Both the Dolphins and Ravens had outstanding offseasons; Miami bolstered their offensive line, and made a massive splash by bringing in generational wideout talent Tyreek Hill, while many consider Baltimore to have won the draft. After dominating their Week 1 opponents, these two teams will meet in an intriguing early-season AFC clash.
Let’s see what the odds are for Sunday’s game, and make some picks
Dolphins @ Ravens Odds
The Ravens are favored by 3.5 points in this one, which implies the interesting notion that, as they are most likely being spotted a couple of points for home field advantage, the books see these two teams as relatively even on a neutral field. Meanwhile, the points total is set at 43.5, which I see as a very good number for this game. Let’s look at the factors that can help us make a call on both of these lines
Dolphins vs Ravens Odds Prediction & Pick
I’m sure we all remember this matchup from a season ago- the first-place Ravens went down to visit a Miami team that was only 2-7, but beginning to gain momentum. It was supposed to be a blowout, but it didn’t play out that way; Miami’s defense, led by then-head coach Brian Flores, was able to stifle Baltimore to just two scores en route to a 22-10 win. The ‘Phins achieved this due in large part to a steady diet of zero-coverage safety blitzes, the most of any team in any game since 2015, and the Ravens had no response all game long.
Now of course, there’s a reason that this strategy didn’t spell the end of the Ravens’ offensive aptitude- the offensive mastermind duo of John Harbaugh and Greg Roman have since had plenty of time to plan a counter for this approach. But even though Flores is gone, much of that defense remains, and last year’s meeting will loom large in the minds of players and coaches on both sides.
This season, both teams have gotten off to hot starts. Miami thoroughly destroyed the Patriots with a stifling defense and new-look passing game, and the Ravens cruised by the Jets- neither team allowed their opponent to score double-digit points. Lamar Jackson announced the re-launching of his MVP candidates with an efficient three-touchdown performance, two of which were to Devin Duvernay, his new presumptive WR1.
Tua Tagovailoa linked up well with his new deep threat, Tyreek Hill, to the tune of 8 completions for 94 yards, and the one he’s played with since college, as he found Jaylen Waddle for a long touchdown. While both defenses are looking strong, I love both of these offenses this year, and certainly think an over that implies each team scoring around 20+ points is well within reach. Regarding the spread, Baltimore are the more dominant team, as well as playing at home- I’m confident they win by better than a field goal.
Dolphins vs Ravens Key Matchups
Check out the key matches up and mismatches for Dolphins vs Ravens below.
Dolphins Receivers vs. Ravens Secondary
The Dolphins, seemingly out of nowhere, have come into this season with one of the most explosive receiving corps in the whole league, after adding Tyreek Hill as their new top threat, and Cedrick Wilson for even more speed to compliment Hill and Jaylen Waddle. The Ravens, on the other hand, have benefitted from the strength of one of the best defenses in the league for several years, particularly their defensive backfield. Yes, it’ll be without star corner Marcus Peters, who has been among the very best in the league at times, but they’re still led by a stout safety of Marcus Williams and Chuck Clark, who were the top two tacklers on the team last week against the Jets. Marlon Humphrey is still around as well, as he will anchor the Corner group with Peters down for the count. This matchup, in all likelihood, is the one that will decide the game itself- will the receivers be able to create some space and give Tua a chance, or will the Ravens pass defenders just be too dominant to move the ball on?
Dolphins defense vs. Lamar Jackson
Normally I’d discuss a battle between two position groups, one between two players, or even between a player and an opposing position group- but stopping the Ravens’ electrifying double-threat QB is truly a team effort. All eyes will be on the front seven- the Ravens don’t really have much of a receiving corps, so Xavien Howard and co. should be up to the task of at least somewhat limiting Jackson through the air in dropback or rollout scenarios. But if he’s able to run the ball effectively, and even set up some passing lanes through improvisation, the Ravens could really get cooking on offense. So, Miami will rely on the contributions of defensive mainstays Emmanuel Ogbah, who led last year’s team in sacks and QB hits, and Christian Wilkins, who registered a team-high 10 tackles for loss a year ago. They’ll be joined by newcomers, such as Melvin Ingram and the intriguing Trey Flowers; all of these front-seven players and more will be key in containing Jackson’s unique athleticism and helping the Dolphins control the game.