Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos: Thursday Night NFL Picks

Jeff Grant

Thursday, September 5, 2013 1:27 PM GMT

The defending Super Bowl champions have won 12 of their last 13 season openers, which is important to consider when the Baltimore Ravens take on the Denver Broncos Thursday.

Let’s take a closer look at the NFL odds for this AFC matchup at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Take a look at our Opening Betting Odds Report for this matchup.

Back at the scene of the crime 

Baltimore picked up a 38-35 overtime victory over Denver as 9.5-point road underdogs in last year’s playoffs—en route to winning the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy in a win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Defending Super Bowl champions are 12-1 SU and 8-3-2 ATS in their last 13 season openers, while the Ravens have covered the number in four of their last six contests as an underdog of 3.5 to 9 points.

Getting after the quarterback 

Linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller accounted for 29.5 of Denver’s league-best 52 sacks last season, but both of those players won’t be on the field for the team in the 2013 opener.

Dumervill will be on the opposite sidelines due to a paperwork issue during the offseason, while Miller will be serving a six-game suspension to open the season.

Baltimore signal-caller Joe Flacco may have all the time in the world in this affair, as he looks to build off a last year’s postseason run that saw him throw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Perfection

NFL handicappers need to be aware that the Ravens are 5-0 SUATS in season openers with Flacco under center and head coach John Harbaugh on the sidelines.

Baltimore’s winning streak in that situation is the second-longest in the league—trailing only the nine consecutive Week 1 wins by the New England Patriots.

Opening up at home

Peyton Manning threw for 37 touchdowns and compiled a 105.8 quarterback rating in his first year in the Mile High City, as he’ll look to improve the franchise’s record to 26-4 SU in home openers during the Pat Bowlen era.

The Broncos are 8-1 SU and 7-1-1 ATS as favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 6-3 in those nine opportunities.

[gameodds]16/226868/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Ravens with their NFL picks, as they’ve gone 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games in the month of September.

Free NFL Pick: Back the Ravens

When previewing this game earlier on May 21, I recommended grabbing 8.5 points on the road underdogs in this matchup.

For more insight on this game check out our:

NFL Picks: Ravens vs. Broncos Opening Betting Odds Report 

NFL Picks:  Ravens vs. Broncos Betting the Spread

NFL Picks: Ravens vs. Broncos Betting the Total