Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in action
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in action during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

MNF: Baltimore Ravens vs Las Vegas Raiders Best Bets / Props, Sept. 13

After an exhilarating first NFL Sunday of the season, Monday Night Football has reared its glorious head yet again. This match will feature Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders playing at home versus Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. The headline for this game surrounds the bizarre amount of season-ending injuries the Ravens have had on their roster, particularly at running back. Key players such as J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill and Marcus Peters all were lost within a matter of a couple of weeks. The public and the media have already begun to write off this explosive team that still has their main lethal ingredient, Lamar Jackson. I will be all in on Baltimore for this one and here’s how I expect things to go down.

Ravens (-4.5)
The opening line initially favored the Ravens by a large six and a half-points, but because of recent injuries to valuable Ravens players, the current spread only has them at a margin of -4.5. Coming into this one, Baltimore is an impressive 7-1 ATS in its previous 8, whereas Vegas is 1-5 in its last 6 against the spread. A big contributing factor to the Ravens mild success last year was their ability to dominate the ground game no matter who they faced, and despite all these injuries, nothing has really changed for them on offense. Although they proved to be valuable at running the football, the current injured backfield for the Ravens (Dobbins, Edwards, Hill) is not indispensable and can be easily replaced in the system Baltimore runs around Lamar Jackson. Don’t expect much to change on offense from last year for the Ravens as they face a shoddy Raiders defense. Las Vegas allowed the 9th most rushing yards in 2020, and with no offseason additions or draft picks that can really help stop the run, I predict they will continue to struggle against it. Take the Ravens in this matchup nightmare, while everyone else is worried about Justice Hill being out for the season.

Ty’Son Williams Anytime TD (+145)
With Le’Veon Bell and Latavius Murray not quite acclimated to the Ravens playbook, they will be trusting the bulk of the workload at running back to experienced practice squad member, Ty’Son Williams. Williams was an undrafted free agent out of BYU in 2020 and will be the only back with any sort of feel for the Ravens offense, but he won’t have to do much with highlight reel Lamar Jackson. If Jackson is able to use Williams as a security blanket in their patented option run, he should see plenty of opportunities to make big plays with all eyes being on Lamar. This game also marks the return of All-Pro offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, who the Ravens did not have for most of last season, which will bode extraordinarily well for both Ty’Son and Lamar on the ground. With little help to come from the receiver position, watch a majority of their playmaking ability come from their running attack with Lamar leading the way beside a trusty alternative in Ty’Son Williams. Since Baltimore is going to put up a lot of points, Williams has more than a good chance at finding the end zone and at +145 the pick has great value.

Lamar Jackson Over 70.5 Rushing Yards
In the final prop for this evening, Lamar Jackson is poised to run all over the inferior Vegas defense. Last year, he was able to notch his second straight season with 1,000 yards rushing and was the Ravens best playmaker by a mile. His weekly rushing over/under exceeds that of most actual running backs in the league and for good reason. Even with the inflated 70.5 yards o/u for Lamar in this first game, last year he was able to exceed that mark in 10 out of 18 total contests in 2020/21. Essentially, Lamar Jackson is not only a running back that is playing quarterback, but he is one of the best running backs in the NFL that is playing quarterback. Without their RBs it puts even more pressure on them to run the ball successfully, so expect Jackson to shine behind a sturdy offensive line that is finally healthy to pave a path big enough for him and take his over for rushing yards.

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