Thursday Night Football Prediction: Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins Best Bet

The Ravens take on the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football. How should we bet this matchup? NFL expert Ben Gretch gives you his prediction and pick.
Ben Gretch
Thu, November 11, 4:04 AM EST

Thursday Night Football Prediction: Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins Best Bet

  • Key Stat: Baltimore ranks third in the NFL in explosive play rate via the passing game. The Dolphins defense ranks just 26th in preventing explosive pass plays.

Thursday Night Football Ravens vs. Dolphins Complete Odds

Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins Preview and Prediction

Baltimore heads to Miami as 7.5-point favorites in an interesting game. Tua Tagovailoa was active this past week as the emergency backup and has gotten in limited practices this week, but reports have the Dolphins preparing for Jacoby Brissett to start, while still holding out hope Tagovailoa can improve enough before Thursday’s game.

It sounds like even if Tagovailoa were to start, his grip strength is not all the way there. Couple that with his up-and-down play so far in his young career, and it’s at least a little less likely he’d be able to rally the Dolphins’ offense. That’s notable because he has had flashes, while Brissett is mostly a replacement-level backup. If the Dolphins are going to contend in this game, Tua playing at a high level is probably their easiest path.

Miami will also be without several key skill players, including DeVante Parker and Will Fuller. While that duo has missed time over the past month-plus, Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki have stepped up as the top two options, but behind them it’s been guys like Mack Hollins running a lot of routes. Waddle and Gesicki have been up to the challenge, but with the running game also stumbling, the Dolphins have failed to hit 300 yards of offense in either of their past two games, and for the season rank 23rd in offensive success rate and 31st in explosive play rate. Baltimore’s defense has had a tendency to give up explosive plays, while rating well in success rate against. For the Ravens, a matchup with a team that really struggles to generate chunk plays is a perfect fit.

The matchups on the other side might benefit the Ravens even more. Miami ranks 26th at preventing explosive plays in the passing game, and the Ravens have thrived off them, hitting passing explosives at the league’s third-highest rate. Baltimore’s offense has been good in a variety of ways — they rank second in the NFL in yards per game, and rank highly in success rate both running and through the air — and Miami’s defense has been poor, notably giving up the third-most yards per game to opposing offenses.

The Dolphins did well to frustrate Josh Allen and the Bills a couple of weeks ago by sitting back in two deep shells and forcing him to throw underneath, but the Ravens are different from the Bills in one key way — the presence of a successful running game. Though Latavius Murray will be out again and Baltimore is down to Devonta Freeman as their lead back, Lamar Jackson provides so much cover with his unique abilities that Baltimore ranks highly in rushing success rate again this year, sitting at fourth in the league, and they are eighth in explosive rushing rate. That’s notable, because if the Dolphins do sit back to take away the potential for big passing plays, Baltimore can feast with a multifaceted rushing attack that has powered their offense for years.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins Picks

It’s always tough to lay points with a road favorite in a Thursday night game, but there are a few reasons why this week might be an exception. Baltimore has played just one game since their Week 8 bye, and they haven’t played a road game since October 3. Presumably, the short-week travel is a reason we sometimes see road teams underperform in Thursday games, but the Ravens haven’t traveled in over a month, and they had just their off week. This game certainly doesn’t come at a bad time in their schedule where they are at increased risk of being worn down or lethargic.

I’m on the Ravens -7.5. Baltimore should be able to threaten Miami’s limited defense in enough different ways to move the ball successfully, with the Dolphins essentially being forced to pick their poison. The Ravens’ defense has been shaky at times, but this version of the Dolphins’ offense shouldn’t be as much of a threat as some other recent opponents. I think Baltimore wins this one going away.

  • Pick: Baltimore Ravens -7.5 (+100)
Ben Gretch
@YardsPerGretch
Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.
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