The Baltimore Ravens were due for some injury luck after a historically awful season losing players last year.
Maybe that luck will come in 2023.
The Ravens might not have as many injuries last season, when they lost more games due to injury than any other team Football Outsiders has tracked in 20 years, but it's still bad. On Monday night the Ravens will be without top receiver Rashod Bateman, who is out for the season, top two running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards and tight end Mark Andrews, perhaps the most important skill-position player the Ravens have.
But they still have Lamar Jackson, and that's why they're favored.
The Ravens are 1.5-point road favorites at BetMGM against the New Orleans Saints, and that's a lot of respect to Jackson and Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
The Ravens are a very good team. They have led by double digits in every game this season, which speaks to their level. They've also blown three of those leads and lost, which highlights their flaws. Baltimore's offense has been good again, almost entirely due to Jackson, and the defense should get better. It adds top linebacker Roquan Smith in a trade from the Chicago Bears, and pass rushers Tyus Bowser and rookie David Ojabo have been practicing and could play on Monday. Not all the Ravens' injury news this week was bad.
The Saints are coming off their best game of the season, a shutout win over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 8. Maybe they're getting it together, especially on defense. The defense had been surprisingly average or worse all season. Was Week 8 the sign of a turnaround or just an isolated good game against a struggling Raiders team?
I'll stick with my pick from last week of the Ravens, but it's a lot of blind faith in Jackson dragging everyone around him up to his level. He has done it before though. It'll be a lot to overcome though.
Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
Any props for Monday night?
The offerings are slim, likely because of injury issues in the Ravens passing game. They are offering Devin Duvernay receiving yards at 43.5, and I'll take the over. The Ravens don't have much choice but to get him heavily involved, even if rookie tight end Isaiah Likely has another nice game in Andrews' place. The Saints will still be without top cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who is injured.
The under of 46.5 seems like the right side for Monday night, and I wouldn't get too ambitious with many overs on player props.
College basketball opening day!
College basketball starts on Monday and despite 73 games on BetMGM's board for opening day, it's likely you'll totally overlook the start of the season. That's because there's not one game between two top-65 teams in KenPom.com's preseason rankings. The best game is Memphis (-2.5) at Vanderbilt. The diehards will be happy to have college basketball back, but the powers that be haven't exactly figured out how to feature the sport on its opening day. But for those who want a quick primer for the season, we looked at 10 betting angles to note.
NBA has a full slate
There are 15 NBA games today, as the league plans to take Tuesday off for election day. The highlights on the slate include the Phoenix Suns (-2.5) at the Philadelphia 76ers, undefeated Milwaukee Bucks (-2.5) at Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics (-3.5) over Memphis Grizzlies and the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers (-3.5) at Los Angeles Clippers.
That's a lot of road favorites in those marquee games. Of those four home underdogs, I'd lean to the Hawks and Grizzlies getting points at home.
Three NHL games
If the NFL game and all that basketball isn't enough, there are three NHL games on Monday. We have St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins (-185), Calgary Flames (-115) at New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers (-145) at Washington Capitals.
What's the best bet?
I'll go with the under for Ravens-Saints because I think it'll turn into a defensive slog. To celebrate the start of college basketball, I'll also take Memphis -2.5 over Tennessee. Happy Monday.