NFL Prediction and Pick for Ravens vs. Raiders – Monday, September 13, 2021
The offseason is never a quiet one, and the Baltimore Ravens endured one of the craziest and oddest injury bugs we have ever seen.
After losing J.K. Dobbins (knee) for the season, we saw Justice Hill (Achilles), Marcus Peters (knee), and Gus Edwards (knee) all go down days before their season opener with the Raiders.
The season will be a pressured one for Lamar Jackson, but losing the entire backfield was not the plan heading into the year. John Harbaugh has the most career road wins in the postseason at eight, but Baltimore would rather have the home-field advantage.
Las Vegas under Jon Gruden has been a disaster in his second tenure. The Raiders have appeared in the postseason only once since 2003.
A season-opening victory would go a long way to helping the franchise get back to their winning ways.
Let’s break this matchup in Vegas down even further. Here are your latest odds and analysis for this Monday Night Football clash.
Ravens vs. Raiders Odds
The Raiders are slim home underdogs (three points or fewer). Since 2018 they are 5-5 against the spread. They are 4-6 straight up, so the upset is a possibility here.
Baltimore is 6-4 straight up with a record of 4-5-1 against the spread as slight road underdogs.
In games that the line is between three and four points, the Ravens are 8-2 straight up while 5-2-3 against the spread. Buying points could be worth a look. Plus, we know the Ravens play in several close games every season.
Baltimore’s Justin Tucker has been a Hall of Fame type kicker over the years. The Raiders will need to make sure the game doesn’t come down to a kick and pray lady luck is on their side.
Let’s further discuss this matchup between the Ravens and Raiders. Here is how each team can win this AFC showdown.
Why the Ravens Win
Baltimore is missing several pieces in the backfield, with Gus Edwards being the latest to be lost for the season.
It’s not ideal, but they have brought some players off the streets and from the practice squad. They have brought in Devonta Freeman who had a few monster seasons with the Atlanta Falcons several seasons ago.
They then brought in Latavius Murray, who was let go by the Saints in the past week. Murray was a decent backup behind Alvin Kamara, and he could push for starting time right away.
Le’Veon Bell will have a chance to play and potentially be the starter this season. The Baltimore offense is all about their rushing attack, and Lamar Jackson might have to turn into Superman.
Baltimore added so many pieces this past year, and they all seemingly have an injury history. Sammy Watkins has not been able to stay on the field, and the other target is on the short-term IR (Rashod Bateman).
Mark Andrew will be the only reliable and consistent threat in the passing game, barring Marquise Brown or Watkins, can step up.
Luckily, the Raiders defense has been horrid for a few seasons now. They looked awful in the preseason, and Lamar could run wild with any healthy practice squad player in the backfield.
Why the Raiders Win
Derek Carr threading the needle to Darren Waller has been a treat to watch. He honestly might be one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league.
In fact, Keyshawn Johnson just welcomed plenty of heat after suggesting Carr is elite.
Waller is setting franchise marks every season, and he is the one player that the Ravens must know where he is at all times.
Waller is a freak when he lines up all over the field. A linebacker does not have the speed to cover Waller. Most corners aren’t strong enough to tackle him in open space, so a slow safety is often stuck on him.
Players like Jalen Ramsey don’t grow on trees, but losing a player in the secondary like Marcus Peters (knee) is another devastating loss for the Baltimore roster.
If Carr can have time to set his feet and dissect the Ravens’ defense, they will hang in there and potentially upset the Ravens on Monday night.
Ravens vs. Raiders Prediction
The Raiders have not been able to run the ball with any consistency. They would love to have seen their full complement of players this season, but they have been dropping like flies.
The strong defense should be able to pin their ears back and get after Carr in the pocket. The secondary will need to make some plays in pass coverage, but they have an edge on defense, special teams, and coaching.
This one could come down to the wire and should be one of the closer contests all week. I see it coming down to the leg of Tucker, which will go the way of Baltimore. A great game to end the Week 1 slate would give us the start to the exciting season we all want.
Ravens vs. Raiders Week 1 Pick
There is value with the Raiders getting points at home. So many questions remain in the backfield for Baltimore that it is iffy to hammer them on the spread.
The Raiders could be among the worst teams at the end of the season, but Baltimore could sweat most of their games out. I would take the money line on the Ravens to win this one outright, but there is better value on the Raiders covering the point spread.
One could flip a coin and take multiple wagers. The best value is taking points at home. The momentum is heavily leaning towards Las Vegas to have a good showing in their season opener.
Las Vegas (+4)-110