Ravens win total preview: Will 2019's top team regress?
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The Ravens took the league by storm in 2019. With MVP Lamar Jackson leading the way, Baltimore flew past its preseason win total (8.5) en route to a 14-victory season and the AFC's No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Of course, that all came crashing down with a stunning divisional-round loss to the Titans. But over bettors were still well compensated after the Ravens' regular-season success.

Now, with most of last year's roster intact, Baltimore enters 2020 tied for the league's highest preseason win total (11.5) and is among the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Can the Ravens carry their regular-season momentum into 2020? Or is regression inevitable?

Here are their win-total odds and the case for each side:

How many games will the Ravens win in 2020? Odds
Over 11.5 Even
Under 11.5 -120

Case for the over

The 2019 Ravens were one of the more dominant groups we've seen in decades, so it's not hard to make the case for betting their over in 2020. Football Outsiders ranked the Ravens as the seventh-best team ever by DVOA (since 1985), with the No. 1 offense and No. 4 defense last season.

The Ravens return 20 of 22 starters from a club that won three games by five-plus touchdowns - the most of any team since at least 1989 - and finished with an average point differential of 13.7 per game, the highest since the 2007 Patriots. That includes a nearly 18-point average margin of victory in 12 straight wins to end the season.

After such an impressive year, what did they do in the offseason? Baltimore traded for All-Pro Calais Campbell, and the front office drafted linebacker Patrick Queen in the first round to fill arguably the only holes on an already stout defense. Offensively, the Ravens added Ohio State star J.K. Dobbins to a backfield that amassed the most yards (3,296) in NFL history.

Physicality alone is probably worth roughly eight wins because teams aren't prepared for it, and Jackson is worth a few more after his dazzling display in 2019. If the Ravens are even remotely as good as they were last campaign, the over is the easy bet.

Case for the under

But what if they aren't as good as last year?

Since 2006, 60 teams have won 12-plus games, but only 19 repeated that the following season, according to PFF. It's hard to steamroll the league two straight years, even for the NFL's best teams.

Higher expectations play a role. The Ravens stunned the NFL last year with their physical, run-heavy offensive approach built around misdirection and an arsenal of capable ball carriers, Jackson included. But in their playoff loss, the Titans forced Baltimore's offense to play horizontally while disrupting Jackson up the middle, potentially laying out the blueprint for teams to do the same next year.

Expect the competition to stiffen, too. While traditional strength of schedule metrics project the Ravens to get the league's easiest schedule, that's based on 2019 records, many of which don't hold much weight. Of the team's 16 opponents in 2020, 11 have received a higher win total than their 2019 record. That includes six games against the seriously improved AFC North.

There's also the chance Jackson gets injured, and his running style puts him at a higher risk than most quarterbacks. Even a few missed games would jeopardize the over, as the margin of error for teams with high win totals is razor-thin.

Baltimore's offense is built around Jackson's skill set. Could the Ravens survive if he logs an extended spell on the sideline?

Which should you bet?

All the above concerns are legitimate, and guard Marshal Yanda also retired after being a staple of Baltimore's rushing offense for years. Nonetheless, even if teams have figured out the Ravens, the club is just too talented to stop altogether.

An injury to Jackson would change things, but you can't bet expecting the unexpected. Instead, lean into the Ravens' immense upside and elite coaching, as Baltimore should reach 12 or 13 wins while riding one of the NFL's best rosters.

Odds source: theScore Bet

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

Ravens win total preview: Will 2019's top team regress?
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