NFL Thursday Night Football: Baltimore Ravens vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers predictions, picks and best bets from expert analyst Clevta

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts against the Green Bay Packers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium.

NFL Week 8 starts with Baltimore Ravens vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football at 8:15pm ET on Amazon Prime and our NFL expert Clevta has a best bet and predictions for the game.

Clevta’s Baltimore Ravens vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers best bet: Buccaneers +1.5 (+100)

Buccaneers +1.5 (+100) available at PointsBet Sportsbook at time of publishing.

It’s incredible that we see a Tom Brady-led team as home underdogs with no injury issues. Both of these teams have been a bit of a disappointment this year and the Bucs are coming off inexplicable back-to-back losses as double-digit favorites. Tampa comes into this game sitting 20th in EPA on offense and 6th on defense. Contrary to popular belief, Brady has been fine this season. The Bucs are 11th in pass offense based on EPA, and Brady is 6th in PFF grade and 16th in completion percentage over expected. He has done that with a beaten up offensive line and wide receiver corps.

He isn’t playing at his typical MVP level right now, but he is still very good. The issue is pass blocking, the run game and the horrific play calling. The Bucs have the worst rushing offense in the NFL and rank 30th on early-down runs. Brady is 6th in early-down passing, so they clearly need to do more of that and less of the run-up-the-middle stuff.

The good news for Tampa is that the Ravens defense has been a major disappointment too. They are 29th in EPA defense and in the bottom 10 in both run and pass defense. They are also not getting enough pressure on the QB, as they are 26th in pressure rate as well. It won’t help that their top cornerbacks, Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, have both been limited in practice this week due to injuries. Both are likely to play but are likely not going to be near 100%. I think the Bucs will go back to their bread and butter a bit more and throw on early downs to take advantage of this poor defense. 

The Ravens have not produced much on offense since Week 3 against New England and rank 19th in EPA and 27th on drop-backs in that span. They have started to run the ball better but the Bucs are in the top half of the NFL in stopping the run and likely get back starting DT Akiem Hicks. They also do a great job at limiting the explosive runs (4th-best in the NFL) that the Ravens routinely get with Lamar Jackson and that run game.

They also have the athletic LBs to keep up with Jackson. The key to slowing down this Ravens offense is by denying them on early downs and forcing Lamar into obvious 3rd-down passing situations. Tampa’s defense is #1 in the NFL in early-down defense. If they can force the Ravens into those obvious passing situations, they should control this game.

I still have high hopes for the Bucs this season and when you exclude garbage time, they are still 5th in the NFL in net success rate. The Ravens are only 15th, and their defense has been too much of a liability to feel comfortable laying any points on the road.

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Clevta has been a successful NFL handicapper for over a decade. His approach is a combination of bottoms-up fundamental team and matchup analytics along with a deep knowledge of the betting market to help drive success.

He has been a regular contestant in the Westgate NFL Supercontest and Circa Millions, where he has posted an aggregate 56% winning percentage, including four separate seasons with a win percentage of at least 60%. Now he brings his expert NFL handicapping skills to Pickswise.

You can find more of Clevta’s weekly NFL game analysis at

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