Monday Night Football betting: Baltimore Ravens -4 at Las Vegas Raiders

Monday, 13 September 2021 16:58 EST

Now do you see the futility of betting in week 1? Going into Monday Night Football, underdogs in week 1 of the 2021 NFL season are 8-7 SU and 11-4 ATS. Of the *nine* games kicking off with a point spread of 3½ points or less, the so-called underdog was 7-2 ATS/SU.

And so with the huge dollop of humility now required of most NFL bettors, NFLbets considers the evil line for Monday Night Football:

Baltimore Ravens -4 at Las Vegas Raiders, over/under 51 points

As NFLbets dogma dictates, week 1 is when bettors and fans learn, what, 75% of everything they’ll know about each team by season’s end. So to bet this edition of MNF, NFLbets went to the historical record and considered the 35 MNF games played since 2001. (Remember way back when the NFL had a Monday night doubleheader in week 1? Yeah, man, ancient history…)

The most superficial of the stats are none too encouraging…

  • In the 35 Monday night games considered, home teams are 18-17 SU; and
  • the over is 18-17.

But a slightly deeper dig reveals seemingly more helpful infomraton.

  • Since 2001, home teams on Monday Night Football week 1 are 14-19-2 ATS;
  • favorites are 20-15 SU but a seriously bad 12-21-2 ATS;
  • favored visiting teams are 9-7 SU and 5-11 ATS; and
  • in games with point spreads of 2½ points or less, home underdogs are 5-1 SU/ATS.

With the unpredictably of week 1 in mind, these trends compel one to take the Raiders +4 and the Ravens on a money line (ML) bet at weak odds of -190 or so. But if you’re getting squeamish about covering the as-yet sight-unseen 2021 Las Vegas Raiders with their steadily eroding defense, you’re hardly alone – and one glaring trend backs you up nicely.

In short, we can say this: John Harbaugh – with possibly competition from Andy Reid – is probably the best NFL head coach in week 1. In his 13 seasons as head coach, Harbaugh has helped get his Ravens to a 10-3 SU/ATS rate in opening games. Gruden has won SU/ATS his last two opening day games, but in all games 1, his teams are just 5-9 SU/5-8-1 ATS.

Now fair enough, the Ravens will enter this game short RBs J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill and Gus Edwards, all going down to season-ending injuries in the past two weeks – but the 2020 Raiders had a bottom-3 defense in points allowed and turnovers generated as well as a bottom-10 run defense in virtually every statistical category.

Baltimore may hardly be world-beaters in 2021, but these particular Vegas bunch will have to prove that they can stop Lamar Jackson and Gruden that he can again coach on Harbaugh’s level in this game before NFLbets would throw money at the Raiders here. Take the Baltimore Ravens -4 at Las Vegas.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.