NFL Week 7 Leveraging Tails: Bet on the Detroit Lions to take down the mispriced Baltimore Ravens

2RREJD7 Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) acknowledges the Lions fans as time runs out in their win over the Kansas City Chiefs in an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

• Two very different teams: The Baltimore Ravens might be 3-point favorites, but if we look at how well each team has moved the ball, there is a clear gap on offense between these two teams.

• Expect the Lions to take advantage: The Ravens are being priced as the better team despite serious questions on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, the Lions are healthy in the passing game and have been consistently good on offense for two seasons.

• Get $200 in bonus bets: New FanDuel customers who bet $5 or more receive $200 in bonus bets. Join FanDuel today!

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Many bettors place wagers in multiple markets — spreads, totals, teasers, props, etc. — where they generally get oriented by following a bottom-up approach: “Which spreads do I like?” or “Which totals stand out this week?”

However, the goal in this space is to follow a top-down approach. We will take a deep dive into one game a week and consider how bettors can best apply a specific theory on a team, player or trend and capitalize on it in the betting market.

Some bets will track more traditional markets, but we will more often look to maximize our upside in the multitude of different markets offered by sportsbooks.

Best Bets

QB Jared Goff 250+ passing yards & Detroit Lions -2.5 (+400)
QB Jared Goff 300+ passing yards & Detroit Lions -5.5 (+1425)

• The Baltimore Ravens might be 3-point favorites, but if we look at how well each team has moved the ball, there is a clear gap on offense between these two teams.

• The Detroit Lions offense is close to the 80th percentile in terms of efficiency, whereas the Ravens sit close to the 35th percentile. And despite their low offensive efficiency so far this season, the market is pricing Baltimore as the 10th-best offense in the NFL.

• While Baltimore has the edge on defense — though Detroit has been well above average in this regard — it is worth noting two facts. Firstly, great offense beats great defense in the modern NFL. Secondly, perhaps more importantly, the Ravens have faced arguably the easiest schedule of opposing offenses this season.

• The Ravens played C.J. Stroud in his first game, the 26th-ranked Cincinnati Bengals, an 18th-ranked Indianapolis Colts team that fielded backup QB Gardner Minshew, a 31st-ranked Cleveland Browns that fielded backup QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the 32nd-ranked Steelers and the 21st-ranked Tennessee Titans quarterbacked by Malik Willis for a quarter and a half.

• The market pricing implies that the Ravens' defense ranks behind only the San Francisco 49ers‘ and Cleveland Browns‘, so there is value in projecting that much of that is down to the sample of opposing teams completely different from Detroit.

Matchup Angles

• In part because of their schedule, the Ravens have the fourth-highest perfect coverage rate, doing so 46% of the time.

• However, Detroit has forced coverage mistakes at the sixth-highest rate in the NFL, as teams have covered only 32% of the Lions' passing plays perfectly.

• As we have studied at PFF, perfect coverage numbers are driven more by offense than anything else. And now that Detroit has a fully healthy receiver room, the team should force plenty of coverage mistakes and diminish the base rates of perfect coverage the Ravens have become accustomed to.

• Further, both of these teams are fairly dominant against the run, ranking top-seven in both rushing expected points added (EPA) allowed and rushing success rate allowed.

• This should mean plenty of third-and-longs and obvious pass sets for both teams as they struggle to establish the run.

• In these obvious passing situations, Detroit has a far bigger advantage, averaging nearly 0.2 EPA per play more and producing a slightly higher success rate.

The Bottom Line

The Ravens are being priced as the better team despite some serious questions on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, the Lions are healthy in the passing game and have been consistently good on offense for two seasons.

I bet this Ravens team is more unsteady than the market assumes. If the Lions are going to win, it will almost certainly come from Goff playing above market expectations, making this the angle to attack.

Betting Featured Tools
  • PFF's Best Bets Tool reveals the bets PFF's data and algorithms give the biggest edge to within spread, total, player prop, and moneyline markets.

    Available with

  • PFF's Player Props Tool reveals betting opportunities within player prop markets.

    Available with

  • Power Rankings are PFF’s NFL power ratings based on weekly player grades in each facet of play. These power rankings are adjusted based on coach, quarterback and the market each season.

    Available with

  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NFL game.

    Available with

  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NCAA game.

    Available with

Subscriptions

Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
OR
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit