The Baltimore Ravens have been a remarkable force in the NFL preseason, boasting an impressive 26-5 against the spread (ATS) and a 28-3 outright record in their last 31 preseason games. This extraordinary run, which began on August 7, 2013, has seen them secure 23 consecutive outright victories leading into this year's preseason. The team's performance has not only been consistent but also increasingly dominant, with their last 14 preseason games witnessing an average winning margin of 14 points.
The Oddsmakers' Dilemma
Despite the Ravens' exceptional preseason record, betting odds for their games have remained relatively low. Oddsmakers have not made any significant adjustments to account for the team's trend, favoring them by more than five points only three times during their 31-game streak. However, there are signs that they may be catching on, as evidenced by the Ravens closing as a 6.5-point favorite in their most recent preseason game on August 27, 2022, against Washington - their highest spread since 2011.
The Harbaugh Effect
John Harbaugh, the Ravens' head coach, has played a pivotal role in the team's preseason success. Since assuming his role in 2008, Harbaugh has led the team to a .781 win percentage in 55 games, demonstrating a clear emphasis on strong preseason play. This focus on winning, even in "meaningless" games, appears to be a strategic move aimed at establishing a winning culture early in the season. This approach has yielded positive results, with the Ravens recording an 11-4 record in Harbaugh's 15 Week 1 games as head coach.
The Betting Locomotive
The Ravens' preseason success presents a unique opportunity for bettors. Despite the inherent unpredictability of preseason games, the Ravens have proven to be a reliable bet. As long as the spread is fair, backing this preseason betting locomotive seems like a sound strategy. Until they derail, the Ravens remain an incredible preseason bet.