If the altitude at Mile High Stadium is already making your head spin, rest easy knowing I’ll be doing the deep dive for you to make sense of Week 4’s matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos.
Denver heads into the week undefeated after holding the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets to a combined 26 points. Schedules don’t get much easier than that to start a season.
Meanwhile, Baltimore has taken a ride on an emotional rollercoaster that would leave an F-15 pilot sick: multiple ACL tears to key players in the preseason, a Week 1 OT loss to the Raiders, a thrilling one-point Sunday night victory over the Chiefs, and a win that maybe should not have been over Detroit on an NFL record 66-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.
There are still multiple unknowns for these two squads. Thankfully, we have enough actionable data to make informed decisions on what should be an intriguing game between two playoff hopefuls.
Please note that all Ravens vs Broncos odds and lines are current as of Friday, October 1.
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Ravens vs Broncos Prediction
Lamar Jackson, as expected, has led his Ravens to the league lead in rushing, with the team averaging 185.3 yards per game on the ground. However, his inefficiencies as a passer are still glaringly clear, as he sits 19th in the league in QBR. Star left tackle Ronnie Stanley has missed the past two games, and with no return in sight, the Ravens’ passing game should continue to be lackluster.
Despite these struggles, Mark Andrews recorded the second-highest receiving total of his career in Week 3 with 109 yards on just five catches. Marquise Brown looked more “Big Apple" than “Hollywood" with how he was dropping the ball last week, but he has still put up decent receiving numbers alongside Sammy Watkins this year. Full credit to the always hilarious Peter Overzet for the one-liner.
The backfield in Baltimore looks like a full committee with Ty’Son Williams, Latavius Murray, and Devonta Freeman all receiving multiple carries in Week 3. This is likely a sound approach to win a real football game, but is certainly a headache for betting props and making lineup decisions in fantasy.
Denver has dealt with its own slew of injuries this year, first placing WR Jerry Jeudy on IR and then losing WR KJ Hamler for the year with a torn ACL.
Teddy Bridgewater has worked well with the remaining skill position players and has looked great doing it. With an ACL tear of his own in the past, Bridgewater has looked like his old self so far with the Broncos.
The running backs in Denver have made a great one-two punch, but don’t be mistaken, Melvin Gordon is still the starter. Rookie Javonte Williams did the majority of his work in garbage time in their latest win.
Above all, the defense remains the strength for the Broncos. Led by Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and 2021 first-round pick Patrick Surtain II, Denver has allowed the second-fewest yards per game (221.7) on the year.
Nobody expects this game to be pretty, but that doesn’t mean points can’t be scored. In what’s essentially a pick’em, look for the Ravens to come out on top in a game with more action than expected.
Prediction: Ravens 28, Broncos 21
Broncos vs Ravens Best Bets
Best Bet: Over 45 Total Points (-105) at Betfred
When two franchises that the betting industry historically identifies as defense-first programs meet, my first instinct is to bet the under. However, numbers suggest that this game will be played fast and loose.
Lamar Jackson and Teddy Bridgewater, perhaps surprisingly, rank second and third respectively in pass attempts over 20 yards downfield so far this year. With the potential for plenty of deep shots and talented playmakers all over the field, this game could be higher scoring than many assume.
Broncos top wide receiver Courtland Sutton looks strong coming off his own knee injury and Tim Patrick has stepped into a leading role in the absence of Jeudy and Hamler. Tight end Noah Fant can’t be forgotten either, despite a quiet Week 3 performance.
The Ravens play style on offense is about as far away as you can get from the current meta in the NFL. Even despite running the ball the majority of the time, Baltimore ranks 11th in the league in scoring with 27.3 points per game so far this season. The team in 12th place? You guessed it, the Denver Broncos at 25.3.
Lamar Jackson was questionable last week with an illness and had a rocky outing against a weak Lions team. Expect a better performance in Denver when the former MVP gets a full week of practice in.
I’d be comfortable betting the Over up to 47.5 points. The offensive talent for both the Broncos and Ravens is being too heavily discounted despite the defensive strengths in this matchup.
Best Bet: Ravens Moneyline (-110) at Betfred
The Broncos hold the unique advantage of playing their home games at an altitude that no other team can compare to. This factor alone isn’t enough to count the Ravens out, however.
Injuries are starting to mount for the Broncos, as head coach Vic Fangio did not sound optimistic when speaking to reporters earlier this week about starting guards Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow.
Glasgow has been ruled out, while Dalton Risner got a single limited practice in on Friday. The Ravens are now slight favorites to win the game.
Despite the o-line concerns, there’s no doubt that Bridgewater is looking like a much better fit to run the Broncos’ offense than Drew Lock, but he’s no MVP. Lamar Jackson, who won MVP honors back in 2019, will be the best player on the field and have the ball in his hands every play for the Baltimore offense.
After leading the Ravens to a win over the Chiefs in Week 2, it’s surprising to see this team as an underdog to a Broncos team that finished 5-11 last year. Only beating the lowly Lions by two last week likely had an impact on that and would have felt like a let down for Baltimore, despite the Justin Tucker dramatics.
Surely John Harbaugh will want a big response this weekend and I expect the Ravens to bounce back with authority and hand the Broncos their first loss of the season.
If things come down to the wire once again, at least we know Tucker won’t have many issues going from kicking in a dome to kicking a mile above sea level.
Best Bet: Ty’Son Williams Under 32.5 Rushing Yards (-115) at Caesars
Williams got his time to shine to begin the season. The curtain has fallen, veterans Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman are here to steal the show.
Williams went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. A four-star recruit out of high school, he was beat out for the starting RB job at North Carolina in 2015, lost the starting RB job at South Carolina as a junior in 2018, then split time at BYU as a senior in 2019.
After receiving 22.7% of Baltimore’s carries last week, it’s clear that this coaching staff too does not trust him to be a starting running back. Against a tough defensive front, bet the under with confidence.
Best Bet: Tim Patrick Over 3.5 Receptions (-160) at BetMGM
Tim Patrick has been criminally overlooked to this point in his career. It may be because he has a boring name and plays for Denver, but everyone will know exactly who he is soon enough. The big receiver will have plenty of targets coming his way once again this week due to the injuries in the Broncos WR corps.
Words might not be able to describe how exceptional of a target he has been in recent years, but numbers can. Patrick is on a streak of 106 targets in a row without a drop, dating back to Week 13 of the 2019 season. He and Seahawks star wideout Tyler Lockett are the only receivers with a perfect passing rating when targeted this season.
Bet the over comfortably knowing Tim Patrick is very likely to reel in anything thrown his way.
Ravens vs Broncos Same Game Parlay Picks
Same Game Parlay Odds: +591
- Total Points Over 44.5 (-114) at FanDuel
- Tim Patrick Over 48.5 Receiving Yards (-122) at FanDuel
- Ty’Son Williams Under 34.5 Rushing Yards (-108) at FanDuel
In a contest that I think will move faster than most expect, the game script should naturally lead to these two player props. Denver RB Melvin Gordon has looked good after a tumultuous offseason, but these yards on the ground won’t come as easily against what is easily the toughest defense the Broncos have faced this year.
That’ll force Bridgewater to take to the air, where Patrick should continue to play a major role. His 98 receiving yards in Week 3 gives me confidence in his expanded role going forward. On the other side, Baltimore will pound the rock regardless of game script, but we found out last week that Williams won’t be doing anything remotely close to the majority of the rushing work.