The Ravens host the Arizona Cardinals in their home opener, highlighting a matchup of young, electric quarterbacks and the return of Baltimore icon Terrell Suggs. As 12.5 point favorites, the Ravens come into this game with confidence sky high and will look to build off the momentum of their week 1 beating of the Miami Dolphins. Arizona comes into this matchup with an 0-0-1 record after rookie Kyler Murray led an impressive comeback against the Detroit Lions, resulting in a tie. This will be the seventh meeting between the two teams with the Ravens holding a 4-2 series edge.
ATS (Against the spread)
· Ravens -12.5 (-110)
When the week 2 lines were released, many were shocked to see the Ravens as double-digit favorites and chalked it up as a classic overreaction as they beat up on what could be the worst team in the NFL. Arizona is no juggernaut but had an impressive second half performance in the first game of the Murray/Kingsbury era and will be looking to build off that momentum with a strong performance on the road. Still, Baltimore looks to be superior on both sides of the ball after putting an air raid offense on film with the 2018 rushing attack still in their back pocket. Although Murray looked good at times in his debut, the Ravens defense is on a higher level than the Lions and won’t have the type of lapses that kept Arizona in the game. Lamar Jackson was stellar last Sunday and gets to follow it up against a very thin Cardinals defense who ranked dead last against the run in 2018 and will be without cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford. Expect Jackson to continue to distribute the ball around consistently with the occasional home run shots we saw frequently in week 1. It will be on the ground where the Ravens really do their damage and will gash a porous Cardinals run defense on their way to a comfortable victory in the home opener.
Prediction: Ravens 34-Cardinals 17
· Team to score first: Ravens -190
The Ravens struck first in week 1, marching right down the field with authority resulting in a touchdown run by Mark Ingram. There is more buzz surrounding this Ravens team than in recent history and they will look to come out of the gate swinging with the crowd at their back in what should be an electric environment. The Ravens are 15-2 all time against rookie quarterbacks so don’t expect Murray to start off hot out of the gate. With a versatile Ravens defense, it will take some time for the rookie signal caller to find a rhythm and will be hard pressed to march down the field early in this one. Fast starts are something we are not used to in Baltimore, but with a new era upon us the Ravens will keep the up-tempo formula we saw in week 1 and will strike first in front of the home crowd.
· Money Line/Total Points Parlay- Ravens to win & over 46.5 points (+110)
With a double digit spread for this week match up, picking the Ravens to win outright in front of the home crowd is a smart move. While the Ravens may not score 59 points as was the case in week 1, the O/U this week supports fireworks from both teams. I expect the Cardinals to find the end zone at least twice, carrying over some momentum from their come from behind performance last week. This Ravens offense looks built to score points in bunches and with a Cardinals defense that has holes all over the field, look for them to exploit the match ups in rout to another high scoring affair.
· Gus Edwards rushing yards- Over 37.5 (-112)
Mark Ingram is the unquestioned leader of this backfield, but Edwards clearly still has a big role out of the backfield finishing week 1 with the most snaps at the position. Some of that can be chalked up to game script although Edwards was involved early and not just in garbage time. The Ravens won’t overwork Ingram early in the season and will make sure to rotate rushes to keep the backfield fresh as the season wears on. The run game will be the primary focus in this matchup with plenty of carries to go around and Edwards should finish comfortably above his projected 38 rushing yards.
· Lamar Jackson rushing yards- Over 41.5 (-112)
Sticking with the rushing theme, Jackson finished week 1 with only three carries for six yards to the surprise of most. After breaking records with his legs last year, the Ravens made it a primary focus to get the passing game going as teams now have to account for both aspects of the offense. That doesn’t mean the threat of him taking off has vanished and it will be interesting to see how the defense approaches him now knowing he can beat them with his arm. This should allow some opportunities on the ground to open up for him which he will take full advantage of throughout the afternoon. Jackson can surpass this total on one snap, let alone a full game and will look to put on a show in front of the home crowd.
Week 1 Recap
Ravens -7 (-105) – WIN
Money Line/Total Points Parlay- Ravens to win & over 37.5 points (+115)- WIN
Total TD’s by Home Team (Dolphins)- Under 1.5 (-113)- WIN
Mark Ingram Rushing yards- Over 62.5 (-112)- WIN
Mark Andrews receiving yards- Over 34.5 (-108) WIN