4 Players to Watch When Betting on the 2020 Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens NFL Logo

The Baltimore Raven’s offense was the most explosive in the NFL in 2019, meaning some oddsmakers may inflate projected statistics onto the team and their quarterback, 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson, as they will be hot bets from now until the start of the regular season.

Lamar Jackson needs no introduction. He tore up the league in 2019, throwing for over 3,000 yards and rushing for over 1,200.

But can he have an encore season in 2020?

And if so, is he going to produce as well as some online oddsmakers believe he will?

This article outlines a stud, a sleeper, a stumbler and a rookie to watch for the mighty Baltimore Ravens in 2020. Whether you’re betting on player productivity or are looking at fantasy football projections, this is an article you’ll want to read.

1- Stud: Lamar Jackson, QB

2019 Statistics:

  • 265 completions
  • 401 passing attempts
  • 36 touchdowns
  • 8 interceptions
  • 176 carries
  • 1,206 rushing yards
  • 7 touchdowns

Jackson and the Raven’s revolutionary offense took the NFL by storm in 2019. Before the season, media pundits pegged either the Cleveland Browns or Pittsburgh Steelers to take the AFC North. And while the Ravens struggled early in the season, including a blowout loss to the Browns, they eventually found their rhythm.

Their leader?

Lamar Jackson, who led an offensive system not seen before in NFL circles, or at least to this extent. Jackson ran like Emmitt Smith and threw like Peyton Manning, amassing over 4,200 total yards through the air and on the ground.

Lamar Jackson QB Ravens

And defenses couldn’t stop him until the Tennessee Titans came to town and filled his favorite running lanes.

While Jackson is a great pick for fantasy owners, he may not be the best choice for betting the over. Jackson’s projections will be higher than normal in 2020 and it’s a risk to choose him as a stud.

However, he’s not a projected stumbler because he can easily adjust to what Tennessee did to him and his Raven’s offense during the divisional round of the AFC playoffs last season and return better than before.

Also, the Ravens had an outstanding offseason. In free agency, they hit defense hard, adding firepower to an already 4th-ranked defense. This means more 3 and outs for opposing offenses, more takeaways, and more opportunity for Jackson.

They drafted Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins in the 2nd round, giving Jackson another legitimate weapon out of the backfield.

They say the rich get richer and with Jackson they did.

But his rushing totals may come back to Earth. With Dobbins in the backfield, look for Jackson to throw more than he did in 2019. His rushing projections will be higher than they should be, but his projection for passing yards will be lower.

He’d be safe to bet the over on for passing yards, but be leery about putting too much faith in his running, even if it defined his ability in 2019.

I’m including Jackson’s projected 2020 statistics with this article. Derived from ESPN.com, you will gain decent insight into where you can expect oddsmakers to place Jackson in 2020.

Projected 2020 Statistics:

  • 293 pass completions
  • 461 pass attempts
  • 3,401 passing yards
  • 26 passing touchdowns
  • 10 interceptions
  • 167 carries
  • 966 rushing yards
  • 6 rushing touchdowns

2- Sleeper: Marquise Brown, WR

2019 Statistics:

  • 46 receptions
  • 584 yards
  • 12.7 yards per catch
  • 7 touchdowns

Marquise Brown has a stellar bloodline, being the younger cousin of former Steeler, Antonio Brown. Like his cousin, Brown is a small speedster but unlike Antonio he’s level-headed, meaning the Ravens can rely on him as his NFL career progresses.

Marquise Brown Ravens WR

Brown had numbers typical of a rookie about to make a leap from rookie season to sophomore season. Average production, akin to what receivers like Calvin Johnson and Josh Gordon provided during their rookie seasons.

The following year, both players lit up the NFL and Brown may become the team’s go-to receiver in 2020. Also, despite COVID-19 protocols, Jackson and Brown worked out together multiple times over the offseason along with Antonio, meaning the players will have a solid connection in 2020.

Especially when most NFL players trained in isolation during the offseason.

Also, ESPN is still predicting pedestrian numbers for Marquise Brown, so if oddsmakers follow, it’ll be a safe bet that he exceeds each projected statistic barring injury to either himself or Jackson. If you play fantasy, he’s a safe pick. If you bet on individual productivity, he’s an even safer pick.

No guarantees you’ll win this bet if you bet the over, but the way the Baltimore offense not only tore up the NFL in 2019, but the fact the Ravens continued to enrich both sides of the football shows that Brown’s poised to have a big year in 2020.

Especially with a rushing attack that will open passing lanes for Jackson to relay a strike to his potential top receiver.

Here are ESPN.com’s projected statistics for Brown.

Projected 2020 Statistics:

  • 58 receptions
  • 774 yards
  • 13.3 yards per catch
  • 6 touchdowns

3- Stumbler: Mark Ingram, RB

2019 Statistics:

  • 202 carries
  • 1,018 yards
  • 5.0 yards per carry
  • 10 touchdowns
  • 26 receptions
  • 247 yards
  • 5 touchdowns

Yes, Ingram will stumble in 2020 but it’s not taking away anything from Mark Ingram as a player. The fact is Ingram is heading into his 10th season and he’ll be 31-years-old by December. Also, the Ravens drafted Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins in the 2nd round, one of the best running backs in the 2020 draft class.

Ingram has a spot on the Ravens and he still has a spot in the NFL. He can play another 5 seasons and produce. But his numbers will dip in 2020 because Dobbins will take carries from him.

His soon-to-be declining role due to age will cause the dip in production especially when Dobbins gets hot. The faster Dobbins understands the NFL game, the more he’ll replace Ingram as the season progresses.

While it’s possible Dobbins can hit the ‘rookie wall,’ the wear on Ingram’s body going into his 10th NFL season provides no guarantee that he can keep up the rigors of a 17-week season.

If you’re a fantasy owner, he’s still a great pick but you’ll want to handcuff him with Dobbins since it’s a matter of when, not if, Dobbins takes over.

Ingram will still produce. He will get his 4.5 to 5.0 yards per carry. He might even sniff at 1,000 yards. But he won’t have the same season as in 2019.

Mark Ingram Ravens RB

He’d be a great player to bet an under if you’re betting at NFL online sportsbooks on player productivity. Many said this in 2019, but there wasn’t a successor drafted in the early rounds behind him.

Unless he’s an absolute bust in training camp and preseason, J.K. Dobbins will take production away from Ingram somewhere in 2020.

Again, it’s when, not if, barring a catastrophic preseason.

Here are Ingram’s projected statistics from ESPN and as of April 2020, they’re friendly toward those betting the under. Now that Dobbins is in Baltimore, check ESPN for updated statistics, which is why I’ve left a link to ESPN’s 2020 projections in this article.

They will update and it’s likely Ingram’s projected numbers will go down.

2020 Projections:

  • 196 carries
  • 910 rushing yards
  • 4.6 yards per carry
  • 8 touchdowns
  • 27 receptions
  • 213 passing yards
  • 1 touchdown

Again, look for the projection to drop as the Ravens get a fresh look at Dobbins in OTAs and minicamps, assuming they begin on time.

4- Rookie: J.K. Dobbins, RB

2019 statistics (at The Ohio State University):

  • 301 rushing attempts
  • 2,003 rushing yards
  • 6.7 yards per carry
  • 21 touchdowns
  • 23 receptions
  • 247 yards
  • 10.7 yards per reception
  • 2 touchdowns

Only one of the best running backs in all of college football in 2019 and as mentioned often in this article, the rich get richer.

Dobbins proved that point when he fell to the Flock at 55 overall. And now, he teams up with Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown to give the NFL arguably the best trio in football.

Look for Dobbins to be an immediate contributor to the young and talented Ravens offense. His presence will take the burden off Lamar Jackson who ran more often than an NFL quarterback should in 2019.

JK Dobbins Ravens Rookie RB

Dobbins is a 205lb scat back, yet he carries the workload of a player 25lbs heavier than he is. He’s more of a runner than he is a pass catcher, but given that Jackson’s suited well for options and dump-offs into the flats, don’t be surprised if Dobbins catches passes in the NFL.

His college reception statistics are comparable to Texans running back Duke Johnson, who in his early seasons in Cleveland was among the team leaders in receptions but was more of a pure running back in college and didn’t record many receptions.

As the offseason progresses into OTA’s and minicamps, look for Dobbins’ projected stats to become available. It’s likely oddsmakers will give Ingram the early nod from a productivity standpoint, so Dobbins’ initial projections may not be high.

Please Note:
This gives you an opportunity to outsmart oddsmakers, just make sure you watch his progress throughout the offseason prior to betting the over. If Dobbins is getting a lot of 1st team reps, he’d be a fantastic player to bet an over with.

Again, there are no guarantees he outperforms his projections, but it’s likely.

Conclusion

The only issue with the Ravens’ offense is that oddsmakers may inflate their odds and if you love to bet the over, you want to stay away from them.

However, if oddsmakers project the Ravens’ statistics to be like ESPN’s projections, betting the over may be a great bet for Jackson, Brown, and Dobbins while betting the under for Ingram might be a good way to go.

If you play fantasy football, Jackson makes a great keeper if you’re in a keeper league and he may be the top quarterback drafted in most leagues.

Also, handcuff Dobbins and Ingram, because Dobbins will take carries and production away barring anything catastrophic.

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Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.