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Matchups Week 4: Ravens vs. Bills

bills vs. ravens
Jan 16, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs with the ball as Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) pursues during the first half of an AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills (2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

Opening Spread: Ravens +3.5

Opening Game Total: 52

Team Totals: Ravens (24.25), Bills (27.75)

Weather: Outdoors, strong chance of rain

The Line Report

  • This line opened between Ravens +3 and Ravens +3.5.
  • This line has settled at Ravens +3.5 as of Thursday afternoon.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Ravens +3.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Ravens +3.
  • This total opened at 52 points.
  • This total quickly moved up to 53.5 points, which is where it has settled as of Thursday afternoon.

Notable Injuries

Ravens: Questionable: RB J.K. Dobbins, EDGE Justin Houston.

Bills: IR: S Micah Hyde. Out: CB Tre’Davious White. Questionable: WR Gabe Davis, TE Dawson Knox, C Mitch Morse, RG Ryan Bates, DT Ed Oliver, S Jordan Poyer, CB Dane Jackson.

The Ravens Offense vs. Bills Defense

Ravens left tackle Ronnie Staley is finally off the injury report as of Thursday afternoon. That’s big news for Baltimore, as they square off against a Buffalo pass rush that has generated the eighth-highest pressure rate through the first three games. When you factor in Lamar Jackson’s nearly unprecedented evasion abilities, Buffalo’s high-performing pass rush has more of a mild edge against Baltimore in this phase.

Notes and Observations

  • The Ravens are 2-1 against the spread this season.
  • Baltimore is 2-1 on overs this season.
  • The Ravens currently lead the league in points per game with 33.
  • Buffalo is allowing the fourth fewest points per game with 12.7.
  • Per The Edge, Lamar Jackson is 17th in the league in passing yards but third in yards per attempt and second in air yards per attempt.
  • Jackson has the most yards rushing among all quarterbacks, while being tied with Christian McCaffrey for fifth overall (243 yards).
  • J.K. Dobbins made his season debut in New England last week, finishing with seven carries for 23 yards rushing while catching both of his targets for 17 yards receiving.
  • Buffalo has allowed the fewest yards rushing and the fewest yards receiving to running backs this season.
  • Second-year wide receiver Rashod Bateman is the stand alone second option in Baltimore’s passing attack. Bateman is second on the Ravens in target share (18.8%) and air yards share (28.1%) with an outstanding 3.14 yards per route run and a 17.6 ADOT.
  • Buffalo’s injury-ravaged secondary has still held opposing wide receivers to the eighth-fewest yards receiving on the 19th most receptions.
  • Mark Andrews is the top dog in Baltimore’s passing attack. Andrews leads the league in target share (36.5%) and all tight ends in air yards share (37.3%) with 2.92 yards per route run.
  • Buffalo has held opposing tight ends to the sixth-fewest yards receiving on the seventh-fewest receptions.

The Bills Offense vs. Ravens Defense

When factoring in Josh Allen’s ability to extend plays, Buffalo has a moderate trench edge against the Ravens in pass protection.

Notes and Observations

  • The Bills are 2-1 against the spread this season.
  • Buffalo is 1-2 on overs this season.
  • The Bills are currently third in the league in points per game with 30.3.
  • The Ravens have allowed the eighth-most points per game with 25.7.
  • Per The Edge, Josh Allen leads the league in passing yards, is eighth in yards per attempt, and is a surprising 31st in air yards per attempt.
  • Allen is fourth among quarterbacks in yards rushing with 113.
  • Bills running backs have been underwhelming on the ground, as Devin Singletary leads the group with 80 yards rushing. However, Singletary and rookie James Cook combined for 16 targets in Miami last week.
  • The Ravens have allowed the 16th-most yards rushing and the sixth-most yards receiving to opposing running backs this season.
  • Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs leads the league in PPR points (85.4), yards receiving (344) and receiving touchdowns (4). He’s second in receptions (27), 17th in target share (27%) and 11th in air yards share (39%).
  • The Ravens have allowed the most yards receiving on the most receptions to opposing wide receivers this season.
  • Bills tight end Dawson Knox has caught 9-of-11 targets for 71 yards receiving this season.
  • The Ravens have allowed the eighth-fewest yards receiving on the 13th-most receptions to tight ends this season.

This is What You’re Betting On in Ravens vs. Bills

A bet on the Ravens is a bet on one of the most consistent professional football operations, spearheaded by one of the greatest athletes to ever play quarterback in Lamar Jackson. A bet on Baltimore is a bet on Jackson mitigating what’s been a ferocious Bills pass-rush through the first three games. Jackson has an opportunity here to exploit a Bills secondary that’s missing two of its three best players.

Your biggest concern with a Ravens bet is Josh Allen destroying a Baltimore pass defense that has surrendered the most total yards this season. Baltimore’s starting cornerback duo of Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are both off the mid-week injury report. If you’re betting on Baltimore, you’re betting on their secondary playing considerably better than it has in each of the last two weeks against a premium opponent.

I’m going to tell you something fairly contrarian about the Buffalo Bills offense. Stefon Diggs is a top-ten level talent at wide receiver, the Bills offensive line is solid, and Josh Allen greatly elevates an otherwise mediocre supporting cast on offense. A bet on Buffalo is a bet on Josh Allen continuing to be one of the league’s best talent elevators. The guy on the other side of this matchup, Lamar Jackson, is another rare quarterback that can single-handedly carry their offense.

Your biggest concern in a Bills bet is that Lamar Jackson exceeds expectations against a Buffalo secondary that is down two of their three best players. In the past, Jackson has consistently struggled against the Steelers' zone-heavy defense. After just speaking with our head of DFS Jordan Vanek, I learned Buffalo has been an extremely zone-heavy defense this season. This is less than ideal for Jackson, especially as a runner.

The last time these two teams played the Bills won 17-3 in Buffalo in the 2020 playoffs. I’m ignoring that contest, as it was a severe wind game.

Awards Market Ramifications: Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson are MVP favorites through the first three weeks.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: I view this as a relative coin flip game where I’ll take a little Buffalo and a little Baltimore between my winner pool entries in an effort to create different lineups. In confidence pools, regardless of whom I end up taking, I will have them ranked in the bottom third in that format.

Spread Pool: I’m not surprised that Baltimore opened as the underdog in this matchup. However, I was surprised that they opened with the +3.5 hook at certain locations. I’d prefer to avoid this game, as I view it as a relative coin flip. That said, I’m going to consider taking Baltimore with the hook in one of my tournament entries.

Survivor: This contest should be avoided for survivor purposes.