Game time: 8:15 p.m. ET, Sept. 13, 2021
Venue: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Where to watch: ESPN
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Ravens -4; O/U 51.5; Ravens -220, Raiders +180
BetMGM: Ravens -4.5; O/U 51.5; Ravens -200, Raiders +165
Caesars: Ravens -4; O/U 51; Ravens -220, Raiders +180
2020 season record
Ravens: 11-5 (2nd place, AFC North; lost Divisional Round at Bills)
Raiders: 8-8 (2nd place, AFC West)
Ben Burns WON BIG in the preseason, as per usual. His two biggest plays involved the Patriots and the Dolphins. His #1 SIDE was on the Giants when they covered against the Patriots. His #1 total was on the Dolphins/Falcons 'over' the total. Those teams hook up for Week 1 in an important divisional matchup. Catch Ben’s and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.
Ravens - Raiders preview and analysis
Allegiant Stadium will be open to fans in primetime for the first time.
For the opening act, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens come to Sin City to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football.
It’s going to be the first game that counts with fans in the building for the Raiders since moving from Oakland last year. The Raiders went 8-8 last year, the first time they went .500 or better since 2016. So if there’s hope for Jon Gruden to make the Raiders a playoff team, this might be the time.
This won’t be an easy season for the Raiders to take that next leap in the AFC West, for as long as the Kansas City Chiefs remain dominant and the Los Angeles Chargers on the rise with the reigning Rookie of the Year.
The pressure rests on Derek Carr to build off his career season in 2020, throwing for 4,103 yards and 27 touchdowns; it was his third consecutive season Carr threw for 4,000 yards. The only players to throw more yards in their first seven seasons than Carr are Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan and Dan Marino.
Carr will have top target Darren Waller back after a career-high 107 catches for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns. Waller became the third tight end in league history to reach those marks in a single season. Defenses will be more aware of Waller this season, which puts eyes on receivers Hunter Renfrow and Henry Ruggs. Speedster John Brown joins the fray as a dangerous weapon in the slot.
But it’s the Raiders’ defense that will be tasked with slowing down the dynamic Ravens quarterback. Las Vegas signed Yannick Ngakoue after spending last season with Minnesota and Baltimore, pairing him on the defensive line with last year’s sack leader Maxx Crosby.
The two defensive ends will be tasked with slowing down Jackson inside and outside the pocket. The former NFL MVP had his second 1,000-yard rushing season in 2020, totaling 3,762 yards and 33 touchdowns to lead Baltimore to its first playoff win since 2014.
Sammy Watkins joins the Baltimore offense and gives Jackson another dynamic playmaker to join Hollywood Brown and tight end Mark Andrews. Now with a Super Bowl ring after playing in Kansas City, Watkins becomes the reliable veteran that can play both the short and long passing game.
All of the Raiders’ four primetime games last season went down to the wire. Only one was a win; Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints in their first game at Allegiant on Monday Night Football. Don’t underestimate the ability of playing well in front of a packed crowd on Monday night for the first time. The underdog Raiders are going to play fired up and match Baltimore step-for-step. Raiders win 30-27.
The Ravens are 12-4 in their last 16 road games against the spread, and 18-9 straight up in their last 27 conference games.
The over is 8-2 in the Raiders’ last 10 games in a dome. As a home dog, Las Vegas is 4-5 in its last nine.
Players to watch
Ravens: With J.K. Dobbins out for the year, Gus Edwards is expected to be the primary back in Baltimore. He is one of four running backs since 2018 to average at least five yards per carry.
Raiders: As Vegas continues to figure out its passing game identity, Josh Jacobs is coming off a second 1,000-yard season in two pro years. Another 1,000-yard season would make him the first back to do that since Alfred Morris.
Statistical leaders from 2020
Passing: Lamar Jackson -- 2,757 yards, 26 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Lamar Jackson -- 1,005 yards, 7 TD
Receiving: Marquise Brown -- 769 yards, 8 TD
Defense: Patrick Queen -- 106 tackles
Passing: Derek Carr -- 4,103 yards, 27 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Josh Jacobs -- 1,065 yards, 12 TD
Receiving: Darren Waller -- 1,196 yards, 9 TD
Defense: Maxx Crosby -- 7 sacks
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