NFL Pick for Thursday Night Football in Week #15 (Jets vs Ravens)
NFL PICK WEEK #15 - Thursday Night Football
BY PROFESSOR MJ
PICK: Baltimore Ravens -14.5 vs New York Jets
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If you have been following me a little bit, you know I rarely bet big favorites. I’ll do an exception and take the Ravens to cover that big spread on Thursday night.
One of the tricks I use when handicapping games is to ask myself the following question: if God were to tell me in advance that one of these two teams is going to beat the spread by 10 points, which team would be more likely to do so?
In this case, it comes down to the following: is it more likely that the Ravens win by 4 or 24 points? To me, the answer came quickly in my mind: Baltimore by 24. I don’t believe the Jets have any chance to win this game, unless a miracle happens (perhaps 3-4 lost fumbles by Baltimore). I don’t see them keeping it as close as a four-point margin.
I do have a few concerns about this game, though. Despite having an exceptional year, Baltimore is 1-4 against the spread (ATS) as a home favorite in 2019. They are also 1-8 ATS over their past nine matchups at home when facing a team with a losing record. Also, left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who is graded #4 out of 63 tackles by Pro Football Focus, is likely out with a concussion.
Enough with the drawbacks. Generally speaking, I like backing elite teams on “focus” games, which includes playing on national television in the Thursday night game. It guarantees they won’t play soft and let down against a weaker opponent.
Also, the Jets organization is not going in the right direction. I do not believe Adam Gase is a smart head coach who has a good control of his squad. His star running back Le’Veon Bell missed Sunday’s game because of the flu, but he was spotted bowling the day before. The team lacks a winning culture and it is poorly run from top to bottom.
Granted, the Jets have won four of their past five matches. But those wins occurred against weak opposition: the Giants, the Redskins, the Raiders and the Dolphins. Recall that New York’s last three losses were against the Bengals, the Dolphins and the Jaguars. That’s embarrassing.
The last time the Jets played a team with a winning record, they were stomped 33-0 at home against New England. That was eight weeks ago, so it’s been a while since they had a chance to face a decent team. They are not ready to face the hottest team in the league. On the road, on top of that!
There are two players from the Jets’ defense that are very good: C.J. Mosley and Jamal Adams. Now, Mosley is out for the year, while Jamal Adams is doubtful to suit up, which means he has much less than a 50% chance to be on the field.
I liked the emergence of tight end Ryan Griffin, but he was just declared out of the game too. And wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is doubtful. That limits the number of viable targets for Sam Darnold.
Meanwhile, Baltimore’s hot streak has been well-documented. They are riding a 9-game winning streak that includes impressive wins in Seattle, at the Rams, and at home against the Patriots, the Texans and the 49ers. That’s a nice accomplishment!
The Ravens defense has been pretty stingy of late. They have not allowed more than 20 points in any of their past eight outings!
The big point spread is going to scare many people, but don’t be one of them. Don’t overthink this one, as the Ravens should win easily.
P.S. I placed my bet at 5:30 pm Eastern Time Wednesday December 11 at Pinnacle. The line was -14.5 with -108 odds. This morning (Thursday) the same point spread has -125 odds, so it moved quite a bit...
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)