Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM
TNF - Jets at Ravens
The Jets (5-8 SU, 5-8 ATS) rebounded from an embarrassing loss to the previous winless Bengals to sneak past the rival Dolphins, 22-21. New York won for the fourth time in the last five games, but time will likely run out on a long-shot playoff berth following a 1-7 start. In spite of allowing 21 points, the Jets held the Dolphins out of the end zone as Miami settled for seven field goals.
New York used the newly-instituted pass interference challenge to its advantage after an incomplete pass by Sam Darnold on third down and 18 at the Dolphins’ 46 yard-line. After review, Miami cornerback Nik Needham interfered with Jets’ receiver Vyncint Smith to give New York a fresh set of downs. Darnold completed a 12-yard pass after the penalty to get the Jets in field goal range as Sam Ficken booted the game-winning kick from 44 yards out. The Dolphins managed the cover as five-point underdogs, making Darnold 0-4 ATS in four career starts against Miami.
The Ravens (11-2 SU, 7-6 ATS) continue to be a runaway train as they are currently on a path for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. Baltimore picked up its ninth consecutive victory last Sunday in a 24-17 triumph at Buffalo as 6 ½-point favorites. The Ravens limited an opponent to 17 points or fewer for the seventh time during this nine-game hot streak, while allowing only one touchdown to the Bills, which came midway through the fourth quarter.
MVP candidate Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes, but was held to less than 170 yards passing for the third consecutive game. In the last six contests, Jackson has tossed 17 touchdowns to go along with no interceptions, while the Ravens’ quarterback enters Week 15 as one of nine players in the NFL that has rushed for over 1,000 yards.
The Ravens are headed to the playoffs for the eighth time in 12 seasons since John Harbaugh took over as head coach. Prior to this season, Baltimore never won more than four straight regular season games under Harbaugh, as this nine-game winning streak is the longest since capturing five victories in a row under Brian Billick in 2006. The 2000 Super Bowl championship team finished that season on an 11-game hot streak (including three wins in the playoffs), while covering 10 times in that stretch.
TO BARK OR NOT TO BARK
The Jets have not been a reliable team to back in the role of a favorite this season by failing to cash in four opportunities when laying points. Obviously, they are not favored on Thursday against the Ravens, but New York has brought home the cash in its last three chances when listed as an underdog.
The caveat there is the Jets did this against the likes of the Redskins, Raiders, and Bengals. In the other six instances as a ‘dog, Adam Gase’s team has compiled a 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS mark with the lone upset win coming against the Cowboys in Week 6.
THURSDAY NIGHT FINALE
This marks the final Thursday night contest of 2019 as underdogs have posted a solid 10-4 ATS mark. Last week, the Bears became the sixth ‘dog to win outright on a Thursday night in their home victory over the Cowboys, but the largest ‘dog to pick up a victory in this scenario is Tampa Bay (+6 ½) in Week 2 at Carolina.
Double-digit favorites have put together a 3-0 SU and 1-2 ATS mark on Thursdays, as the Patriots (-17) were the only heavy chalk to cash back in Week 6 over the Giants, 35-14.
The Ravens have won three of the last four Thursday contests, but lost in their previous Thursday affair at Cincinnati last season. The Jets dropped a 21-17 decision at Cleveland in its last Thursday matchup in 2018, snapping a modest two-game winning streak on Thursdays dating back to 2016.
These AFC squads haven’t met since 2016 when the Jets held off the Ravens at Met Life Stadium, 24-16 as 2 ½-point favorites. Baltimore squandered an early 10-0 lead as Jets’ running back Matt Forte scored a pair of touchdowns and racked up 154 all-purpose yards. The Ravens have won the last three matchups at M&T Bank Stadium dating back to 2007 with the most recent victory coming in 2013 by a 19-3 count.
Oddsmakers sent out an opening total of 44 ½ and the number is holding steady at most betting shops but a few have pushed their number to 45.
Neither team has shown a strong total lean this season with Baltimore owning a 7-6 ‘over’ mark and New York holding a 7-6 record to the ‘under’ through 13 games.
Total bettors looking for a Thursday Night Football angle could be scratching their head as well, with the ‘under’ going 8-6 this season and the averaged combined score was 41 PPG.
Chris David of VegasInsider.com dug into those numbers further and provided his thoughts on the opener for Week 14.
He said, “The Jets have played two primetime games this season and the ‘under’ has produced a 2-0 record and New York was the guilty party in both efforts, scoring a combined three points. Expecting New York to put forth a great offensive effort on a short week versus a quality team on the road is a stretch in my opinion. The Jets have only played three winning teams all season, all coming in the division and the offense mustered up 16 points in Week 1 against the Bills before the unit was blanked twice by the Patriots.”
To David’s point, the Jets scored 34 points at Washington in Week 11 but they only managed 11.8 PPG in five other road contests and that number drops to 9 PPG if you take out the 14 points the defense scored in their 30-14 loss at New England in Week 3. Despite the inept offense, the Jets own a 4-2 ‘over’ mark on the road and that’s attributed to New York’s poor defensive numbers (25.8 PPG).
Will Baltimore’s top-ranked scoring offense (33.1 PPG) light up New York? David isn’t sold on a power surge from this host this Thursday.
“Baltimore has had a great season but if you want to nitpick its hot run, the team has been stronger on the road and it has gone through the motions at home against inferior teams. In two spots listed as double-digit home favorites, the Ravens only scored 23 in each contest against the Cardinals and Bengals. I believe Baltimore will get four to five scores in this game but knowing the Jets own the second-best rushing defense has me thinking field goals instead of touchdowns. My first lean would be to the Ravens Team Total Under (29 ½) and I believe we’ll see a 23-10, 26-13 win by the Ravens,” added David.
VegasInsider.com handicapper Joe Nelson checks in with an analysis on the close calls that have benefited Baltimore this season, “Five wins this season for the Ravens have come by seven or fewer points as there have been many close calls despite the league-leading +194 scoring differential and last week’s win in Buffalo featured minimal production with only 257 net yards and a few missed officiating calls were in Baltimore’s favor.”
This is the third time this season that the Ravens are listed as a double-digit favorite, but Nelson points out that hasn’t fared well for them, “This spread is currently priced as the second-largest for the Ravens under Harbaugh who took over in 2008 with the only exception a 2011 game vs. the Colts started by Dan Orlovsky. Despite the great success this season, Baltimore has lost six consecutive games against the spread as a home favorite of six or more points. The Jets have been a double-digit underdog three times this season and lost those games by a combined score of 94-20.”
The Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas opened the Ravens as 14 ½-point favorites on Monday. That line has remained steady at the Westgate, while the total sits at 45. The weather should not be a factor on Thursday as game time temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30’s with clear skies.
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