NFL Week 3 Betting Preview—Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions

Coming into the 2021 NFL season, there was not much in the way of expectations for the Detroit Lions. Even though the team is 0-2, you could make a case that they have exceeded the low bar set for them. How so? Because amazingly enough, they have been competitive in both games– and that was not expected. Fans must wonder if the Lions can do it again this week when they face another of the NFL’s best.

This week they face the Baltimore Ravens. Despite all the injuries, the Ravens offense looks as potent as ever. Their defense has not been as challenging as expected. But a game against a team like the Lions could be precisely what they are looking for.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions, Sunday, 9/26 @ 1:00 PM ET Best Ravens Odds   Best Lions Odds  
DraftKings -7.5 (-115) Spread +8.0 (-109) BetRivers
BetMGM -400 Moneyline +335 BetRivers
FanDuel Over 49.5 (-114) Total Under 50 (-105) DraftKings

Baltimore Ravens

For the Baltimore Ravens, it is all about the running game and the defense. Offenses have to be near perfect against the Ravens D. Defenses must be even better to have any hope of slowing down Lamar Jackson and the running game. While teams have succeeded against the Ravens, there is no set blueprint on how to do it. However, this season, the Ravens are looking both better than ever and a little more vulnerable.

With all the injuries in the backfield, the team is leaning just a little more on Jackson. But they managed to pick up DeVonta Freeman and Latavius Murray and have a talented rookie in Ty’Son Williams.

So far, they are not too far off the pace they set last year (35 rushing attempts/game), with a total of 75 between the two games played. But their production has ramped up to 220 yards/game despite losing their top running backs. They have even managed to improve their passing game from 171 yards/game to 223. But if the offense is playing better, then how come they are only 1-1?

Easy—because the defense is playing worse.

Two games in, they have the worst pass defense in the league (376 yards/game), one of the worst scoring defenses (34 points/game), and they are not getting much pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Stats at this stage of the season do not tell an accurate story of a team, though. But it is safe to say the Ravens offense is clicking while the defense is not.

Detroit Lions

Little was expected of the Lions coming into the 2021 NFL season, and with an 0-2 record, it appears that things might very well be on track for another disappointing season. However, their record does not tell the true story of how the Lions are playing this season.

Jared Goff got off to a slow start against the 49ers in Week One. But the offense started to move once he figured out what would work (short passes to his running backs and tight end). Once it finally did, they turned a 28-point deficit into an eight-point one. Against the Packers in Week Two, things got off to a solid start, including a 17-14 lead at the half. But mistakes opened the door for Aaron Rodgers to take over the game, which he did en route to a final score (35-17) that was not indicative of how challenging the game was.

Despite the lack of talent at wide receiver, Goff is finding a way to make the passing game work. Since they are often trailing, they do not run the ball as much. But when they do, the running backs are averaging a respectable 4.4 yards/carry.

Against the Ravens, it is unlikely the Lions have similar success running the ball. Defensively, it is hard to imagine the Lions slowing the Ravens down much (if at all). However, if they can get the passing game on track and put some points on the board, they may have a shot at an epic upset. A slim shot, but a shot, nonetheless.

Sports Betting Recommendation

It is hard to say (type) with a straight face that the Lions can beat the Baltimore Ravens. Any team can win on any given day, of course. But let’s be honest. The Lions defense does not stand a prayer against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense. Detroit’s only shot lies in Goff’s ability to get the offense on track early and keep it on track.

If they can go touchdown for touchdown with the Ravens, they could be in a position to steal a win late in the game. It is an unlikely scenario, but it is possible.

So—how should you bet?

The safe bet is on the Ravens to win via the moneyline, of course. Most would say the same about the point spread as well. But if you feel like rolling the dice, take the Lions to win against the spread. As for the total, reluctantly go with the over. Baltimore will run up the scoreboard but will not score enough to cover the over on their own. However, it is hard to say if the Lions will do enough on their end.

They might. But the Lions just as easily might not.

About the Author

Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver is a lifelong football fan, which he believes comes naturally as he hails from the football-crazy state of Texas. His love of sports, over the years, has grown to include basketball, baseball, rugby, and golf. Currently, life finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.