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Bills vs. Ravens Odds: Is Buffalo a good bet against Lamar Jackson?

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 01: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on December 01, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 01: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on December 01, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

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Ravens at Bills Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Ravens -5.5
  • Over/Under: 43.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Odds as of Thursday evening.

Lamar Jackson and the red-hot Ravens head to Buffalo to take on the Bills in a showdown between two of the AFC’s best teams. Is it time to fade Jackson against a strong Bills defense?

Our experts anticipate a trench battle between the AFC’s best rushing attack and one of its top defenses.

Ravens-Bills Injury Report

The Bills continue to be incredibly healthy. Offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe is battling an ankle injury and offensive lineman Quinton Spain was added to the injury report on Thursday after he missed practice due to an illness. Nsekhe is trending towards missing another game. Spain will be a name to monitor once reports come in on Friday.

Marquise Brown was added to Thursday’s injury report with an ankle injury, but he did get in a limited practice. Two defensive players also popped up on the Ravens’ injury report in cornerback Marlon Humphrey (thigh) and linebacker Patrick Onwuasor (ankle), but since they’ve still got in limited practice sessions, they’re likely trending towards playing. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Ravens Rush Offense vs. Bills Rush Defense

Despite scoring a mediocre 21.4 points per game, the Bills are 9-3 for two main reasons: They haven’t played many winning teams and they have a great defense that has held those opponents to just 15.7 points per game, the third-lowest average in the league.

They face perhaps the NFL’s best team this week, meaning their defense will be tested.

The Bills are No. 3 in Pro Football Focus coverage grade and present a tough matchup through the air.

No. 1 wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is likely to be shadowed by emerging shutdown cornerback Tre’Davious White. Since entering the league in 2017, White has allowed a catch rate of just 52.7%.

But the Bills can be exploited on the ground: They rank No. 22 again the run in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

That’s a problem for them. The Ravens love to run more than other teams and are No. 1 in the league with 445 running plays and a 55.1% rush rate. They’re also No. 1 with 5.6 yards per carry and a 55% rush success rate (per Sharp Football Stats).

In a league that has shifted toward the passing game over the past decade, the Ravens have turned back the clock with an old-school focus on running the ball.

With the two-headed backfield of MVP quarterback Jackson and wingman running back Mark Ingram, the Ravens have the league’s best rushing duo. And supplemental backs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill are more than satisfactory.

Baltimore’s specific strength aligns with the Bills’ weakness. The Ravens offense is No. 5 in second-level yards gained per carry, while the Bills defense is No. 29 in second-level yards allowed.

Since the Week 8 bye, the Ravens have averaged 213 rushing yards per game. Given their rushing frequency and efficiency and their matchup, the Ravens could exceed that mark against the Bills. Matthew Freedman

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Ravens -5.5
  • Projected Total: 43.5

Books will have to inflate Ravens lines for the foreseeable future due to the public backing they get week in and week out — they’re receiving 76% of the tickets and 83% of the money as of writing (see live public betting data here).

The Ravens are currently No. 1 in my power ratings and I would set them as 1.5-point favorites against the Patriots on a neutral field. Having said that, if sports betting were as simple as betting on the better team each week, we would all be millionaires.

I can’t emphasize how important it is to treat sports betting like a market and know when to buy low and sell high on teams. And right now would be the time to sell high on the Ravens. Sharps know this and have been keeping the line parked on 6 while some of the sharper books have moved toward 5.5.

When considering making a play on a side, I typically want it to line up with my projected odds, market behavior and specific matchup strength/weaknesses. But the reason I can’t pull the trigger on the Bills here is due to their heavy zone defense that invites chunk plays on the ground at the expense of shutting down big plays in the passing game. That can be demonstrated by their third-best rate in limiting explosive pass plays while allowing the second-most explosive run plays (per Sharp Football Stats). And to no surprise, the Ravens rank first in explosive run plays and can easily exploit this matchup.

I’m going to hold off on fading the Ravens, instead looking ahead to next week against the Jets, who are ranked first in fewest explosive run plays allowed — an ideal time to sell high on the Ravens. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Freedman: Ravens -5.5

I have a lot of respect for the Bills, who have a good home-field advantage, but the Ravens are just too good for me not to back at anything under -6.

The Ravens haven’t lost since the first month of the season, and seemingly every other week they defeat one of the league’s top teams. The Bills, meanwhile, have beaten only one team that currently has a winning record, and that was the Titans — when they were quarterbacked by Marcus Mariota.

The Ravens are No. 1 in the league with a 55% rush success rate (per Sharp Football Stats), and I expect they will run with relative ease against the Bills, who rank 24th overall in Pro Football Focus’ run defense grade.

On offense, the Ravens can sustain and finish drives. On defense, they have averaged just 12.6 points allowed since creating the cornerback trio of Jimmy Smith, Marcus Peters, and Humphrey. I don’t think the Bills on defense will be able to stop quarterback Lamar Jackson or keep up with him on offense.

I’d bet this to -6.

Freedman is 499-373-21 (57.2%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.