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Ravens vs Rams NFL betting picks and predictions: Back Baltimore’s fast starts

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The red-hot Baltimore Ravens head to Los Angeles to face the Rams on Monday Night Football.

The Ravens have the NFL’s highest scoring offense thanks to MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson. They are fresh off a 41-7 rout of the Houston Texans and are riding a six-game winning streak into Week 12.

The 6-4 Rams are coming off a 17-7 victory against the Chicago Bears and have been winning with a tough defense led by two-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald.

From the first snap to the final whistle we break down the odds for this primetime matchup with our best bets and predictions. **video

BALTIMORE RAVENS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (+3, 46.5)

QUICK HITTER

Baltimore has gotten out to quick starts throughout the year, averaging 8.5 points per game during the first quarter, the second-highest total in the league. Their defense is also strong in the opening quarter holding opponents to just 2.4 ppg, which ranks third in the NFL.

With the Rams scoring just 3.2 ppg in the first 15 minutes (26th in the league), bank on Baltimore taking a lead into the first break.

PICK: First Quarter Baltimore -0.5 (+115)

FIRST HALF BET

It’s rare to see in this era of wide-open passing attacks, but the Ravens are riding their ground game to the No.1 scoring offense in the league. Baltimore has the most rushing yards in the NFL with 203.1 per game, 54 yards per game more than second-place San Francisco.

The Rams do have an excellent run-defense holding opponents to just 89.1 rushing yards per game. But the Ravens don’t have a traditional running game, relying on the legs of Lamar Jackson who is doing things as a runner that no NFL quarterback has ever accomplished.

Jackson has rushed for 781 yards through the first ten games of the season, while surpassing 60 rushing yards in seven consecutive contests. Don’t expect the Rams defense to have their usual success against the run versus Jackson and company.

With the Ravens averaging a league-high 17.8 ppg in the first half, take the Over on the Ravens 1H team total of 12.5.

PICK: First Half Team Total – Baltimore Over 12.5 (-120)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

While L.A. will have a hard time stopping Jackson in the running game, they should be able corral Ravens lead back Mark Ingram. Ingram has enjoyed a solid year rushing for 667 yards but has rushed for 52 yards or fewer in five of his last six games.

With backup Gus Edwards stealing some carries and the Rams holding opponents to just 3.3 yards per carry, take the Under on Ingram’s rushing total.

PICK: Mark Ingram Under 53.5 rushing yards

FULL GAME TOTAL

The Ravens have a very strong pass defense, ranking third in the league in defensive pass DVOA according to Football Outsiders. The Rams are holding opponents to just 19.8 points per game thanks in large part to the monster that is Aaron Donald. That said, there are a few reasons we like the Over on Monday night.

We mentioned that the Rams will be dealing with a unique threat in Jackson and even if they slow down the Ravens offense, a team total in the high 20s still seems likely. Not only does Baltimore lead the league with 34.1 ppg but they’ve scored 30 points in each of their last four games, which included a matchup with the Patriots.

As for the Rams, while Jared Goff has played poorly this season he should have all three of his top receivers healthy on Monday. Brandin Crooks cleared concussion protocol after missing the last three games and Robert Woods is expected to play after sitting out last week due to personal reasons.

The Rams offensive line has struggled this year but played well last week, not allowing a sack against a dangerous Bears pass rush. The line also opened up holes for Todd Gurley who rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. If Gurley is trending back towards anything close to the All-Pro he was in 2017 and 2018, L.A. will be able to move the chains against a Ravens stop-unit that hasn’t played well against the run, ranking 25th in the league in defensive rush DVOA.

While this game might not be a shootout the total seems a tad too low. Bet the Over.

PICK: Over 46.5

FULL GAME SIDE

The Rams have home-field advantage but Baltimore has been spectacular on the road. The Ravens are 4-1 in away games with an incredible scoring margin of plus-19.4 ppg.

Baltimore’s offense has been spectacular and Jackson has been able to beat teams with his feet and his arm, racking up 8.1 yards per pass attempt (sixth-best in the league) and throwing for 19 touchdowns against just five interceptions. His versatility should pose problems for the Rams defense.

On the other side of the ball, the Baltimore’s defense has been the best in the league since acquiring cornerback Marcus Peters in a trade from the Rams prior to Week 7. Since then they have won all four of their games by at least two touchdowns, and it’s not like they’ve been playing cupcakes. One of those victories was against Cincinnati but the other three wins came versus New England, Seattle and Houston.

Ride the hot hand and back the Ravens to cover.

PICK: Baltimore -3

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PointsBet USA unveils partnership with Detroit Tigers

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In the absence of MLB games until – hopefully – later this month, MLB betting made some news Thursday with the announcement that PointsBet USA is now the official gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers. It’s the first such arrangement between a sports betting entity and an MLB team, made possible by PointsBet USA’s recent agreement with MLB designating the sportsbook as an authorized gaming operator by the league.

“The PointsBet team is excited to announce our groundbreaking deal with the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball, becoming the first legal sports betting operator in U.S. history to partner with an MLB franchise,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said in a news release. “We offer the most betting options in the world on MLB games via our unique PointsBetting product, and we are excited to inject a unique and robust betting proposition into the great state of Michigan.”

Michigan legalized sports betting in December, for both brick-and-mortar and online operators, and books began taking bets in March. PointsBet USA is not only the first book to partner with an MLB franchise, but the first to partner with any Michigan-based professional sports team.

As part of the multi-year deal, PointsBet USA will have TV broadcast-visible branding at Comerica Park, a sponsored presence on the Tigers’ digital platforms, and will be integrated into The District Detroit app and the MLB Ballpark app.

“We are thrilled to welcome PointsBet as a gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers,” said Chris Granger, group president of sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings. “Our incredible fans will love the unique experiences and innovative offerings that PointsBet’s personalized platform provides. We look forward to the fan-friendly enhancements this will bring to the game-day experience in and around Comerica Park for years to come.”

NBA betting: Eight seeding games to bet when NBA returns

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NBA betting is back on the board with the NBA season restarting in Orlando after the COVID-19 shutdown. From July 30-August 14, the 22 remaining teams with NBA Championship aspirations will face off against each other to determine playoff seeding, so get ready for some exciting matchups.

We take a look at eight must-bet NBA seeding games to watch as the league returns to action.

Clippers vs Lakers (-1.5, 218.5), July 30, 9 p.m. ET

When the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, take on Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA doesn’t get much better than this. Opening day and Christmas Day also featured this marquee matchup and the opening night of the restart in Orlando will mark the fourth time this season that these LA rivals have faced off.

The Lakers are third in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing 106.9 points per game, while the Clippers hold opponents to just 43.6 percent shooting from the field, also third-best in the league. With both teams coming in off lengthy breaks, there may be some rust on the offensive end of the floor making the Under 218.5 an intriguing play.

Betting trend to watch: The Clips won the first two meetings while the Lakers won the last one in March. The Under hit in each of those contests with an average score of 108.7-106.7 in favor of the Clippers.

Celtics vs Bucks (-5, 217.5), July 31, 6:30 p.m. ET

Barring an absolute collapse, the Milwaukee Bucks will wrap up the No. 1 seed in the East, but they will still likely want to play MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo in this one just to shake off the cobwebs after the break.

This could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals and it will be interesting to see how Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker looks after being hampered by knee issues following the All-Star break. Boston split the series with Milwaukee during the season and Walker torched the Bucks both times, scoring 32 points against them in November and putting up 40 on them in January.

Betting trend to watch: Milwaukee opened as a five-point favorite, with the total set at 217.5, but don’t count out the Celtics, who have gone an impressive 14-4 ATS as an underdog this season.

Rockets vs Mavericks (+1.5, 225.5), July 31, 9 p.m. ET

The battle between James Harden and Luka Doncic will be a treat for basketball fans, but the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks have plenty of firepower in addition to their All-NBA guards.

With the full game total for this contest opening at a reasonable 225.5, keep an eye on the first half total when it drops.

Betting trend to watch: Fast starts have been a trend for both squads, with Houston leading the league with 59.9 first-half points per game and Dallas second with 59.3 ppg. For good measure, the Rockets also rank 25th in the NBA in first-half scoring defense, surrendering 58.1 ppg.

Heat vs Nuggets (-1, 212.5), August 1, 1 p.m ET

Both the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets could see their seeding change dramatically based on how they perform in Orlando. Miami has an absolute gauntlet to run through with its first four games against Denver, Toronto, Boston and Milwaukee.

The Nuggets have long had a massive edge at home, due to the increased elevation at the Pepsi Center, and losing that advantage in Orlando could hurt. Then again, Miami could be in the same boat considering that they posted an average scoring margin of plus-9.3 ppg at home — and that plummeted to minus-2.7 in away contests.

Betting trend to watch: The Heat have been one of the highest-scoring teams in the league during the first quarter, but have really struggled to put the ball in the hoop at the end of games, averaging just 26 ppg in the fourth quarter. With Denver holding opponents to just 26.2 fourth-quarter points per game on the road, this is a trend you’ll want to consider when live betting in the final 12 minutes.

Bucks vs Rockets, August 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

It’s always a blast watching two MVP favorites face off against each other, and after Harden came up short against Antetokounmpo last year there seems to be a lack of respect between the two superstars. The Greek Freak took a potshot at Harden when he selected his team during All-Star weekend, with the Rockets guard responding with, “I wish I could be 7 feet and run and just dunk. Like, that takes no skill at all.”

Betting trend to watch: Unfortunately for the small-ball Rockets, defending in the paint is their biggest weakness, especially after trading away Clint Capela left them with the 6’5″ PJ Tucker often manning the center position. Houston allows 51.5 ppg in the paint, sixth-worst in the league, and Giannis is the most dominant inside scorer since Shaq, putting up 29.6 ppg this season.

Grizzlies vs Pelicans, August 3, 6:30 p.m. ET

Not only will this matchup feature the two best rookies in the league in Ja Morant and Zion Williamson, but it will also be a prime spot for the New Orleans Pelicans to gain ground on the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

New Orleans was impressive on offense even without Zion and have become even more unstoppable since the first-overall draft pick joined the team on January 22. Once Zion joined the fold the Pelicans averaged 120.1 ppg and played at the fastest pace in the league.

Betting trend to watch: Thanks in large part to Morant, Memphis also looks good on the offensive end of the floor, ranking seventh in the league in both possessions per game and shooting percentage. With both teams electrifying on offense – and terrible on defense – this should be a very fun game with the Over worth looking at.

Trail Blazers vs Nuggets, August 6, 8 p.m ET

There might not a more dangerous team currently outside a playoff spot than the Portland Trail Blazers, who arguably boast the second-best backcourt out of all 22 teams in Orlando and will also get center Jusuf Nurkic back from a broken leg. The Nuggets are third in the West but sit only 1.5 games behind the Clippers and 1.5 games ahead of the Jazz, so every game matters.

This is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference semifinals, where the Blazers upset the Nuggets in seven games. In three games head-to-head this year the Nuggets went 3-0 SU and ATS.

Betting trend to watch: Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard has struggled against Denver, averaging 21.6 ppg on 37.7 percent shooting over his last seven regular-season games against the Nuggets. Although he played better during the playoff series last season, it was CJ McCollum who carried the Blazers offense, especially in Game 7 when Lillard went 3-17 from the field.

Raptors vs 76ers, August 12, 6:30 p.m. ET

There might not be much on the line if the Toronto Raptors have already secured a seed by this time, but if their nerve-wracking seven-game playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers last year is any indication, this should still be a great game.

Betting trend to watch: It will be interesting to see how these teams play on neutral ground. Toronto has been one of the best teams in the league away from home, going 23-9 SU and 16-15 ATS and posting an average scoring margin of plus-4.2 ppg. On the other hand, the 76ers have been terrible on the road, going 10-24 SU, 9-23 ATS and posting a scoring margin of minus-5.3.