Division leader facing the struggling home team
NFL’s Week 10 kicks off with an interesting AFC matchup between the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens and the 2-7 Miami Dolphins. Both of these squads have played on Sunday evening and will play this one with a shorter time to prepare and rest.
Short rest generally favors better-prepared teams and head coaches and that is the Baltimore Ravens and John Harbaugh. Our model makes this spread between the two teams about 8-points, but with this being a Thursday night game, you have to give the nod to the Baltimore Ravens, even if they are laying slightly more than a touchdown.
Miami’s starter is unknown at this point
The Miami Dolphins have not named their QB before Thursday Night Football. Starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was forced to sit out the team’s Week 9 matchup with a fractured middle finger and was a limited participant in Monday’s (walkthrough) practice. If Tua can play on Thursday, it will be helping a couple of his favorite targets (especially tight end Mike Gesicki), but it wouldn’t make a difference looking at the big picture.
Backup QB Jacoby Brissett is coming off a mediocre game against the Houston Texans, but he completed 75% of his passes and is usually solid when not facing a lot of pressure. In fact, highly esteemed NFL analyst site PFF currently ranks Brissett as the 18th-best quarterback in the league ahead of Tagovailoa at 23rd. PFF rates both Brissett’s running and passing offense higher than Tagovaiola’s. We have to add, that Brissett is five years older than Tagovailoa, so the team’s #1 QB has still an opportunity to get better.
Our model also agrees that even if Brissett starts this game there is no reason to downgrade Miami, but the market might overreact moving this spread out to 8 or 9 points if Tua is unable to suit up.
Baltimore keeps on rolling
Baltimore is coming off yet another comeback victory, this time beating the Minnesota Vikings in overtime. The Ravens needed a 14-point fourth quarter effort to come back into the game eventually winning by a field goal after regulation.
Baltimore’s QB, Lamar Jackson had a messy game this last Sunday with three touchdowns and two interceptions (and four turnover-worthy plays), but he still completed 27 of his 41 pass attempts for 266 yards.
Looking at Jackson’s stats through the season it is easy to be impressed. The 2019 MVP now has a better pass completion rate than last season at 64%, while his average depth of target is almost a full yard higher at 8.1 yards than his 2020 numbers. Jackson’s passes reach first downs 39% of the time while him still being a major part of the run game.
We also have to give props to the Ravens receiving core. Baltimore’s receivers are averaging 12.6 yards per reception reaching first downs at a 60% clip. Both stats are up from last season’s 11.4 yard / 55% average.
Pick: Baltimore Ravens -7.5 -105 (1.95x) Bet365
We are laying the points with Baltimore on Thursday. Our model shows a slight edge at 7.5, and we have no faith in this struggling Miami offense averaging only 9.3 yards per reception to hang with the Ravens here.
Note: We would play Baltimore at -8 -110 (1.91x). Our model shows no value if the spread moves to 8.5.