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The Baltimore Ravens’ legendary win streak in the preseason has long been a bettor’s favorite. Only this time, on Monday night, Vegas is expecting this to be as close as it gets.
Washington’s owner Josh Harris will host his first home game as the Commanders’ owner as Lamar Jackson’s Ravens come to town. Baltimore is slightly favored as one-point road favorite.
A weather delay didn’t prevent the Washington Commanders from winning its first preseason game, and a near choke-job by the Baltimore Ravens nearly cost the franchise its now 24-game win streak in the preseason. Monday night sees the two sides square off in an incredibly exciting slate.
The Commanders officially named 2022 fifth-round pick Sam Howell the starting quarterback for the season. The UNC standout played well last week, completing over 70% of his passes for 77 yards and a score. He’ll look to build on that against an injured Baltimore secondary that nearly crumbled late against Philadelphia.
Washington also boasts a strong backup in Jacoby Brissett, and while third-string quarterback Jake Fromm isn’t great, the team around him is incredibly underrated. The defense also isn’t one to write off, with a plethora of young talent in the secondary and a deep defensive line.
That said, the Ravens are an unstoppable force of pride and talent in the preseason. Their NFL-record win streak is one that clearly means a lot to head coach John Harbaugh. The AFC North squad cut it close in its 20-19 home victory over the Eagles. Baltimore will look for a more dominant showing on Monday night.
If you want to take the small spread for slightly better odds, feel free to. At one point on most sportsbooks — fluctuating no higher than two — you’re picking a winner in this one.
Harbaugh is 11-3 in Week 2 preseason games and obviously hasn’t lost a preseason game since 2015. While Ron Rivera boasts a near .500 career record in preseason games, those wins have come far and few between with Washington. The former Carolina coach is just 2-5 with the Commanders in the preseason.
Still, this will be a close game. The Browns boasted terrific quarterback play by rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, but the Commanders still conquered Cleveland in Week 1. A strong duo of Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson should give Baltimore’s secondary fits for as long as the receivers are in the game.
However, while Baltimore ended up in a nail-biter with Philadelphia, the Ravens’ Tyler Huntley remains one of the best preseason quarterbacks in recent memory. He continues to light it up across the field, and Josh Johnson is no slouch either when it comes to facing backups.
Baltimore also signed defensive end Jadeveon Clowney this week, who could get some introductory snaps against backup linemen. It’s not known if Jackson will start on Monday night. But frankly, the history of Baltimore in the preseason at close odds, plus the strength of Baltimore for three-quarters of play last week, makes this an easy selection.
The line rests at 38.5 on most books, a total the Commanders fell short of last week, and the Ravens narrowly exceeded. Then again, neither team was playing against each other.
Expect this to be incredibly close, as the spread suggests. Washington’s defense was impressive last week, and there shouldn’t be a far drop-off in ability even against Huntley. The Ravens won’t run the score up, and Washington’s backups won’t be pushing the needle overly far either.
There should be more play by the starters on both sides of the defense, and while the Commanders’ starters will get more run, it’s still asking a lot of the Commanders to run the board against Baltimore’s intriguing group of pass-rushers. If Washington can’t command the lead, the Ravens will dictate a slow-and-steady approach to this one.
Michael Sicoli has been writing about fantasy football and betting within the NFL space since 2020. He works as a writer and content creator with ClubFantasyFFL and runs an NFL defensive (IDP) newsletter with The IDP Guys. A graduate from Quinnipiac University, Michael is a long-time NFL fan with a love for soccer and the NBA.More info on Michael Sicoli
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