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Broncos, Chiefs Dominate; Raiders, Chargers Edged Out

The Denver Broncos kicked off the 2013 NFL season in style.

The Denver Broncos kicked off the 2013 NFL season in style.

With football well and truly underway, the AFC West bookended the Week 1 schedule with a pair of games that offered excitement, intrigue, and a lot of big plays.

BettingSports.com gives you the rundown of the division’s four Week 1 matchups, taking a look at how each team faired against the Vegas lines, before giving you the briefest previews of what you can expect in Week 2.

Baltimore Ravens 27, Denver Broncos 49

Peyton Manning put on a record-tying performance.

Peyton Manning put on a record-tying performance.

The Denver Broncos went some way to cementing their status as favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII in Thursday’s NFL Kickoff Game, defeating the defending champion Baltimore Ravens 49-27.

The Ravens built a 17-14 lead at halftime, but a 32-point onslaught from the Broncos in the second half proved far too much for the Maryland outfit to survive. Peyton Manning threw for 462 yards on 27 for 42 passing, but it was his seven touchdown passes that wowed the football world. Those seven TD passes tied an NFL record (with five others), and marked the first time since September 1968 an NFL quarterback had achieved such a feat.

To a degree, the 22-point victory served as payback for a Broncos team that had been eliminated from the playoffs by Baltimore last January. In truth, Manning and Co. will only feel true retribution if they lift the Lombardi Trophy this season.

The win saw leading sportsbook Bovada move the Broncos (11/2) to sole Super Bowl favorite, narrowly ahead of a San Francisco 49ers (6/1) side that has shared top spot for the last few months.

Vegas Impact: Favored by 7.5 when the line opened, the Broncos didn’t so much cover the spread as obliterate it. Bettors taking the over were rewarded as Denver nearly surpassed the total (49.5) without any help from the Ravens. At this rate, Denver – having finished 11-5-0 ATS last season – may pace the league against the spread again this year.

Next: The Broncos (1-0, 0-0 road) travel to East Rutherford, N.J., this Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET) to take on the New York Giants (0-1, 0-0 home). The Giants turned the ball over six times (3 INT, 3 FUM) in a 36-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, and will be looking to bounce back. The Giants lead the all-time head-to-head 6-5, while the Broncos won the last meeting between the two (Nov. 2009). Denver is just 1-4 when visiting the Giants, with that one win coming back in Oct. 1980.

Opening Odds – Favorite: Denver Spread: 2.5 Over/Under: 55.5 (matchup)

Kansas City Chiefs 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 2

An injured Jamaal Charles left Sunday's win early.

An injured Jamaal Charles left Sunday’s win early.

Andy Reid’s first game in charge of the Kansas City Chiefs was an unquestionable success, as his side traveled to Florida and handed the Jacksonville Jaguars a crushing defeat.

After the Jaguars opened the scoring with one of the NFL’s four safeties this weekend, Alex Smith threw for a pair of touchdowns, Jamaal Charles ran for another, before Tamba Hali returned a fourth quarter interception for the 28-2 final. The Chiefs’ defense held the Jaguars to just 178 yards, picking the ball off twice and sacking Blaine Gabbart six times.

Really, the only downside for Kansas City was a quadriceps injury that forced Charles out of the game. Reid is said to be “hopeful” for his return this week.

Vegas Impact: After the spread opened even, the Chiefs were installed as a 4.5 favorite ahead of kickoff. This 26-point win smashed the spread. The total (which opened at 39.5 and shifted to 43) went under.

Next: The Andy Reid regime will take charge of its first home game this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET) with a visit from Dallas (1-0, 0-0 road). The Cowboys are 6-3 all-time against the Chiefs, and have posted a 2-2 record at Arrowhead. Dallas won 26-20 the last time the two teams met (Oct. 2009).

Opening Odds – Favorite: EVEN Spread: EVEN Over/Under: 46.5 (matchup)

Oakland Raiders 17, Indianapolis Colts 21

Terrelle Pryor accounted for 329 yards, more than the Colts' team.

Terrelle Pryor accounted for 329 yards, more than the Colts’ team.

Expected by many to be amongst the worst teams in the league this year, the Oakland Raiders set about surprising everybody on Sunday afternoon, pushing the Indianapolis Colts to the limits.

The Colts jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter before the Raiders reeled off 17 unanswered points, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s third career touchdown pass, a 5-yard effort to Denarius Thomas with 11:09 left in the fourth. The Raiders’ hopes of a win were finally thwarted by a 19-yard scoring run from Andrew Luck with a little more than five minutes left on the game clock.

Pryor, the unexpected winner of a quarterback battle with Matt Flynn, passed for 217 yards and rushed for another 112 yards on the day, rewarding head coach Dennis Allen’s faith in him. Only a pair of interceptions, and the loss, marred his first opening day start. The Raiders as a team looked sharper than most expected, beating the Colts 372-274 in total yards gained.

Vegas Impact: While the Raiders failed to hold on for the upset win, the team did cover the game time spread (+11.5). The total (45.5) went under.

Next: Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET) sees the Raiders (0-1, 0-0 home) open their home schedule with a visit from Jacksonville (0-1, 0-0 road). The Jaguars are 4-2 all-time against the Raiders, including 2-2 at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders however won this fixture 26-23 a year ago.

Opening Odds – Favorite: Oakland Spread: 4 Over/Under: 41 (matchup)

Houston Texans 31, San Diego Chargers 28

Early celebrations led to a sour defeat for the Chargers.

Early celebrations led to a sour defeat for the Chargers.

Week 1 in the NFL closed out with the San Diego Chargers hosting the Houston Texans in the second of two Monday night games.

The Chargers got off to the perfect start, intercepting Texans’ QB Matt Schaub on the opening play of the game and scoring on the next snap. After the Texans tied the game on a 1-yard pass from Schaub to Owen Daniels, Phillip Rivers led the surging Super Chargers on three more scoring drives to take a seemingly insurmountable 28-7 lead. Houston had other ideas though.

Schaub connected with Garrett Graham in the third and Daniels again in the fourth before Brian Cushing picked off Rivers and returned the ball 18 yards for a touchdown. With the game tied 28-28, Randy Bullock’s 41-yard field goal as time expired gave the Texans a 31-28 victory.

The loss marked the third time in franchise history that the Chargers had given up a 21-plus point lead and gone on to lose the game. It was the second time in two seasons after Denver came back from 24 down to win 25-24 last season, another game that was shown on Monday Night Football.

Rivers finished the game with 195 yards on 14 of 29 passing, with four TDs and a pick. Houston receiver Andre Johnson caught 12 balls for 146 yards in a stunning performance.

Vegas Impact: The Chargers fell short of an upset win but the closeness of the game meant the team from San Diego covered the spread (+4.0). The total (44) went over.

Next: The Chargers (0-1, 0-0 road) hit the road next Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET) to face the high-octane Philadelphia Eagles (1-0, 0-0 road). The Eagles made mincemeat of the Washington Redskins in the first half of Monday night’s opener, before hanging on for the 33-27 victory. The Chargers lead the all-time head-to-head 6-4 and won the last meeting between the sides (Nov. 2009). However, the Eagles have won 3 of 4 in the City of Brotherly Love.

Opening Odds – Favorite: TBC Spread: TBC Over/Under: TBC (matchup)

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