NFL Notebook: Ravens QB situation gets a little cloudier

Bengals vs Ravens Pick, Lamar vs Burrow

Baltimore is favored by two TDs for the second straight week in a battle featuring a quirk that has happened only four times in NFL history.

That quirk is the reigning MVP facing the No. 1 overall pick from the most recent draft. Raven QB Lamar Jackson was the 2019 MVP, Bengal QB Joe Burrow was the 2019 top draft pick. As you can guess, the MVPs have been favored on previous occasions, but the most recent occurrence saw the underdog Colts (with rookie Andrew Luck at the controls) beating Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Indianapolis won 30-27 as 6.5-point underdogs. The reigning MVPs won the other three games (chart at the bottom for the curious among you). Thanks to NFL Communications for digging out that factoid.

Bengals vs Ravens Odds: -13.5 Baltimore Total 51 | Bet at BetRivers | Matchup Stats

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Why the Bengals will cover the spread

Even while Cincy has been a weak team, they have been covering spreads at Baltimore. In the past six seasons, Cincy is 5-1 ATS in this NFC North battle. They are also 4-0-1 ATS in their past five games and own a profitable 10-4 ATS streak on the road over the past few seasons (even as they stumbled to a 0-13-1 SU record).

Is that enough to sneak inside 14 point here? It sure has back-door cover written all over it as the Bengals have been playing pretty well and Baltimore won’t be motivated to crush them.

We are concerned with one particular trend – the Ravens are just 3-11 ATS past 14 as DD home favorites.

Why the Ravens will cover the spread

They were favored by 13.5 points last week and barely covered 31-17. This will be the risk here. An easy win, but not an easy cover. Baltimore is 9-2 ATS in their past 11 conference games and never lose as double-digit favorites (they are 29-1 SU). Predictably, the Bengals never win as double-digit road dog (1-29 SU).

Cincy currently rates last in road rushing defense. Even though it’s a tiny sample size, the fact they haven’t stopped the run on the road is bad news against a Ravens team that slam the ball on the ground with multiple weapons.

Bengals Ravens Pick

Cincy continues to improve under Burrow and they can throw caution to the wind here because everyone expects them to get stomped. The Bengals road ATS mark, combined with that ugly 3-11 ATS run in Baltimore games as double-digit home chalk leans us towards the Bengals at +13.5.

Reigning MVP vs No. 1 Overall pick chart from NFL

Lamar Jackson (@ Baltimore) Joe Burrow (Cincinnati) +13.5 Oct. 11, 2020 ???
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) Andrew Luck (@ Indianapolis) +6.5 Oct. 7, 2012 IND 30, GB 27
Peyton Manning (Indianapolis) Alex Smith (San Francisco) +16 Oct. 9, 2005 IND 28, SF 3
Ken Stabler (Oakland) Steve Bartkowski (Atlanta) Nov. 30, 1975 OAK 37, ATL 34
John Brodie (San Francisco) Jim Plunkett (New England) Oct. 31, 1971 SF 27, NE 10


Trend Dummy (not his real name) is a veteran sports betting writer, who really should be a lot smarter by now. Starting with a betting trends fascination in 1993, Dummy has been chasing trends, patterns, streak and mathematical anomalies ever since. A serious data miner with real databases and betting acumen, he sometimes stretches stats to fit a narrative, but the data is legit. You decide if the trends have handicapping value.

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