Baltimore @ Denver: Broncos to oust champions in NFL opener

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The 2013-14 NFL season gets underway with a bang as reigning champions Baltimore take on this year’s Superbowl favourites in a replay of arguably the game of last season.

And despite the Ravens going into the tie as champions and boasting a raft of positive stats, it is the Broncos who are the clear favourites to win this tie.

Baltimore go into this match having won five of their last six outings, with a 6-2 record from eight games on the road and boasting a 7-3 head-to-head record straight up against the Broncos.

The Ravens are also notorious for hitting the ground running, having won their last five week one fixtures.

However, B-more are much-changed from the side that went on to claim the ultimate success last year.

Gone are defensive duo Ray Lewis (retired) and Ed Reed (traded to Houston) and while Joe Harbaugh has brought in solid replacements, question marks remain over how the Ravens’ new-look back line will gel.

Perhaps more notable though, is the void left by Anquan Boldin. The Ravens’ attacking prowess last year was largely down to their leading wide receiver and with Boldin now wearing the red of the San Francisco 49ers, Harbaugh’s men will be forced to explore other avenues in order to amass points.

All this leads to a market which prices the Ravens as the 13/5 outsiders, while hosts Denver are the clear favourites at 5/16.

John Fox’s side will start the season without defensive end Von Miller as he serves a six-match ban but the Orange Crush will still be confident of carrying their form of last season into the new campaign.

The Broncos have won 11 of their last 12 outings and are 6-1 from their last seven against all comers at the Mile High Stadium, while a 9-3 record from 12 home games against the Ravens will boost their confidence furthermore.

Should the 5/16 not tempt, many could also be tempted by the 10/11 offered on the points total being under 48.5, with seven of the last nine clashes posting totals below that line.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.