Monday Night Football Betting Preview: A Massive Showdown in the AFC North
We have a doozie on our hands tonight for Monday Night Football, and this one will go a long way in deciding the playoff picture. With the divisional-rival Pittsburgh Steelers dropping their last two, a window has opened for both of these teams to possibly win the AFC North.
Let’s dive into what our model thinks could be some intriguing betting angles for this contest.
This One Looks Like a Toss-Up
The home Browns, who are looking for their first playoff berth since 2002, are looking to exorcise some demons in this series. The Ravens have claimed eight of the past 10 meetings against the Browns, and they have won 10 of their last 12 on the road. This season, when the two teams met for the first time, lo and behold, the home Ravens routed Cleveland 38-7.
But, that could go out the window in this one. The Ravens limp in with a 7-5 record, and Cleveland couldn’t be hotter, winning nine out of their last 11 contests and signal-caller Baker Mayfield playing some of the best football of his career. He is coming off a 334-passing yard, 4 touchdown effort in a victory over the Tennessee Titans. In terms of our in-house Net Expected Points (NEP) metric — Mayfield has been outstanding with a mark of 0.21 (league average: 0.14).
On the flip side, Lamar Jackson is still working his way back from COVID-19, and he’s been an average passer at best this season with a Passing NEP per pass mark of 0.1. Now, Jackson’s rushing prowess is where he shines — the Ravens as a team rushed for 294 yards total — but Jackson clipped off 94 yards and a score on the way to thrashing the Dallas Cowboys.
The Ravens opened as 3.0-point favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook and trending down to only 1.5 points. Per oddsFire, the betting public is siding with the white-hot Browns, believe it or not. 58% of bets and 51% of cash have come in on the home team, but interestingly, both have a ton at stake — the Ravens, at 7-5, cannot afford to many more slip-ups to be one of the seven playoff teams in the AFC, and the Browns must-win for any shot at the divisional title.
Bets to Consider
Our algorithm is even a bit perplexed here — it predicts a one-point victory for the road Ravens, but with this spread moving all over the place, it’s truly difficult to predict which side to take.
With some poor weather in the forecast, it’s interesting to note that the UNDER has hit in Baltimore’s last three road contests.
As far as props, Mayfield has been absolutely roasting opposing defenses, and his passing yards prop still feels a bit light. Our model has Baker passing for about 224.5 yards, and his passing yards prop at FanDuel Sportsbook is at only 213.5, with even -110 odds on both sides. Mayfield has topped that mark in each of the last two contests.
Another potential in-game parlay to consider is Lamar Jackson rushing yards. His current over/under is at 58.5 yards, and he’s rushed for 50 or more yards in each of the last six games.
Historical Betting Trends
— These teams are somewhat similar from an against-the-spread (ATS) perspective in 2020. Cleveland is 5-7 ATS, and the Ravens are 6-5-1.
— While the Browns have won a pile of games, they are only 2-5 ATS in their last 7.
— In this series, the Ravens have not only dominated from a win/loss perspective, but they are 7-3 ATS the Browns over their last 10 games.