Thursday Night Football best bets: Ravens at Buccaneers


Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers flipped from underdogs to favorites Wednesday night against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Maybe Brady’s 8-3 SU and 10-1 ATS record as a home dog had something to do with the change on the odds board.

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Throughout the season, our VSiN experts will combine to give their best bets on every game. Check back for picks for the rest of Week 8 as we get closer to kickoff.

Odds are from DraftKings (unless noted) as of Wednesday night.

Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2, 46)

Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

Betting splits: 79% of bets, 70% of money on Ravens -1.5

Adam Burke: The Ravens continue to have an explosive running game, due in large part to Lamar Jackson. Baltimore is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and Jackson is at 7.7 on his 66 attempts (24 more attempts than anybody else on the team).

Jackson has rushed for at least 58 yards in each of the last five games with 8.2 yards per attempt and 10 rush attempts per game. In a prime-time game against a pretty good Tampa Bay defense, Jackson seems likely to take over the offense once again. His rushing total is 61.5 at DraftKings, but this game profiles as one where he’ll feel like he needs to do a little bit more.

The Buccaneers have the eighth-fewest QB rush attempts against this season, but they rank 19th in QB rushing yards against. They’ve allowed 5.6 yards per carry to quarterbacks who have taken off. Overall, the Bucs’ run defense has been quite a bit worse than their pass defense. That should give Jackson the opportunity for some big scrambles.

Pick: Lamar Jackson Over 61.5 Rushing Yards (-115) 

Danny Burke: Despite the Bucs losing four out of their last five games, the defense has held strong. Limiting opponents to just 17.7 points per game is great, but it doesn’t get highlighted as much when the offense is averaging the exact same number. 

So because the narrative around Tampa Bay is negative, we have to look to take advantage of it. And that move is in the prop market with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. 

I’m not here to debate Jackson’s quarterbacking skills (he’s great, but he’s also limited in the passing game). He’s averaging just 17.3 completions on 28 pass attempts for 200 passing yards per game. Against the Bucs, he’ll be facing the sixth-best pass defense, according to DVOA, and one that surrenders only 210 passing yards per game. The Bucs are allowing opponents to complete just 63% of their passes, and Jackson is completing just 61.4%. 

Baltimore loves to establish the run, whether it’s via Jackson or the running back by committee, and I believe that will be the plan Thursday night. The Ravens will see that it doesn’t take deep and consistent passing efforts to move the ball against the Bucs; you can get the ground attack going and that should suffice. You control the time of possession, and you keep the ball out of the hands of the GOAT. Heck, P.J. Walker and the Panthers were able to overcome this defense with sustainability on the ground and Walker throwing for just 177 yards. 

The prop on Jackson passing yards is set at 213.5 Only three opposing QBs (Jameis Winston, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes) have eclipsed that mark against Todd Bowles’ defense, and Jackson has stayed under it in five of seven games, including the last four. Expect the Ravens to move the ball, just not perpetually through the air.

Pick: Lamar Jackson Under 213.5 Passing Yards (-115)