MNF Pick: Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Rams
Baltimore Ravens (8-2 SU, 5-5 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Rams(6-4 SU, 7-3 ATS)
Date/Time: Monday, November 25, 8:15 PM EST
Where: Los Angeles Coliseum
Point Spread: Bal -3 / LAR +3 (Best Bonus - Double your deposit with a 100% bonus!)
Over/Under Total: 46.5
The Lamar Jackson magic show comes to Los Angeles to close out the NFL’s Week 12 slate. Jackson has led the Ravens to 6 consecutive straight up wins, and Ravens bettors have cashed tickets in the last 4 of those wins. The play here is to jump on the Raven bandwagon and lay the points on the road with Baltimore. Here is the handicap.
Jackson Will Keep Rolling
Lamar Jackson has lived up to the highest of expectations through 11 weeks in the 2019 campaign. He has filled up highlight reels while putting up wins against the Patriots, Seahawks, and Texans in the past month. The Ravens lead the league averaging 34 points per game, 4 points per game more than any other team, and also lead the league in rushing yards with over 200 more yards than any other team. The Texans came into week 11 with the league’s 3rd best rush defense, and Baltimore rolled over them for 263 yards. Jackson has proven over the past six games he can throw the ball when he has to. He has completed 67% of his passes on the year, with 19 touchdowns against only five picks. Half of his completions have been to his trio of tight ends. The Rams will have no answer for these tight ends this week. Mark Andrews is the go-to guy for Jackson, leading the team with 48 catches and six touchdown receptions. The stats don’t tell the story of the Raven attack. They are the only team that regularly lines up with three tight ends on the field and relies on a power running game. The Rams will have one week to prepare for this attack and will not be ready – same as others that have fallen over the past month.
LA’s defense has been solid most of the year, allowing right at 20 points per game, but are top 10 in yards per play against. Aaron Donald is, of course, the centerpiece of the defense and is again playing at an All-Pro level. Wade Phillips will come up with a game plan to counter the Ravens unique style that might work on some plays, but the Rams can’t hold up against the power Baltimore will bring. LA has allowed less than 20 points per game over the past five games, but I expect the Ravens streak of scoring over 30 points in each of their last four games will win out and continue. The Ravens are bringing four quarters of power that no team is ready for, and that will include the Rams on Monday night.
Baltimore’s Defense Will Dominate
LA’s offense has not been clicking in the past few weeks. They have struggled against defenses with strong lines in the past month, averaging only 250 yards and 12 points against the Bears, Steelers, and 49ers. Todd Gurley has become just another guy in the backfield for LA though he did show some signs of life against Chicago Sunday night. The Ram offensive line can’t give Goff time to throw, and Goff can’t make plays when he doesn’t have a clean pocket. Brandin Cooks has been missing time in the concussion protocol, so LA can’t threaten deep passes, allowing defenses to focus on Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Cooks may return this week and would be a significant asset for LA, though Woods missed the game last week, and his status is unknown for Monday. The Rams have looked good against bad defenses, but Baltimore brings in one of the hottest units in the league.
Baltimore’s opponents have been scoring just 14 points per game over their last five games, including those games against the Pats, Texans, and Seahawks. The Ravens acquired cornerback Marcus Peters at the same time that their own Jimmy Smith returned from injury, and since then, they have been among the league’s best secondaries. With the offense scoring at will, opponents have to pass to keep up, and this secondary is having nothing to do with it. The Ravens held the high-powered Texan passing game to 169 yards, and no team has eclipsed 300 passing yards since September. The rushing defense and pass rush are middle of the pack, but will be able to win the battle in the trenches against the weak and injured Ram offensive line. Look for the Ram offense to have a hard time sustaining drives and putting points on the board against this Raven defense, and look for the Ravens to get enough pressure on Goff to generate some turnovers.
The Money Downs Will be the Difference
There is a scenario in this game that Baltimore comes out and throttles LA as they have done to their last four opponents. If LA stays close, third down and red zone efficiency will tip a one-score game to the visitors. Baltimore has converted just under 50% of its third downs this year, while LA is under 36%. This is the difference in keeping drives going and sending the defense out on the field. LA converted only 30% of third-down opportunities against the Bears last week, which kept the LA defense on the field for over 32 minutes. There is also a difference when these teams are in the red zone, both on offense and defense. The Ravens score touchdowns on 65% of the time they get into the red zone while the Rams score on just 60%. Defensively, LA is allowing touchdowns on 58% of their opponent red zone chance compared to Baltimore, allowing touchdowns on only 48%. Look for Jackson to be better than Goff in those situations and Baltimore to be the better team when the game is on the line. LA’s defense will only get worse the more they are on the field.
Play the Ravens -3
Home dogs are generally a good play in the NFL, but this week we can jump on the Raven bandwagon and ride with Lamar Jackson. Baltimore should win this game and easily cover the 3 point line.
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