A blockbuster AFC showdown is on the cards for Sunday night as the Kansas City Chiefs descend on the Baltimore Ravens for primetime football. The Chiefs rallied to win Week 1 over the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium, kicking off their 2021 campaign with an all-important DUB. The Ravens, on the other hand, bottled it in an overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in their season opener.
Consequently, the contrasting fortunes of these AFC rivals has impacted the betting. The Chiefs were inspired and that has them opening as the considerable -3.5 road chalk. Up from last week’s early lookahead line that had the Chiefs pegged as the nominal 1-point road fave. Some top-rated sportsbooks have the Chiefs priced as high as -4.
Do the markets have it right? Are the Chiefs the better bet for NFL picks in this pivotal matchup between the Chiefs and Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium? Or is this just a kneejerk reaction to the results of Week 1? Turning the tide of opinion against the Ravens, prematurely.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, September 19, 2021 – 08:20 PM EDT at M&T Bank Stadium
Patrick Mahomes Looks to Improve to 4-0 Against Lamar Jackson
Patrick Mahomes’ record against Lamar Jackson is unequivocal. It’s not up for debate, even; his dominant 3-0 record against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, which includes a combined 22-point margin of victory, settles the question about which quarterback is the best. And this weekend, Mahomes will be eyeing his fourth-straight win over Jackson and Co. on primetime NFL action – an outcome the oddsmakers are backing with the NFL odds.
The first meeting came in 2018 when the pair made their respective NFL debuts. It was the closest meeting, but the Chiefs triumphed 27-24 in overtime. The second meeting resulted in a 33-28 win for the Chiefs in 2019, and last season, the Chiefs absolutely crushed the Ravens in a 34-20 beatdown at the M&T Bank Stadium.
Lamar Jackson topped the Madden’s 100 players list in 2020 after setting the league ablaze in 2019, leading the Baltimore Ravens to a stellar 14-2-0 record and winning the regular season MVP award by unanimous vote. Mahomes, though, flush of a maiden Super Bowl victory – accomplished in only his second year as an NFL starter – had landed at No.4 on the NFL’s top 100 players list Whether Mahomes was affronted by his ranking, is impossible to know for certain. However, when he passed for his fourth touchdown in the Chiefs’ 34-20 win over the Ravens last season, he was seen counting up to four on his hand as he celebrated the score. In the end, Mahomes finished the night with 5 touchdowns (four passing and one rushing).
Chiefs are Kryptonite to the Ravens
After taking a third loss to the Chiefs last season, Lamar Jackson famously said, “the Chiefs are our kryptonite.” Granted his comment came when he was down and flush off his worst loss to the Chiefs in three meetings. That provides some context for the loaded statement, seemingly void of any optimism or hope for better results against Mahomes and the Chiefs in the future. Then again, to be fair, he wasn’t too far off. It was evident to anyone watching the game just how wide the gap between Mahomes and Jackson was at the time. This isn’t to say that Jackson isn’t a great quarterback. It’s simply an observation, which underscores the fact that Lamar has yet to reach the levels Mahomes has reached in his short career.
Will he reach the heights that Mahomes has reached? That’s another debate, entirely. But if Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season is any indication, the prognosis isn’t promising for the near future. The Ravens went into MNF as the clear road faves across multiple sports betting platforms, only to suffer a 33-27 overtime loss at Allegiant Stadium.
Jackson and the Ravens had a number of chances to put away the Raiders and take the win on Monday night, but they failed at the time of asking a number of times, including overtime when Jackson, with the game on the line, fumbled the ball.
Jackson’s inability to close games against better opponents or, even, win games after falling 10-points (or more) behind is one of the main criticisms that’s levied against the fourth-year quarterback. Jackson did finally lead the Ravens in a come-from-behind win against the Titans in the wildcard round of the playoffs. But doing it once is hardly a ringing endorsement or a sign of a turnaround.
NFL Betting Predictions
To look at the contrasting fortunes of the Chiefs and the Ravens in Week 1 is telling. If it were to come down to a choice of quarterbacks when the game is on the line, the choice has to be Mahomes. Mahomes each and every single time until Jackson can prove otherwise. And it’s this comparison between these two exciting young quarterbacks that underlines the market for this game and the ensuing NFL pick.
Mahomes is the X-factor. He can runa way with games in the blink of an eye or rally his side to victory while erasing points-deficits with frightening ease and speed. As such, Mahomes and the high-octane Chiefs offense, priced at -3.5 against the spread, might be a total steal bet for Week 2 NFL picks. The Chiefs will be buoyed by their brilliant victory over the Browns while the Ravens will be a touch desperate after suffering a loss to the Raiders.
NFL Picks: (visit our Sportsbook Review)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.