Chiefs-Ravens best bets: Can Baltimore bounce back vs. Mahomes?
We've got a great game on tap for the latest edition of Sunday Night Football. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs visit a Baltimore Ravens team looking to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start while also trying to avenge last season's 34-20 home loss to this same Chiefs squad on Monday Night Football.
Here's how we're betting Chiefs-Ravens:
Ty'Son Williams 50+ rushing yards (+114)
The Ravens' offense clearly showed it's a work in progress during Monday's overtime loss to the Raiders, finishing with 217 passing yards, four fumbles, and a 3-for-12 rate on third down. The one positive was the unit's always prolific rushing attack, and Williams was at the forefront.
The second-year back looked electric in his NFL debut, turning nine carries into 65 yards as Baltimore's lead rusher. Williams' dynamic play in Week 1 - highlighted by a 35-yard TD scamper in the first quarter - should earn him the highest share of a three-headed backfield in Week 2.
That's a valuable role against a Kansas City defense that surrendered 153 rushing yards to the Browns a week ago and allowed 17 backs to rush for 50-plus yards through 16 regular-season games in 2020. Add Williams to the list for this year - especially at plus money.
- C Jackson Cowart
Latavius Murray anytime TD (+225)
There are no posted totals for Murray rushing yards this week, but I don't anticipate that being the case much longer. The club signed him just days before the opener, and he still out-carried Williams 10-9. Murray didn't have the same explosiveness, but Williams missed a couple key blocks and, despite being featured early, the second-year back wound up playing just 11 snaps on the Ravens' final seven drives.
Baltimore also leaned on the veteran in short-yardage situations, including the team's only carry inside the 10 - an eight-yard touchdown. Murray's role is only going to expand as he gets more practice time with the offense, while his size at 6'3", 220 lbs. and durability - just one fumble in the last three campaigns - make him the perfect guy to turn to in goal-to-go situations.
The threat of Lamar Jackson calling his own number always looms large, but that's more than baked into this price. Murray is being priced like he's an afterthought in this offense - you can't even find a rushing total for him! - but he's the ideal fit for Greg Roman's rushing attack and will be a key cog sooner than later.
Cleveland gashed the Chiefs' run defense in the opener, and the unit now faces a similarly tough test against a dangerous and unpredictable Ravens attack. There should be plenty of opportunities for this bet to cash after Kansas City allowed four rushing touchdowns in Week 1 - three from five yards or shorter, which is where Murray does his best work.
- Alex Moretto
Lamar Jackson under 20.5 pass completions
Some games are better left un-bet. I'm not willing to pay the Chiefs tax on Sunday night. Kansas City has a knack for winning but not covering, as evidenced by a 1-10-1 record against the spread in its last 12 games. I don't want to bet on Baltimore here either, with injuries piling up on both sides of the ball. But since passing on a Sunday night game is not what we do, we'll make a bet about passing that can cash in conjunction with either side covering the spread.
If the Ravens win this game, it's going to be because their run game was able to maintain drives and create explosive plays to keep up with the Chiefs' offense, paired with a less aggressive defensive strategy that forces Mahomes to take yardage in smaller increments.
Kansas City won this matchup last season with 21 second-quarter points, forcing Baltimore to play from behind. Even with a negative game script, Jackson completed just 15 passes. With a disheveled offensive line, that could very well be the case again.
Whether the Ravens have success in the run game to help themselves or need to pass more frequently than they'd like, there's reason to believe betting under 20.5 pass completions for Jackson is a good move for Sunday night.
- Matt Russell