The Ravens return home following a loss in Kansas City for their first divisional matchup of the season versus the Cleveland Browns. The winner will take control of first place in the AFC North at the quarter pole of the season. The Ravens won the last meeting in Week 17 of the 2018 season and hold a 10-1 series record at home since John Harbaugh became head coach. The Ravens are seven-point favorites with a total O/U of 45. The weather calls for partly cloudy with a high of 84 degrees in what should be a beautiful day for some football.
ATS (Against the spread)
Browns +7 (-110)
The Ravens opening as full touchdown favorites opened some eyes despite the Browns’ struggles. Coming off a loss, the Ravens will be motivated to get back on track and take care of business at home versus a division foe. With a win they would have a full two game lead on the division at the quarter mark of the season and firmly in the driver’s seat for the division crown.
The Browns are playing with their backs against the wall and figure to give the Ravens everything they’ve got to get their season back on track. After an off season full of hype surrounding second year quarterback Baker Mayfield, Cleveland’s offense is having trouble scoring points with an average of 16.3 over the first three contests. While all the hype was focused on Odell Beckham Jr. And Jarvis Landry, it has been Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews who have outperformed them, combining for 34 catches, 517 yards, and four touchdowns compared to Beckham and Landry’s 30 for 369 and a single score. The Browns lack of healthy bodies in the secondary remains a concern as they could be without both Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams on Sunday.
Baltimore looks to be the more complete team early in the season, but they do not come without their flaws. The secondary has been picked apart in back to back weeks and looks to be a good bounce back spot for Mayfield and his receivers to get on the same page. I expect Baltimore to pick up the win in this contest, but it will be closer than the projected touchdown difference and the Browns give the Ravens all they can handle.
Prediction: Ravens 30 Browns 27
Over 45 points (+100)
While the Browns offense has not been great thus far, averaging just 16.3 points per game through three weeks, the talent is there to break out. This will be a good spot to do it against a Ravens defense that has struggled to keep opponents off the board. The Ravens have one of the best offenses in football, averaging 36.7 points per game through three weeks. Both teams boast secondary’s that have been depleted by injury and will be short handed come Sunday, opening up the opportunity for big plays through the air. This will not be your classic ground and pound AFC North showdown as both teams have enough weapons to light up the scoreboard. They will go blow for blow all afternoon surpassing the projected point total for this match up.
Winning Margin: Ravens by 1-13 points (+140)
The Ravens have dominated the Browns at home under John Harbaugh with a record of 10-1, winning their last match up 26-24 in Week 17 of the 2018 season. Of those 10 wins, seven have come by 13 points or fewer and this is just about as evenly matched as we’ve seen these two teams. While the Ravens are full touchdown favorites on Sunday, don’t expect a blowout, as the Browns are playing with their backs against the wall facing a two-game deficit in the division.
The Ravens currently sit at -310 on the money line, showing that the public is heavily favoring Baltimore to win straight up. Picking the Ravens to win straight up is a good bet, but picking them to win a close game is the play with the best value.
Baker Mayfield total passing yards: Over 257.5 (-108)
Mayfield is off to a slow start to the 2019 season but has only fell under this total yardage once this year against a stiff Rams defense. Hampered by horrible offensive line play, Baker has not been able to get in rhythm as he has been forced into some uncomfortable throws. The Ravens defense has been lit up through the air the past two weeks and will once again be without Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young.
In 2018, Mayfield found much success, totaling 376 yards through the air against the number one ranked defense in the league. After an off season full of hype, Mayfield is facing his fair share of doubters as the quarterback on the other sideline has stolen the spotlight. Expect Baker to come out with a chip on his shoulder while looking to silence his detractors with a big performance against a division foe.
Lamar Jackson total rushing yards: Over 49.5 (-118)
After rushing for just six yards in Week 1, Jackson has turned it on - totaling 166 yards over the past two weeks. Although both Jackson and the Ravens have stated his runs come as a last resort, they are simply too dangerous not to utilize. His most impressive game on the ground came in the last meeting against the Browns where he was absolutely electric. Totaling 90 yards and two touchdowns, it could have been an even bigger game if not for a third long touchdown run negated by a holding call.
The most impressive part of this performance was that the Browns didn’t need to gameplan for a passing attack and knew exactly what was coming. With a depleted secondary and Jackson finding success through the air, the Browns won’t be able to make him one dimensional - which should open up plenty of chances on the ground.
Week 3 Recap
Ravens +5.5 (-120) — WIN
Under 52 points (-120) — LOSS
Total rushing yards: Mark Ingram over 57.5 (-112) — WIN
Total rushing attempts: Mark Ingram over 11.5 (-112) — WIN
Anytime touchdown scorer: Travis Kelce (-145) — LOSS
Season Record: 10-5 (67%)