Ravens at Broncos Picks and NFL Week 1 Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 6/4/2013
Because we know here at Doc's how antsy people can get for football season to begin, I will begin previewing every Week 1 game in the NFL. Previews and other prop stories will also continue to increase with the NBA and NHL seasons winding down and the sports world going into its "dead" period of mid-June through the start of the NFL Preseason. Next summer, thankfully, we will have the World Cup to take up a chunk of that time.
As usual, the Super Bowl winners will kick off the NFL season. Of course, that is the Baltimore Ravens, who won the franchise's second championship a season ago in upsetting San Francisco in New Orleans, a game memorably delayed by a power outage (which seemed to wake up the Niners).
What is unusual about Baltimore's 2013 opener is that it will not be hosting the game, which had been tradition for the Super Bowl winner. The problem was that the Baltimore Orioles had a night game at Camden Yards scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 5. There is simply not enough parking in Baltimore to have both teams playing at the same time, and it would be a traffic nightmare even if there was. The NFL couldn't convince MLB/the Orioles to move the game to a day affair. That's rather shocking to me, but I know the visiting White Sox didn't want to do it, either, because they have to travel from Cleveland late the night before. It's also Chicago's only trip to Baltimore this season, so there was really no way to move the game to another date.
So instead the Ravens will visit Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in a rematch of last season's epic divisional-round playoff game. Look for the term "Rahim Moore" to be trending big time in the days leading up to the game. The Broncos seemingly had the game all but won, leading by a touchdown and Baltimore facing a third-and-three from their own 30 with 31 seconds left. The Ravens needed a minor miracle, and they got it when Moore somehow let Ravens speedster receiver Jacoby Jones behind him for a 70-yard touchdown. The Broncos were so stunned that Coach John Fox decided not to give Manning a shot to get in field-goal range when the Broncos got the ball back, instead deciding to take it to overtime. The Ravens would win it 38-35 in double overtime on a Justin Tucker 47-yard field goal after a very costly Manning interception. That ended Denver's 11-game winning streak, and it was the NFL's longest game since 1987.
Ravens at Broncos Betting Story Lines
The Ravens were gutted this offseason, but the big storyline for this game will be linebacker/end Elvis Dumervil facing off against his former Broncos teammates. Denver wanted to keep him, as Dumervil had 11 sacks last year and six forced fumbles. For cap reasons, the team wanted to lower Dumervil's salary from $12 million to $8 million. However, Dumervil's agent didn't fax the paperwork in before a pre-determined deadline (missing by seven minutes). That forced Denver to release him rather than pay the mandated $12 million. The Broncos still wanted him back, but the Ravens swooped in with a five-year, $35 million offer ($8.5 million in 2013). Dumervil will be playing like a rabid dog in this game as he's pretty angry with the Broncos. Here was his great quote: "I have a chip on my shoulder. I may have a brick wall now." He essentially replaces the departed Paul Kruger, who had nine sacks a season ago.
As for Manning, he's likely to only be better this season with a year under his belt with the Broncos offense and players -- not to mention healthier with another year off of neck surgery. Supposedly Manning is able to put a lot more mustard on the ball this year. That's a scary thought since Manning broke nearly every franchise passing record from last year and was the NFL MVP runner-up. Plus, he now has Mr. Security Blanket, former Patriot Wes Welker, to throw to. The Broncos were No. 2 in the NFL in scoring last year at 30.1 points per game. Baltimore was No. 10 at 24.9 per game. The Ravens defense was just so-so against the pass, 228 yards per game, No. 17 in the league.
Ravens at Broncos NFL Week 1 Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Broncos are 8.5-point favorites (-440 on the moneyline) with the total at 49.5. Baltimore was 6-9-1 ATS last regular season (3-4-1 on road) and 9-7 “over/under” (3-5 on road). Denver was 10-6 ATS (5-3 at home) and 10-5-1 O/U (5-2-1 at home). The line was 9.5 last year in the playoff matchup between these two. It was the largest spread against Baltimore all season, and the Ravens were 3-0 in the playoffs as a dog. The total then was 44.
Ravens at Broncos Picks and NFL Week 1 Betting Predictions
The reining Super Bowl Champion had dominated in this annual kickoff game, winning the first eight of them until the New York Giants lost 24-17 at home to Dallas last year. The previous two times the G-Men had lost their opener they won the Super Bowl. They missed the playoffs in 2012 at 9-7, as did Dallas (8-8).
I have no idea what to expect from that revamped Baltimore defense. Plus, the Broncos were mostly dominant at home last regular season. The Ravens had some road stinkers last year before Joe Flacco morphed into Joe Montana during the playoffs. I have little doubt the Broncos win, but that's a lot of points. However, take Denver and the under.
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