Lamar Jackson’s ankle has the Baltimore Ravens getting extra points on the NFL odds board for Sunday’s tilt with the Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay Packers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, December 19, 2021 – 4:25 PM EST at M&T Bank Stadium
Who are the most overrated teams in football? There aren’t too many offenders worse than the Green Bay Packers (10-3 SU, 11-2 ATS) and the Baltimore Ravens (8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS). According to Football Outsiders, the Packers have been good for 8.5 Estimated Wins this year, while the Ravens have only scraped together 6.1 EW – which should be pronounced “ewwwwww” for greater effect. This combined suckitude makes it harder to put either team in our Week 15 NFL picks.
So does the uncertain status of Ravens' QB Lamar Jackson; he’s listed as day-to-day with a sprained ankle, and he didn’t practice on Wednesday, prompting Baltimore to sign Josh Johnson off the New York Jets practice squad.
Naturally, the NFL odds for Sunday’s matchup are on the move. Green Bay has already steamed from –2 to –5.5 at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review), which might give us some profit margin on Baltimore – provided Jackson actually sits this one out in favor of back-up Tyler Huntley. Or we could just punt the whole thing and take the Under, although we might already be too late now that Heritage has dropped their total from 45.5 to 43.5.
The "Matador" Cover
Conveniently enough, the projections at FiveThirtyEight had Green Bay winning this game by two points, which lines up pretty well with the other numbers we’re scanning here at the ranch. So, we can boil this down to one question: Is Jackson worth 3.5 points more than Huntley? My old-school ‘capper sense tells me he isn’t, and that the betting public has over-reacted, as they typically do.
We don’t have much of a sample size on Huntley to work with, but he did appear to play quite well in his two games as a Jackson clone of sorts. The second-year quarterback from the Utah program got his first NFL start in Week 11, leading Baltimore to a 16-13 win over the Chicago Bears (+1 at home), then Huntley came in for the injured Jackson last Sunday and led them to a matador cover in their 24-22 loss to the Cleveland Browns (–3 at home). Not bad.
I’m Sorry, Mr. Jackson
A closer look at the advanced stats suggests otherwise. Football Outsiders have Huntley at minus-23.1 percent on their passing DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) metric, although the dual-threat QB makes up for it slightly with a plus-3.8 percent in rushing DVOA. Jackson, however, hasn’t performed that well himself, posting a minus-5.7 percent passing DVOA and minus-4.6 percent rushing DVOA.
There’s still a chance that Jackson plays on Sunday, and that might be enough to make Baltimore worth a flyer now that the NFL lines have moved this far. But even if he doesn’t, the drop-off from Jackson to Huntley doesn’t look as severe as the betting public might think. Bet accordingly, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.