Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen is still the clear betting favorite to win the NFL MVP award this season. But Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson is closing fast, improving to the +550 third choice at Caesars Sportsbook behind Allen (3-1) and Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes (5-1).
Jackson, the 2019 MVP, has been spectacular, running for a 79-yard touchdown and throwing for a 75-yard score in Baltimore’s lone loss to Miami. He leads the league in TD passes with 10 and has rushed for at least 100 yards and a TD in each of his last two games.
The Ravens are 3-point home underdogs to the Bills on Sunday in a matchup of Super Bowl contenders.
Baltimore has thrived as an underdog, going 14-2 against the spread in its last 16 games in the role, 9-1 ATS with Jackson at QB as an underdog and 5-0 ATS in its last five games as home underdogs.
We’ll put our action on Jackson and Co. to cover against a Buffalo defense decimated by injuries.
Four more plays (home team in CAPS):
Vikings (-3) over Saints (at London): Three strikes and New Orleans is out after failing to cover for me in each of the last three weeks. I’d never bet against a red-headed Harry in London, but I’ll roll the dice against a red-headed Andy Dalton, who is expected to start for the Saints in place of an injured Jameis Winston. New Orleans has struggled to score, averaging only 17.0 points per game, and will be without wideout Michael Thomas. Favorites are 18-12 ATS in London games.
RAIDERS (-2½) over Broncos: Josh McDaniels won his first six games as an NFL head coach with Denver in 2009. The Raiders coach has since gone 5-20, including an 0-3 start this season straight-up and ATS. McDaniels and the Raiders are desperate for a win, and so am I after going 1-4 ATS last week following a 6-4 start. The Raiders have won the last four meetings with the Broncos and six of seven.
Patriots (+9½) over PACKERS: New England is 59-33-1 ATS after a loss under Bill Belichick and 25-5 ATS as an underdog following a loss. Of course, those stellar marks were largely achieved with Tom Brady at QB. But I believe Belichick still has a few tricks hidden in his hoodie and will devise a game plan that will keep the Patriots close enough to cover behind their running game and defense. This line is a bit inflated after New England QB Mac Jones suffered a high ankle sprain in last week’s loss to the Ravens. Jones has been ruled out and will be replaced by veteran Patriots backup Brian Hoyer.
49ERS (-1½) over Rams: Neither NFC West team has looked strong this season. But San Francisco has the superior defense, allowing only 12.3 points per game, good for third-fewest in the league. The Niners have dominated the series, covering the last five meetings and winning the last six regular-season meetings. I’ll back the home team laying less than a field goal on “Monday Night Football.”
Last week: 1-4