Ravens And MVP Favorite Lamar Jackson Smash San Francisco 33-19 In NFL’s Biggest Game Of 2023 Season

6 months ago
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Christmas Day featured three NFL games headlined by the collision of conference heavyweights to close out Week 16. In one of the most watched and wagered games of the season, the AFC favorites Baltimore Ravens smashed the NFC favorites San Francisco 49ers 33-19. The Ravens closed as a 6.5-point underdog, but QB Lamar Jackson and Baltimore’s dominant defense made a statement as the the superior team on a Monday Night Football Christmas special.

“He’s putting on a show tonight,” ESPN Monday Night Football announcer Troy Aikman said of Jackson during the third quarter with the Ravens leading the 49ers 30-12.

The narrative and odds surrounding the 2024 Super Bowl and upcoming playoffs has changed, along with a dramtic swing in odds for the NFL Most Valuable Player Award.

The 49ers (+240) remain the favorite to win Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, according to current odds on FanDuel Sportsbook. But the Ravens (+400) closed the gap and the Dolphins (+750), Eagles (+800), Chiefs (+850), Cowboys (+1000), Bills (+1100) and Lions (+1800) are all contending NFL teams with more hope after seeing the San Francisco 49ers (11-4) show some chinks in the armor. Money had continued to pile in on the 49ers to win the Super Bowl ahead of their showdown with the Ravens.

Money on Niners to win Super Bowl ‘doesn’t stop’ at sportsbook

But the Baltimore Ravens (12-3) and new MVP favorite Lamar Jackson sent a statement to the rest of the playoff contenders and bettors with their big win.

“It takes a team to create a performance like that, but it takes a player to play like that, at an MVP level, and Lamar was all over the field doing everything,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said in the post game press conference.

The Ravens-49ers matchup was the best regular-season game in 16 years based on DVOA, which uses advanced analytics to identify the top teams in the league. The 49ers had the third-highest DVOA through 14 games since the inception of the metric in 1981. The Ravens had the 12th-highest.

“It was pretty much a complete game by all three phases,” John Harbaugh. “Playing complimentary football off of each other, and special teams had their best game of the year while making numerous plays to shorten field position.”

The Ravens have won five straight and now have the best record in the NFL at 12-3. Baltimore can clinch the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a win over the Dolphins on Sunday, Dec. 31 led by QB Lamar Jackson (-180) – the new favorite to win regular season Most Valuable Player, according to leading online sportsbooks. Last week Jackson was was +500.

Niners QB Brock Purdy threw four interceptions against the Ravens in defeat Monday night to gift the Ravens plenty of presents on Christmas. Purdy’s fall down the chimney included going from MVP favorite at -200 odds on FanDuel before the Week 16 game to +1900 – a dramatic swing and essentially no chance to win the award with two games remaining. Purdy also suffered a shoulder stinger on a fourth quarter sack and was replaced by Sam Darnold, who threw a TD pass and also an intercpetion against the Ravens dominant defense that now leads the league in points per game (16.3), yards per play (4.5) and top 5 in yards per play defense (297).

San Francisco RB Christian McCaffrey (+450) is now the closest challenger to Jackson for league MVP followed by Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (+900) and Bills QB Josh Allen (+1300).

The Dolphins and Tagovailoa play at Baltimore (-3) in Week 17 on New Year’s Eve with QB Jackson and the Ravens (12-3) able to win the AFC North with a victory and secure the AFC’s No. 1 seed and first round bye in the playoffs. A win by the Dolphins (11-4) gives them the inside track to the No. 1 seed and tie-breaker edge over the Ravens. The Dolphins host the Bills (9-6) in Week 18 which could be for the AFC East title if Miami loses in Week 17 and Buffalo wins over New England.

Along with the Dolphins-Ravens Week 17 showdown, the other big game in the AFC Week 17 is Cincinnati (8-7) at Kansas City (9-5) with the Chiefs a -7.5 point favorite. The Bengals need a win to stay in the playoff picture and wild card race. The Chiefs (9-5) are trying to win their 8th straight AFC West division title after failing to do so on Christmas Day in a 20-14 home loss to the Las Vegas Raiders as a big -10.5 point favorite.

The NFC has three key Week 17 games in the playoff chase with Detroit (11-4) at Dallas (10-5) and the Cowboys a 6-point favorite. The Lions 30-24 Week 16 win over the Vikings secured their first division title in 30 years. The New Orleans Saints (7-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7) is a battle for first place in the NFC South with the Bucs a -2.5 point favorite. The Week 17 Monday Night Football matchup on New Year’s Day is a playoff elimination game with the Green Bay Packers (7-8) at Minnesota Vikings (7-8) and the Vikings a 1.5-point favorite.

A key interconference game in the wild card playoff pictuer is the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7) at Seattle Seahawks (8-7), who are a -3.5 point home favorite.

Follow more NFL betting news, odds and insight on all the NFL teams as the push for the playoffs continues with Week 17 providing plenty of postseason positioning. The NFL playoff picture has tightened and especially at the top with the Ravens win over the 49ers.

You can bet on it.…Read more by Jay Ginsbach

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