- Injury-ravaged Baltimore Ravens open on the road vs Raiders on Monday Night
- Baltimore led the league in rushing last season, racking up over 3,000 yards
- Check below for all the odds and trends for this MNF Week 1 clash
We’re going to finally see the full Vegas experience, though the Baltimore Ravens will hardly be bringing their full roster when they visit the Raiders for the 2021 debut of Monday Night Football.
Despite having to piece together a running back group after a rash of injuries, the Ravens are still 4-point road favorites against the Raiders.Advertising Disclosure
Kickoff is at 8:15pm ET from Allegiant Stadium, where it’s expected to be a clear and warm 100 degrees in the desert, with a light 4mph breeze.
Ravens vs Raiders Odds
|Baltimore Ravens||-4 (-110)||-210||O 50 (-110)|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+4 (-110)||+175||U 50 (-110)|
*Odds taken on September 12 from FanDuel
The line has been shaved a full point from it’s opening 5-point spread to the current four-point line. 61% of the bets placed against the spread are on the Raiders at +4, and 86% are picking Vegas on the moneyline. 79% of the public bets are picking the over.
Can the Ravens Run?
There’s nothing quite like Baltimore’s run game in the NFL. They led the league in rushing a year ago, and it wasn’t close. They finished with 3,071 total yards, a healthy 5.5 yards per tote. No other team cracked 2,700 yards.
But apart from wunderkid Lamar Jackson at QB, the backfield is in shambles. Their entire depth chart is already out for the year. Starter JK Dobbins and backup Gus Edwards are both out with ACL knee injuries.
Run this like I'm LAMAR JACKSON❗️
TOUCHDOWN @Lj_era8❗️ | ProBowl Vote
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 9, 2020
Justice Hill is out with an Achilles’ tear. Ty’son Williams appears to be the Week 1 starter, only he’s never had a carry in a regular season NFL game.
There are vets that should slot in behind Williams, including Latavius Murray, freshly cut from the Saints, Le’Veon Bell and DeVonta Freeman. We’re about to find out if it’s the Ravens’ system or the players that make this run game click.
— Kev 🌴 (@Kev_Gordy) September 10, 2021
Theoretically, they’d be able to defer to the pass game, though Jackson’s development in that area is a work in progress. Baltimore was last in passing offense a year ago, the only team to pass for less than 3,000 yards. They also had a league-low 257 receptions.
Having rookie WR Rashod Batemen (groin) out of action will hurt, but Jackson still has TE Mark Andrews and offseason pickup Samy Watkins as targets.
Raiders D Needs Improvement
The Raiders’ offense isn’t exactly a home-run hitter, but they were a top-10 unit in the NFL last year. They ranked seventh in rushing, and doubled down on that aspect of the game by adding Kenyan Drake, hoping to keep feasting when Josh Jacobs takes a breather.
NOW THERE IS THE JOSH JACOBS TD 😤 pic.twitter.com/TvIEkRgJcP
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 8, 2020
Tight end Darren Waller is their star pass catcher, coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and offers a big, reliable target for Derek Carr, who set career highs in both passing yards (4,103) and passer rating (101.4).
The real concern will be how the new Raiders’ O-line stands up after a bizarre offseason that saw them move on from Gabe Jackson, Rodney Hudson and Trent Brown. With Richie Incognito out for this one, that’s a lot of overhaul against a defense that raked top-8 in both the pass and run.
How does Yannick Ngakoue and @Raiders defense plan to stop Lamar Jackson?
“Focus on ourselves”
“Play assignment defense”
— Levi Edwards (@theleviedwards) September 9, 2021
LVR is also hoping Gus Bradley can straighten out a defense that’s surrendered at least 30 points in nearly half their games the past three seasons (23 of 48 games). They’ve added some new faces to complete the changeover, most notably ex-Jags end Yannick Ngakoue.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) September 11, 2021
Baltimore’s injuries give the Raiders some relief, but if they can’t improve on their rankings against the run (26th) or pass (24th) from last season, it won’t matter.
What’s the Best Bet?
Baltimore is a fast starter — they haven’t just won five straight Week 1 games, they’ve dismantled their opposition en route to a W. The Ravens have outscored their opponents 177-26 over that time frame.
They also went 11-7 against the spread a year ago, which was the third-highest cover percentage in the NFL.
#Raiders coach Jon Gruden, on #Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: "He's like that 'Dodgeball' movie; he can dip and duck and, I don't remember the other 'D's,' but he can go crazy back there. This guy is worth the price of admission. It will be fun to watch our guys chase him…(more)
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) September 11, 2021
Vegas was just 2-6 at home, but it’s hard to judge them in their new digs when COVID made so many look empty and feel cavernous. The Raiders were 3-3 ATS as home underdogs.
I think we’re going to see Baltimore as usual, with Jackson doing a bit of everything to pick apart the revamped Raiders’ defense.
The Pick: Ravens -4 (1 unit to win 0.91 units)