Thursday Night Football Betting Preview

Jets at Ravens

Each week, TheLines will provide a daily betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Thursday Night Football game. We’ll look at the odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup and providing the week’s best TNF betting promotions.

The New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens will face off at M&T Bank Stadium for a Week 15 AFC showdown on Thursday night. The game will mark the 11th meeting in a series the Ravens lead, 8-2. The most recent game between the teams unfolded on Oct. 23rd of the 2016 season, a game the Jets won by a 24-16 margin.

TNF betting odds and analysis

The Ravens opened up as 14-point favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook late last week. Their projected advantage has bumped up since then. New York was barely able to squeeze by the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium in Week 14, and they needed a controversial pass interference call to even get into field-goal range. Meanwhile, the Ravens put together another impressive win over a winning team by knocking off the Bills at notoriously unfriendly New Era Field.

The Ravens will look to continue stacking up wins despite already having clinched a playoff spot in order to ensure the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They have a nice 1.5-game lead on the Patriots thanks to their 11-win total to New England’s 10, as well as their head-to-head win over the defending champs. The Jets are all but eliminated from postseason contention at 5-8.

The projected total of 44.5 points seems to reflect the reality of a late-season Thursday night matchup in which both teams, unlike last week’s Cowboys-Bears tilt, are playing on short rest. Then, New York sports a 1-5 road mark and averages the second-fewest points per road game (15.5) in the league. A matchup versus a Ravens defense surrendering a modest 19.7 points per home game only dampens their outlook further.

Jets vs. Ravens picks and predictions

Watch as Matt Brown breaks down this matchup from top to bottom, offering his thoughts on the moneyline, spread and total.

Ravens vs. Jets game matchup

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is likely thankful there’s still a No. 1 seed in the AFC to play for. Otherwise, he would likely have a challenge on his hands preventing his team from walking into this matchup with a healthy dose of overconfidence and potential lack of motivation. The Ravens have morphed into this season’s juggernaut, a development we should have perhaps seen coming with their season-opening dismantling of the Dolphins. Meanwhile, the Jets’ underachieving, disappointing campaign is perhaps best exemplified by the fact even some of their few wins are questionable – New York needed a late, controversial pass interference call to get past the Dolphins at MetLife in Week 14.

New York’s offense has the unenviable task of trying to find success versus a Baltimore defense that checks in ranked in the top half of the league across the board. The Ravens have significantly shored up what was an inconsistent pass defense early on. The return of star cornerback Jimmy Smith from a knee injury has played a major role in that regard. So has the trade acquisition of Marcus Peters and Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas’ further acclimation to the defensive scheme. Baltimore has allowed an NFL-low 153.7 passing yards per contest over the last three games to Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo and Josh Allen.

Sam Darnold has arguably been more inconsistent than all three when healthy this season. Although the Jets have finally gotten Robby Anderson going over the last trio of contests (18-303-2), the Ravens certainly have the assets in the secondary to make life difficult on him. On the ground, Le’Veon Bell will reportedly be back for this contest after missing Week 14 with the flu. However, the former Steeler has looked like a shell of his former self all season behind the Jets’ suspect offensive line. The fact the Ravens surrender just 95.6 rushing yards per game makes his outlook all the more bleak.

The Lamar Jackson-helmed Baltimore offense have an interesting matchup on tap. For all their troubles this season, the Jets do boast an elite run defense. Gang Green is allowing an NFL-low 68.5 rushing yards per contest on the road. Yet the Ravens’ running game is a bit unorthodox. Running backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards could well be in for a tough night overall. However, Jackson, with 1,017 rushing yards on the season, is the biggest “x-factor” at quarterback in quite a while. New York is ranked middle of the league in terms of rushing yards allowed to quarterbacks (176), so the statistical matchup isn’t prohibitive by any stretch. Of note is the fact Jackson is nursing a quadriceps bruise suffered in Week 14. It remains to be seen if that will limit him in any way Thursday.

Given New York’s proficiency against ground games, the offense may be best served taking to the air frequently when Jackson isn’t running. Lost in the hoopla of Jackson now being just 23 yards from Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record for a QB is his improved accuracy this season (66.3 percent, compared to 58.2 percent last year). New York has multiple injuries in the secondary and allows 242.0 passing yards per game overall. One of their potential absences, Jamal Adams (ankle) would also provide a much clearer path to success for tight ends Mark Andrews (ankle) and/or Hayden Hurst if it comes to pass.

ALSO READ: Sunday Night Football Betting Preview: Bills at Steelers

Thursday Night Football betting breakdown

The Ravens lead the all-time series with the Jets by an 8-2 margin. Baltimore had won eight straight in the series before New York’s aforementioned 24-16 win back in Oct. 2016.

The Jets are 5-8 (38.5 percent) against the spread this season, including 2-4 (33.3 percent) as an away team. Then, the Over is 6-7 (46.2 percent) in the Jets’ games this season, including 4-2 (66.7 percent) in their away games.

The Ravens are 7-6 (53.8 percent) against the spread this season, including 2-4 (33.3 percent) as a home team. Then, the Over is 7-6 (53.8 percent) in the Ravens’ games this season, including 5-2 (71.4 percent) in their home games.

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How to watch Thursday Night Football

The Thursday Night Football schedule is the most complex of the primetime NFL spots.

The first Thursday season opener didn’t fall under the TNF title. That game was available on NBC at 8:20 p.m. Eastern. Then, the three-game Thanksgiving slate in Week 13 will be carried by three different networks.

FOX gets the 12:30 p.m. Eastern spot featuring the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. CBS carries the Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and NBC finishes the day with the New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons at 8:20 p.m. Eastern.

NFL Network carried the exclusive rights in Weeks 2 and 3. It will also carry special editions of TNF on the Sundays of Weeks 6 and 9, with the games being broadcast from London, England.

NFL Network, FOX and Amazon Prime Video each carry the Thursday broadcast in Weeks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, and 15. Week 16 is converted into a Saturday tripleheader with each game available only on NFL Network.

Still with us? Each Thursday night game will begin at 8:20 p.m. Eastern, regardless of the network. Both Sunday morning games from London begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

Games can be streamed on NFL Network, FOX Sports Go, Amazon Prime and Twitch. Additionally, NFL Network and FOX can be streamed on services such as Roku, PS4 and Xbox One.

Whether it’s the mid-week time slot, the perceived lower-quality game, or the hurdles people have to go through to find the proper channel, TNF has been among the lowest-rated games of the NFL season. Last year, in FOX’s first with the coverage rights, the ratings jumped seven percent from 2017. The Week 15 contest closed the year for FOX with a 12.4 overnight rating, according to Nielsen.

Thursday Night Football betting tips

How to bet TNF like a sharp

Thursday Night Football condenses the practice week for coaches, decreases recovery time for players and limits opportunities for media members to uncover stories and create narratives. This unpredictability factor can help to level the sports-betting playing field.

Taking the most rested team is never a bad idea. You want the healthiest squad with the longest amount of preparation time since its last game.

Siding with the home team in what would otherwise be a pick’em doesn’t hurt, either. You want the team that’s spent the longest amount of time preparing in the proper city, not wasting what can be the better of a day traveling.

You want the healthiest side, as simple as that. Without a proper injury report, it can be tough to tell what level of health players will be at when gearing up to play in a big primetime spot. Don’t expect a player who left a game Sunday to return in elite form by Thursday. He’ll more than likely be a decoy.

Don’t fall into the public opinion trap of TNF always being a lousy game. It’s still one of only 16 games those two teams will play all year and most of them generally need to win. Coaches will do the best with what they have, and plenty of players (Hello, Nick Mullens!) have burst onto the scene with strong games while filling in for an injured starter (or backup in Mullens’ case).

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Thursday Night Football start?

Thursday Night Football will begin with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Carolina Panthers in an NFC South matchup to begin Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season. The game will start at 8:20 p.m. Eastern and will be available exclusively on NFL Network. Games will air weekly through Week 15 at 8:20 p.m. Eastern, with the exception of the three-game Thanksgiving slate. Those begin at 12:30, 4:30, and 8:20 p.m. Eastern, on FOX, CBS and NBC, respectively.

How to stream Thursday Night Football?

TNF can be streamed live on NFL Network, FOX Sports Go, Amazon Prime and Twitch. NFL Network and FOX can also be streamed through services such as Roku, PS4 and Xbox One.

What is the highest-scoring Thursday Night Football game ever?

The Los Angeles Rams defeated the San Francisco 49ers 41-39 in Week 3 of the 2017 campaign in the highest-scoring TNF game of all time.

Who are the TNF announcers?

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will return for a second year at the helm of TNF. Mike Joy will cover for Buck during the MLB Playoffs. Mike Pereira serves as the rules analyst with Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink working the sidelines. The same broadcast airs on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon.

Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer made history last year as the first all-woman NFL broadcast team as an alternate stream for Amazon Prime viewers.

Who was the original Thursday Night Football broadcast crew?

The original TNF broadcast crew for NFL Network in 2006 was Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth.

Retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo memorably joined Jim Nantz for CBS’ final year of TNF coverage in 2017.

Who sings the Thursday Night Football theme song?

FOX and NFL Network air their own instrumental themes to begin the coverage, unlike the SNF and MNF primetime spots.