- The Ravens are 3-point home favorites against the Chiefs.
- Baltimore captured a 34-10 win in the divisional round vs. Houston.
- Patrick Mahomes is historically brilliant as an underdog.
Ahead of Sunday’s AFC Championship in Baltimore, I’m here to offer a Ravens vs. Chiefs prediction.
Baltimore showed no signs of rust in the divisional round against Houston, capturing a 34-10 win thanks to an outstanding second half.
As for Kansas City, Patrick Mahomes claimed his first road playoff win of his career as a 2.5-point underdog against the Bills.
Here’s a look at NFL betting lines for Sunday’s game, along with my bets for the contest.
Ravens vs. Chiefs Betting Odds
- Baltimore Ravens Moneyline: -210
- Kansas City Chiefs Moneyline: +170
- Game Spread: Baltimore Ravens -3.5
- Game Total: 44.5 Points
Ravens vs. Chiefs Betting Predictions
Ravens-Chiefs Total Under 44.5 Points (-110)
I’m not going to let two overs in the divisional round sway me from the fact both teams have proved under breadwinners all season.
Prior to their 27-24 win in Buffalo, the Chiefs finished 5-13 to the under in their first 18 games.
I question if they will replicate their offensive performance against Buffalo in Baltimore, who finished the regular season first in defensive DVOA, per ftnfantasy.com.
Baltimore also ranks second in defensive EPA per play, second in dropback EPA per play, and first in opponent offensive touchdowns allowed (1.3).
That should set them up for success against Kansas City, a better offense through the air.
In Weeks 1-17 and the playoffs, the Chiefs ranked ninth in dropback EPA per play compared to 22nd in rush EPA per play.
At the same time, Baltimore’s preferred offensive game plan is to run the ball.
At 51.01%, the Ravens call the most run plays in the league.
I worry immensely about the Chiefs run defense – they ranked 30th in rush EPA per play between Weeks 1-17 and the playoffs – but Baltimore’s strategy should burn clock and limit explosive plays.
Add in the fact outdoor postseason games featuring a non-divisional matchup are 58.8% to the under since 2013-14 and I’ll grab this now before it moves down to another key number.
Baltimore Ravens 1H Spread (-3, -115) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The more I researched this game, the more I wasn’t going to let Baltimore’s first-half performance last week sway me from betting this market.
The only reason Baltimore failed to cover the first-half spread last week? A fluky Texans punt return for a touchdown.
If not for that occurrence, the Ravens likely cover this number.
Plus, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has proved outstanding against the spread in the first half during his career, especially this season.
He’s 51-29-2 ATS in the first half for his career, including 13-4 ATS in the first half this season.
Just this season as a favorite, he’s 11-4 ATS in the first half.
That does not bode well for the Chiefs, who are 8-10 ATS in the first half this season, including 2-7 ATS on the road.
Finally, history says home teams in the championship round tend to start strong.
Home favorites in the AFC and NFC Championship games that were home favorites in the divisional round are 16-10-2 ATS.
When the spread is -3 or shorter, they’re 10-4 ATS.
Add in the Ravens have an extra day’s rest over the Chiefs, and I’ll lay this number so long as it stays at -3 or lower.
Lamar Jackson Over 9.5 Rush Attempts (-140) vs. Chiefs
It’s a high price to lay with Jackson, but there’s evidence supporting him clearing it.
In the divisional round against the Texans, Jackson rushed 11 times for 100 yards. Now he faces a Chiefs defense that struggles to defend the run.
Sample games 1-17, along with their two playoff games and bettors, will find the Chiefs ranked 30th in rush EPA per play and 22nd in rushing success rate.
Conversely, the Ravens are second and third in the corresponding offensive categories.
Plus, the Chiefs have played four games this season against teams with a quarterback who’s attempted 100 or more rushes this season.
In those contests, they’ve allowed all four to clear this number while allowing 11.25 attempts per game.
Jackson sits second league-wide in rushing attempts per game – behind only Jalen Hurts, who has the tush-push available – so I’ll back him to clear this number on Sunday.
Patrick Mahomes Over 36.5 Passing Attempts (-110)
Mahomes has recently stayed under this number, but I expect a pass-heavy game script for the Chiefs in Baltimore.
Even when you take into account the fact Mahomes has stayed under this number in two of his last three games, it’s worth noting he’s 11-7 to the over for the season.
Plus, there’s a trend in Ravens games where they allow dominant pass teams to throw the ball.
In seven games against teams 10th or better in pass offense DVOA – the Chiefs are eighth – Baltimore allowed 40.4 attempts per game.
Of those seven contests, they allowed four quarterbacks – Jared Goff, C.J. Stroud, Matthew Stafford and Tua Tagovailoa – to clear this number on their own.
In a fifth – at San Francisco – they surrendered 46 combined attempts to Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold.
Just in the former four-game sample, Baltimore’s passing attempts allowed average rises to 44 attempts per game.
Thus, if Mahomes clears this number, it will likely be with room to spare. Add in Baltimore’s prowess against the run, and bettors should expect a heavy workload for the two-time MVP.
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