Updated: Aug 11
Look, the #NFL preseason doesn’t matter for the most part. More and more coaches nowadays are following a trend of what Rams coach Sean McVay seems to have started: Not playing any key starters at all in exhibition games. So you won’t see much preseason betting advice, etc., in this space. Except when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens as Coach John Harbaugh seems to treat the preseason like the postseason.
If you know anything about the Harbaugh brothers, John and Michigan coach Jim, it’s that they don’t do anything lightly. Still, the #RavensFlock have won an absurd and NFL-record 23 straight preseason games under John.
Do you remember what you were doing on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015? Baltimore lost its preseason finale that night in Atlanta, 20-19. Harbaugh loves going for two-point conversions perhaps more than any NFL coach, and he tried that night after a 10-yard TD pass from Bryn Renner to Daniel Brown cut the Falcons’ lead to a point with 40 seconds left. The PAT failed and the Ravens finished that preseason at 1-3.
Baltimore’s past 14 preseason games have been won by an average of 14 points, and they are 6-point home favorites for their 2023 exhibition opener at home vs. #FlyEaglesFly on Saturday. What’s rather ironic is that Harbaugh doesn’t even care much for the preseason: "If I had my druthers, I'd go (no games), he said a couple of years ago. “These guys playing in these games, it's tough, and they're not meaningful games."
Teams used to play four preseason games but that’s down to three unless in the Hall of Fame Game like the Jets and Browns were last week. A 6-point spread is very unusual/high in a first preseason game.
The @ravens have been at least -6 in three other exhibition games under Harbaugh and won all three but failed to cover last year’s 17-15 home victory over Washington. That’s one of only three ATS losses during the 23-game winning streak. No other team this weekend is bigger than a 5-point favorite.
Overall, Baltimore is 43-12 straight up and 38-16-1 ATS under Harbaugh in the preseason, and that success has tended to carry over to early in the regular season as the Ravens are always fast starters under Harbaugh: 11-4 SU and ATS in Week 1.
Neither starting quarterback play Saturday with both Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts on the sideline. Hurts, the 2022 NFL MVP runner-up (+1100 to win it this year) briefly became the highest-paid QB in the league this offseason … only to be surpassed a few week later by Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP (+1500 this year). He was then surpassed not long after by the Chargers’ Justin Herbert, who likely will be surpassed very soon by the Bengals’ Joe Burrow.
The @eagles are 1-4-1 SU (yes there was a tie) and 1-4-1 ATS in the preseason under Coach Nick Sirianni.