Ravens Broncos Odds
The 2013 NFL season kicks off on Thursday, September 5 in an AFC playoffs rematch between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens. As many of you may remember, Joe Flacco hit Jacoby Jones on a 70-yard touchdown bomb with only 31 seconds left in regulation to force overtime in the AFC Divisional Round last year. Justin Tucker would go on to kick a game-winning 47-yard field goal in the second overtime to give the Ravens a 38-35 victory. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas has installed Denver as an 8-point favorite over Baltimore with a total set of 48 points.
Why Denver Covers
There’s no question the Broncos want revenge from that playoff loss. They have been looking forward to this game all offseason. Many teams don’t get a chance for revenge in a given season from a playoff loss the year prior, but the Broncos really don’t have to wait that long at all. I look for them to keep their foot on the gas for four quarters, which is what it’s going to require to cover this 8-point spread.
The Broncos have only gotten more potent offensively this offseason. That’s saying something from a team that put up 30.1 points per game in 2012 to rank second in the league in scoring. Wes Welker, who has been one of the top receivers in the league over the last several years in New England, now teams up with Peyton Manning. The offense has also added rookie Montee Ball at running back.
Baltimore could come in overconfident and less hungry than Denver after winning the Super Bowl last year. It no longer has its two biggest leaders on defense in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. There’s no question that Lewis would have made sure his team was ready in Week 1, but without that leadership in the locker room, the Ravens could come out flat and uninterested.
Denver went 7-2 straight up and 6-1-1 against the spread at home last season. It scored 32.8 points and allowed 18.8 points at home last year, outscoring opponents by a whopping 14.0 points per game. The Broncos are 10-2 against the spread in their last 12 games as a favorite, outscoring opponents by 15.3 points per game in this situation. Denver is 4-0 against the spread in its last four Thursday games, while Baltimore is 1-4 against the number in its last five Thursday contests.
The Broncos are 10-2 against the spread in their last 12 games as a favorite, outscoring opponents by 15.3 points per game in this situation.
Why Baltimore Covers
The Ravens realize they are getting little respect heading into 2013 despite their Super Bowl triumph last year. In fact, their season win total has only been set at 8.5, so oddsmakers in Las Vegas believe they will struggle to make the playoffs. That’s evident by this 8-point spread in Week 1. There’s no question that these players realize they are the underdog when they believe they should be the favorite, so they could certainly be playing with a chip on their shoulder Thursday.
For years the Ravens have been known as a defensive team, while the offense has been given little credit. That’s the case no longer as the Ravens ranked 10th in the league in scoring last year at 24.9 points per game. Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco had a tremendous run in the playoffs, becoming just the second QB in NFL history to throw 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in one playoff run. That’s why Baltimore signed him long-term this offseason to be its quarterback for years to come.
While Denver had a tremendous year last season defensively, finishing second in the league at 290.8 yards per game allowed, it has some huge concerns heading into Week 1. First and foremost, LB Von Miller will be serving a six-game suspension at the start of the season. Elvis Dumervil has signed with the Ravens this offseason. That means the Broncos will be without a combined 29.5 sacks between these two players last year, which was more than half of their league-leading 52 total sacks. Also, CB Champ Bailey and DE Derek Wolfe (6 sacks) are questionable due to injury.
The Ravens clearly aren’t afraid to go on the road and win a big game as evidenced by their victories over the Broncos and Patriots away from home in the playoffs last year. They are also notorious fast starters, going 5-0 against the spread in their last six games during Week 1. Adding to that is the fact that Baltimore is 11-5 against the number in its last 16 games in September. Plus, the Ravens are 7-3 straight up and 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 meetings with Denver.
My Early Lean: Broncos -8 & OVER 48