Baltimore Ravens Are Not A Lock To Make The Playoffs

December 22, 2020

With how Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens blew through the regular season last year, it was considered a given that they would be back in the chase this year as well.

Why wouldn’t they be? Lamar Jackson should be better in his second full year as a starter. The defense is going to be dominant. There was no reason to think they would not be in the hunt.

But things have not gone as well this year as last. They lost their first game to the Kansas City Chiefs early on, which the Chiefs dominated. Pittsburgh edged them out in a tough battle in Week Eight.

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What really hurt, though, was the three-game losing streak from Week 10-12. It is worth noting, though, that a Covid-19 outbreak aided the losing streak.

At 6-5, their playoff outlook was not great, but then they won three in a row (Dallas, Cleveland, and Jacksonville). Oh—and they looked pretty darn good in the process; a lot like a team ready for a playoff run.

However, at 9-5, they are on the outside looking in (8-seed). The Miami Dolphins, who are also 9-5 and the current 7-seed, own the tiebreaker. So, you would think the Ravens odds would not be great—but they are.

According to the oddsmakers at PointsBet Sportsbook, the Ravens’ odds to make the playoffs are -1250 and +750 to miss. That means they have a 92.59 percent chance of making it and just an 11.76 percent chance of missing.

With odds like that, their path to the postseason must be a relatively easy one.

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How the Baltimore Ravens Make the Playoffs

For a team on the outside looking in, it is surprising the odds are so heavily in their favor. Not only do they have to win out, but they must count on getting some help from another team.

That alone should make their odds of getting in a little more challenging.

However, with their schedule and the schedule of some of their playoff competitors, it is not hard to see why the odds are what they are.

First off, the Ravens do have to win out. But with the schedule the Ravens have, that should not be too hard. They are 11-point favorites against the New York Giants this week.

Chances are good they are going to be heavy favorites against the Cincinnati Bengals next week.

The Giants and Bengals have both upset playoff contenders in recent weeks, so there is a chance either could upset the Ravens. It would be quite a surprise if they did.

But just finishing the season with an 11-5 record may not be good enough to get them in this year. There are several scenarios, however, which could get them in.

The easiest would be the Miami Dolphins losing one of its final two games. Miami is favored against the Las Vegas Raiders this week by three, which means the game could easily go either way.

It looks like Marcus Mariota will start for the Raiders this week; his inexperience in the offense could give the Dolphins a boost.

Beating the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 is a tall order. However, if the Bills lock down the 2-seed this week—which is entirely possible – Buffalo could rest a lot of people against the Dolphins. But if they do, it will not be hard to see Miami win that game.  

Should the Indianapolis Colts go 1-1 in their final two games, the Ravens could sneak in because they own the tiebreaker. It is unlikely the Jaguars beat the Colts in Week 17. That means the Ravens will have to count on the Steelers to hand Indianapolis a loss this week.

The same situation applies to the Cleveland Browns if they lose one of their final two (against the Jets or Steelers).

The Tennessee Titans own the tiebreaker with the Ravens. So, they will need Tennessee to lose both remaining games (against Green Bay and Houston).       

So – How Should You Bet?

Betting Play: Baltimore Ravens to miss the playoffs.

Baltimore will take care of its end by beating the Giants and Bengals, but they may not get the help they need from the Colts, Browns, or Dolphins. All three teams have played well in recent weeks and are going to be tough to beat.

Miami is the one most likely to fall, but that is only if the Bills do not wrap up the 2-seed this week. Buffalo should beat the New England Patriots this week. The Colts are favored to beat the Steelers.

With Pittsburgh has played lately, it could be an easy win for Indianapolis.

If the Ravens are counting on the Steelers to beat the Browns or the Titans to lose both remaining games—well, that may be wishful thinking.

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