points is actually a lot, considering 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less, including 1 in 6 games by exactly a field goal. Because of that, 3.5-point underdogs actually hit more often than any other number, covering the spread at a 53.0% rate all-time, which is actually profitable by itself. The Ravens should be significant favorites in this game, but I’m not sure if they can quite justify being favored by 3.5.

Making matters more complicated, the Ravens have some key players who are questionable. I expect left tackle Ronnie Stanley to play and cornerback Marcus Peters to sit, which is what my roster rankings assume, but neither of those are guaranteed and something unexpected happening with either of those players would have a significant impact on this game. I am taking the Bengals for a no confidence pick for now, mostly just because of how often 3.5-point underdogs cover, but if both Peters and Stanley play, I would probably change my pick to Baltimore and, if both Peters and Stanley are out, I may raise the confidence on Cincinnati.

Baltimore Ravens 34 Cincinnati Bengals 31

Pick against the spread: Cincinnati +3.5

Confidence: None

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens: 2022 Week 4 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

The Bills lost last week in a close 2-point game in Miami, which has been a common theme for them in the past couple years. Since the start of last season, 7 of the 8 Bills’ losses, including playoffs, have come by one score or less, while all of their 14 wins over that span have all come by 12 points or more. The Bills finished the 2021 season ranked 1st in schedule adjusted efficiency and still lead the league in 2022, even after last week’s close loss. I would still consider them the Super Bowl favorites.

The Bills were also far from healthy in last week’s loss. While top cornerback Tre’Davious White and stud safety Micah Hyde remain out, the Bills could get back center Mitch Morse, safety Jordan Poyer, interior defender Ed Oliver, and cornerback Dane Jackson this week. If the Bills had even half of those players last week, they likely would have prevailed in Miami and, with at least some of those players expected to return this week, the Bills should be expected to prevail in Baltimore as well.

Unfortunately, the public still really likes the Bills, even after last week’s loss, so we’re not getting much line value with them as 3-point road favorites against a good Ravens team. I’m still taking the Bills for pick ‘em purposes, but this is a no confidence pick and I ultimately may end up flipping my pick to the Ravens depending on the final injury reports as, in addition to the aforementioned questionable players for the Bills, the Ravens could be set to get a key player back from injury in Ronnie Stanley. Either way this is likely to be a no confidence pick though.

Buffalo Bills 31 Baltimore Ravens 27

Pick against the spread: Buffalo -3

Confidence: None

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots: 2022 Week 3 NFL Pick

Baltimore Ravens (1-1) at New England Patriots (1-1)

The Patriots have been my Pick of the Week in each of the first two weeks of the season because I thought they were an underrated team coming into the season and that we were getting good value with them in each of the first two weeks. They lost in Miami week 1 by a score of 20-7 as 3.5-point underdogs, but likely would have covered if not for a -3 turnover margin, which is not predictive week-to-week. In terms of yards per play and first down rate differential, the Patriots were about even with Miami at +0.85% and -0.18.

Last week, the Patriots won and covered as 2-point favorites in Pittsburgh and, while they weren’t as impressive in Pittsburgh as I was expecting, their loss to the Dolphins looked better when Miami came from behind and scored six touchdowns in a win in Baltimore, a week after the Patriots’ defense held the Dolphins’ offense to one touchdown, which they also did to an admittedly underwhelming Pittsburgh offense. The Patriots’ offense has been underwhelming, ranking 23rd in offensive efficiency, but their defense ranks 7th in efficiency and their offense has the talent to be better going forward, especially since they figure to play easier defenses going forward, with both the Steelers and Dolphins possessing solid defensive units.

The Ravens figure to be significantly easier to move the ball against. A year after finishing 28th in defensive efficiency, a Ravens turnaround on defense in 2022 seemed very possible, given that they were likely to be healthier, but thus far they have continued to deal with injury issues and have continued to struggle defensively, ranking 27th in defensive efficiency, in large part due to their performance in that aforementioned loss to the Dolphins last week. Despite that, the Ravens are field goal favorites in New England, once again giving us good line value with the Patriots, who I have calculated as 2.5-point home favorites. On top of that, the Ravens are in a tough spot this week, with a tougher game against the Bills on deck that could provide a distraction. Once again, the Patriots are going to be my top pick this week. The money line is worth betting as well.

New England Patriots 23 Baltimore Ravens 20 Upset Pick +140

Pick against the spread: New England +3

Confidence: Pick of the Week