There are 15 more games left to go in the opening week of the 2015 regular season, but only one of these bad boys can be named the best value on our NFL odds board.
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 12: 1-0 ATS; 1-0 Total
You know you've been waiting all summer for this. It's time for everyone's favorite awards presentation, the weekly Best Value on the Board show – aka the BeeVees. Only one team can claim this coveted award; we're looking for someone with as many of our desired attributes as possible, from the extra half-point on the NFL odds board to the undervalued players at under-appreciated positions on the football field.
The nominees are:
Baltimore Ravens (+4.5 away) vs. Denver
And the winner is... the Baltimore Ravens! Here to accept the first BeeVee of the 2015 campaign is owner Steve Bisciotti, who I believe has a musical number planned for us... what's that? We're being told Bisciotti was involved in an unfortunate Italian biscuit avalanche earlier today, so we'll have to hold onto his award until he recovers. Get well soon, Steve.
What makes the Ravens so tasty in this matchup against a Super Bowl contender? Getting more than a field goal helps, but Baltimore at +4.5 looks like even more of a bargain when the Elo Ratings at FiveThirtyEight have the Ravens “valued” at +3.5 for Sunday's contest (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS).
Baltimore is also the only team from our list of BeeVee nominees that wasn't getting faded right out of the gate. According to our consensus reports, early bettors were split 50-50 between the two teams when the spread was at four points. They remain roughly the same as we go to press. It would have been more encouraging to see more early support for the Ravens, but at least they were holding their own.
Shopping at SuperValu
Otherwise, this game has many of the earmarks of a classic value pick. Denver is a high-profile team with Peyton Manning at quarterback, while Baltimore is a small-market, Rust Belt franchise built largely on defense and running, with a game-manager QB type in Joe Flacco. The Ravens have yet to suffer a losing season under head coach John Harbaugh, who's also been one of the most profitable coaches in the league at 67-52-6 ATS, regular season and playoffs. Oh, and they won Super Bowl XLVII. Good times.
There's plenty to like about the Broncos in this matchup. Then again, we're dealing with a 39-year old quarterback playing behind an inexperienced offensive line, although the addition of Pro Bowl LG Evan Mathis should help out considerably. Nothing comes easy in the NFL, but from a betting value perspective, Baltimore is being given more opportunity to beat the football odds than any other team this week. And looky here – you can get the Ravens at +5 if you shop around. That's what my momma told me to do.
Free NFL Pick: Take the Ravens +5 at Bovada