49ers-Ravens and other Monday Night betting odds, picks, tips

ByESPN Betting and Fantasy Analysts ESPN logo
Monday, December 25, 2023

Week 16 of the 2023 NFL season wraps up Monday night with three games on Christmas Day, including one of the biggest matchups of the year as the Baltimore Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers. Aside from that game, the Las Vegas Raiders face the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles.

What can we expect from a betting standpoint?

Betting analysts Eric Moody, Seth Walder, Tyler Fulghum and Aaron Schatzprovide their thoughts.

Note: Odds by ESPN BET

Ravens at 49ers (-6, 46.5). Are you sold on the 49ers as the best team in the NFL, and how are you betting this game?

Schatz: I'm driving the Baltimore Ravens bandwagon, because my DVOA stats have Baltimore higher than any other advanced metric does. And yet, even I am leaning towards the 49ers in this game because of specific matchups. For example, Baltimore is the No. 1 run offense by DVOA, but the 49ers' run defense has improved in the second half of the season. Lamar Jackson throws in the middle of the field 25% of the time, one of the highest rates in the league, and San Francisco has the best pass defense in the NFL against middle passes. Meanwhile, the Ravens' defense allows 0.8 more yards per play in base than in nickel, and the San Francisco offense is designed to make you play base. Since Week 10, the 49ers have had the best defense in the league and the Ravens have only been 11th. Everything is trending the 49ers' way, so 49ers -6.

Fulghum: Since coming out of their Week 9 bye, the San Francisco 49ers have won six consecutive games by 12 points or more. Over the past 25 years, only the 1999 Rams (7) and the 2007 Patriots (8) can say they've done that (h/t @benbbaldwin on X). Those are literally two of the greatest football teams of all time. The 2023 49ers are trending towards a similar historical legacy. The Ravens are a fantastic football team, but there's not really anything that's going to stop me from betting on San Francisco at the moment. 49ers -6.

Walder: I'm just on a prop --Roquan Smith over 3.5 assists (+115). Baltimore's run defense isn't quite as good as its pass defense, and certainly the 49ers are comfortable running the ball. All those runs are more likely to result in assists, where multiple players are credited with the tackle. Smith certainly will be a huge part of the Ravens run-stopping effort, and my tackle model forecasts 4.6 assists for him.

Brock Purdy (-215) is now a big favorite to win MVP, with Lamar Jackson (+450), Dak Prescott (+650), Christian McCaffrey (+1000) and Josh Allen (+1000) rounding out the top five candidates. How are you betting the MVP race entering Week 16?

Fulghum: Do you think the Ravens are going to beat the 49ers on Sunday? If you do, allow me to offer this betting strategy: Bet Lamar Jackson to win MVP (+450). Why? Well to do so, he has to beat the 49ers. The Ravens money-line price is +210. Why pay a +210 price when a Ravens victory is going to catapult Lamar Jackson to the betting favorite for MVP after purchasing the ticket at +450 instead? Same outcome vs. San Francisco, much more valuable return on investment (assuming Lamar finishes out the schedule performing admirably).

Walder: I could be wrong, but I still think there will be resistance to Purdy winning given his offensive playcaller and all the talent around him. I'm also very skeptical of Jackson. He enters Sunday ranked eighth in QBR; the Ravens are a great team because of their defense. So instead, my favorite bets are Josh Allen (+1000) and Dak Prescott (+650), in that order. They rank third and second in QBR, and while both are underdogs to win their divisions, they each have at least a 30% shot to do so, per FPI. I think if one of their teams can pull that off, they'll win MVP.

Giants at Eagles (-13.5, 43.5). What's your favorite bet for this game?

Schatz: Don't get fooled by Tommy DeVito's comeback against the Packers a couple weeks ago. The Giants are one of the weakest offenses in the NFL this year -- 31st in DVOA. Yes, the Eagles are only 23rd, but that pass rush is getting after DeVito. The Eagles and Giants are also two of the slower-paced offenses in the league, which means fewer points. I'll take UNDER 43.5.

Moody: D'Andre Swift over 64.5 rushing yards. He has surpassed this line in three of his past five games. In Week 15, Swift had 18 rushing attempts against the Seahawks, and he should see a significant workload against the Giants as well. This season, New York's defense has allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game. The spread suggests that the Eagles will be playing with a lead.

Walder: Josh Sweat over 0.5 sacks (+110). Tommy DeVito has an obscene 16% sack rate. The sample is small still, yes, but he sure looks like an attractive quarterback for opposing pass-rushers to face. Enter Sweat, who has only 6.5 sacks this year but does have the third-fastest pass rush get-off (0.72 seconds to cross the line of scrimmage) among players with at least 200 pass rushes, behind only Myles Garrett and Trey Hendrickson. I put the over all the way at -155.

Raiders at Chiefs (-10.5, 40.5). What's your favorite bet for this game?

Schatz: The Raiders rank 30th against passes in the middle of the field, and we know who lives there for the Kansas City Chiefs, don't we? They also rank 23rd in DVOA against tight ends. Travis Kelce had 91 yards when these teams faced each other a few weeks ago and I think we can go Kelce OVER 65.5 receiving yards for this game.

Moody: Patrick Mahomes over 265.5 passing yards. He's surpassed this line in two of his past games. Having Mahomes and Rashee Rice in sync bodes well for the Chiefs' passing game. Also, Kansas City has a guy named Travis Kelce who can help out. Mahomes has averaged 303.5 passing yards per game against the Raiders in his career.

Is there anything else you're playing on Monday?

Moody: A.J. Brown over 74.5 receiving yards. In Week 15, Brown had 56 receiving yards against the Seahawks, but he had 94 and 114 yards against the Cowboys and 49ers the previous two weeks. Brown had more than 10 targets in each of those games and should have a busy day against the Giants on Monday, especially with DeVonta Smith dealing with a knee injury. In two career games against the Giants, Brown has averaged 82.5 receiving yards per game.

Moody: Rashee Rice over 67.5 receiving yards. This season, he has been the only bright spot among the Chiefs' receivers. Rice has surpassed this line in three of his four games. He's also had four consecutive games with nine or more targets. Rice is excellent at finding gaps in opponent's coverage. This matchup bodes well for Rice because the Raiders play a bend and not break style of defense. Also, Las Vegas allows a lot of yards after the catch. Ja'Marr Chase and Tyreek Hill are the only other receivers with more yards after the catch than Rice.

Moody: Darius Slayton over 27.5 receiving yards. The Eagles secondary gives up the sixth-most passing yards per game to opponents. As a huge underdog, the Giants will have to rely on their passing game. This season, Slayton has averaged 57.0 receiving yards per game in games with six or more targets.