Ravens vs. Titans: The best betting props for Wild Card Weekend
The year of 1989 was a thriller.
Not only was the author of this piece born, but the original Batman hit the big screen, only to be outgrossed in the same year by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Paula Abdul had three singles hit No. 1 and Seinfeld debuted on TV.
It was also the year the 49ers went on that incredible 92-yard drive in three minutes to defeat the Bengals, 20-16, in Super Bowl XXIII.
Why are we talking about a game from 31 years ago? It’s the last time the NFL's top two rushing teams met in a playoff game. The Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans, the NFL’s most dominant rushing teams, will battle it out a Sunday’s Wild Card game.
Here are the four best prop bets to consider, as we get ready to settle in for a grueling encounter.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts
Derrick Henry rushing yards
Henry is the most dominant rusher in the NFL. He is an absolute beast, who has spent this season destroying smaller humans. Henry is just the eighth player to reach 2,000 yards rushing in a season.
But can the Ravens shut him down?
Baltimore has allowed an average of 108.8 rushing yards per game this season, but the opposition has run an average of 24 times per game against the Ravens, which is third-lowest average in the NFL.
The Ravens allow an average of 4.55 yards per carry, which ranks 22nd in the league. That’s the kind of stat Henry will feast on. Henry averages nearly 24 carries per game on his own, and an average carry of 5.36 has given him a yards-per-game total of 126.7. Along with Henry, only Dalvin Cook has averaged more than 89 yards per game this season.
Henry racked up 133 yards against the Ravens in Week 11, and he torched them for 195 yards in a playoff game last season.
Lamar Jackson passing yards
There are 21 quarterbacks who threw for more passing yards than Lamar Jackson this season. The Ravens signal caller hasn’t done much through the air this season, and the way Baltimore leans on the run game is evidenced by the fact that Jackson has attempted just 375 passes all year.
The Ravens averaged just 62 plays per game in the regular season and 56% of the time they opt to run. No team in the NFL runs as much as Baltimore does. In the last five games, Jackson has averaged just 20 passing attempts per game and has thrown for more than 183 yards just once.
There is an elephant in the room, though — the Titans defense. Tennessee has allowed 7.3 yards per pass attempt this season and has only 19 sacks, which is only better than the Jaguars (18) and Bengals (17).
Teams have not been shy to throw against the Titans, but I still fancy Jackson to dip under this line.
Corey Davis receiving yards
Corey Davis, D.J. Moore, A.J. Brown, Calvin Ridley, DK Metcalf, and Justin Jefferson are the only receivers this season with 65 catches or more and an average of at least 15 yards per catch. Not bad company to be in for both Titans wide receivers.
Davis ran riot when these teams met in the Week 11 game, with five catches for 113 yards, while Brown put in a solid four-catch, 62-yard effort. The Ravens have allowed just 6.39 yards per pass attempt this season (second fewest, behind the Rams), but quarterback Ryan Tannehill may only have to connect three or four times to beat this line.
Tannehill has averaged 7.9 yards per pass attempt — only Deshaun Watson, Kirk Cousins, and Aaron Rodgers have a better average — so the Titans QB isn’t afraid to take a deep shot, and Davis can be the main benefactor.
Davis has a 20% target share this season for the Titans and has had at least six targets in seven of the 11 games he has played since he returned from injury. Tannehill is going to mix it up when he can, and Davis has the talent to smash this line.
Marquise Brown receptions
While I don’t think Jackso is going to light up the box score with a huge passing performance, the line on "Hollywood" Brown is too low, and the Ravens No. 1 wide receiver should haul in at least four passes.
Brown put up an egg in the Week 11 clash with Tennessee, despite three targets from Jackson. However, since that catchless effort, Brown has caught at least four passes in five of six games and has seen a total of 41 targets.
Brown has seen 100 targets from Jackson this season, which equates to 26% of the quarterback’s throws. Tennessee has allowed an average of 26 completions per game this season. Only the Falcons, Bucs, and Seahawks allowed more. Although Jackson has averaged just 16 completions per game this year, a weak Titans pass defense may nudge that number up and should help Brown beat the line.