The No. 1-seeded Baltimore Ravens will finally get to make their playoff debut this season against the Houston Texans in the divisional round.
Baltimore had a bye last week, and the team sat many of its starters in Week 18 of the regular season, which means it should be fresh – and healthy – for Saturday’s matchup.
Houston is coming off a thrilling win on NFL Wild Card Weekend where rookie quarterback CJ Stroud put together one of the best playoff performances by a rookie we’ve ever seen.
Now, the Texans are major underdogs on the road against the Ravens, who went 6-3 straight up at home this season. Can MVP favorite Lamar Jackson and company take care of business in this game?
As great as Jackson is, he’s only 1-3 straight up in his playoff career.
One of the hardest things to do in any NFL game is predict the final score, but if you bet on it, you could come away a huge winner if you guess the score correctly. I’m going to attempt to do that for this game, using the odds to guide me.
Let’s dive in:
Texans vs. Ravens odds, spread and total
Ravens score prediction
BetSided’s Iain MacMillan pointed out some interesting things about this game in his picks for this week in his Road to 272 bets.
“Both offenses in this match up poorly with the strengths of the opposing defense,” MacMillan wrote “For example, no team runs the ball more than the Baltimore Ravens with 50.28% of their plays being running plays. Now, they face a Texans defense that's second in opponent yards per carry (3.5), sixth in opponent rush EPA, and first in opponent rush success rate.”
Not only that, but the Ravens defense is also a bad matchup for Houston.
“On the other side of things, 72.1% of the offensive yards gained by the Texans come through the air, which is the second highest mark in the NFL,” MacMillan wrote. “Now they face a Ravens team that has arguably the best secondary in the league, ranking first in opponent yards per pass attempt (5.1), second in opponent dropback EPA, and fourth in opponent dropback success rate.”
Essentially this is a battle of strength on strength, which could lead to a lower scoring game. With the total set at 43.5 points, I’m leaning towards this game going under.
The Ravens are heavily favored in this game, but bettors may want to beware of betting on them to cover. Lamar Jackson has struggled against the spread when favored by more than a touchdown in his NFL career.
Plus, Houston has dominated as an underdog this season, going 7-3 against the spread overall and 4-1 as a road dog in 2023.
I like the Texans to hang around and keep this close, but defense may reign supreme. I can’t fade Baltimore in this one – the team has been solid at home – especially with the league’s best defense on its side.
Give me the Ravens to win a one-possession game to advance to the AFC title game.
Final score prediction: Ravens 23, Texans 17
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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Find Peter Dewey's betting record here.