The Denver Broncos (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) have run the table to open the season heading into their home matchup with the Baltimore Ravens (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) on Sunday. However, the Broncos’ first three opponents are a combined 0-9 SU, and Baltimore is coming off a historic win in Detroit.
Can Teddy Bridgewater move to 39-13-1 ATS in his career or do Lamar and Co. go into Mile High as a one-point dog and pick up the win?
Here are our free NFL betting picks and predictions for Ravens vs. Broncos for Sunday, October 3.
Ravens vs Broncos odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
Baltimore was a one-point favorite on the look-ahead but after failing to cover versus the Lions last week, Denver opened as a slight 1.5-point favorite. That number has dipped down and is basically a pick‘em at this point. The total opened at 45.5 and got as low as the key number of 44 before Over money brought it back up to a flat 45.
Ravens vs Broncos picks
Picks made on 9/30/2021 at 12:59 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Ravens vs Broncos game info
• Location: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
• Date: Sunday, October 3, 2021
• Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
• TV: CBS
Ravens at Broncos betting preview
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NFL weather info.
Ravens: J.K. Dobbins RB (Out), Justice Hill RB (Out), Gus Edwards RB (Out), Ty'Son Williams RB (Out), Marcus Peters CB (Out), Ronnie Stanley T (Out), Derek Wolfe DL (Out), DeShon Elliott S (Out).
Broncos: K.J. Hamler WR (Out), Jerry Jeudy WR (Out), Ronald Darby CB (Out), Josey Jewell LB (Out), Bradley Chubb LB (Out), Graham Glasgow G (Out), Dalton Risner G (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Ravens are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Find more NFL betting trends for Ravens vs. Broncos.
Ravens vs Broncos predictions
Baltimore +1 (-110)
The Broncos have enjoyed a cupcake schedule (NYG, JAX, and NYJ) to open the 2021 season but now Lamar Jackson and Ravens are coming to town, having gone through hell to sit at 2-1 SU. The Ravens lost to the Raiders as three-point favorites to open the season in a game they could have won, then knocked off the Chiefs on a short week and needed a record-setting 66-yard field goal in Week 3 to beat the Lions in a game where Marquise Brown dropped three TDs. Denver has yet to face a decent offense, so we can throw all of their Top 5 defensive numbers out the window.
Denver still has an elite secondary, but with the injury to Ronald Darby on top of injuries to linebackers Bradley Chubb and Josey Jewell, this may be a defensive unit that could struggle to contain Jackson, who is now leading the rushing attack with all the injuries Baltimore has sustained in the backfield. Jackson is averaging 83 rushing yards per game on 12.3 carries. Baltimore leads the league again in yards per rush (5.7) and will give Denver its first real test this season.
Baltimore’s defense was a talking point after two weeks but it held the Lions to 17 points last week on 4.8 yards per play. Cornerback Jimmy Smith returned in Week 3, which was a massive boost to the secondary, and in Week 4 the D-line will get some help with NT Brandon Williams suiting back up.
This Denver offense doesn’t move the needle for us, as injuries to WRs Jerry Jeudy and now K.J. Hamler hurt the passing game while guards Graham Glasgow and Dalton Risner are questionable. Both guards have played big roles on the O-line and their absences would weaken the Denver offensive line substantially.
This Baltimore offense is better than it looked last week and conversely the Broncos’ numbers — both on offense and defense — are inflated by terrible opponents. The Ravens are coming off a huge win over K.C. and a dramatic win last week. Confidence is contagious and getting healthy bodies back on the defense is enough to push the edge to Baltimore.
Over 45 (-110)
The Ravens have been efficient in the red zone and have scored TDs in seven of their eight trips inside the 20 this season, while their defense has allowed six TDs on 10 attempts. We’re looking at Denver’s red zone defense with a grain of salt, as it has had just three RZ possessions against this year. Lamar should be able to pick up chunks of yards with an injured middle linebacker in Jewell who was Pro Football Focus's No. 4 ranked LB.
Sammy Watkins has been a great addition to the Baltimore offense, as he has at least seven targets and four catches in each game this year. The combination of him, Brown, TE Mark Andrews — who finally got going last week — and Lamar’s rushing will give this Denver defense something it hasn’t seen this year.
Offensively, there isn’t a ton to love about Denver, but Teddy Bridgewater is averaging 8.7 yards per pass (tied for eighth) and has yet to turn over the ball. He has been forced to throw to Courtland Sutton with the injuries to his pass catchers, but the two have generated nearly 200 yards on 15 grabs over the last two weeks. Baltimore has a Top-10 run defense by DVOA, so perhaps Vic Fangio will want to air it out against a Baltimore secondary that has allowed nearly 1,000 passing yards through three weeks. Denver has also generated 14 RZ trips to begin the year, which is tied for the second-most in the league.
This could be the lowest total we get with Baltimore until mid-November versus the Bears.
Ravens team total Over 22.5
The Ravens put up 27 points and 406 yards against a very underrated Las Vegas defense in the opener. Then Lamar went toe-to-toe against the Chiefs’ terrible defense before getting some bad luck in Detroit last week, missing out on some free points. The Ravens have the sixth-best yards per pass rate (8.7) and lead the league in yards per rush at 5.7. The RZ offense has scored in seven of eight trips inside the 20 and this could be a perfect spot against a Denver defense that is being hyped without playing anyone good.
Offensively, Baltimore matches up well against the Broncos, who have a better pass defense than run defense, and the loss of Jewell is big in containing Jackson. The Ravens have scored at least 14 points in 46 straight games and could really move up the power rankings with a convincing win in Colorado.
Jackson and Baltimore scored at least 20 points in 14 of 16 games a season ago and topped 22 points in each of their 11 wins in 2020. The receiving group is better in 2021 with the addition of Watkins, and Jackson’s offense is also one play away from banging out six points. The Denver defense is going from Wilson last week to the 2019 MVP. If we’re backing the Ravens then we’re definitely getting behind this team total that sits just under the import number of 23.
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