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Ravens face a tough road opener -- but bloated spread feels way off

I'm going to take more time this season to explain some of the predictions I make on a weekly basis for our website. And in general I'm going to do so on Fridays.

But there's something about the bloated spread on this Thursday night kickoff I can't get my head around. I'll be the first to admit I don't know what exactly Vegas knows, and I know enough to know that those dudes generally have it right more often than you could believe, but the Ravens opened the week getting over nine points to the Broncos in a game I think they have a great chance to win.

It will be difficult opening up on the road, but I think that even having to play this game in Denver, despite being the reigning Super Bowl champs, will only serve as further motivation for John Harbaugh. I'm not sure where Denver's pass rush is going to come from, they aren't overpowering against the run and Champ Bailey is ailing, and is coming off getting picked on by Joe Flacco in the playoffs last time out.

Denver's running game is unsettled, Wes Welker missed a good deal of time himself and while the Ravens have had their share of injuries and losses this offseason, this game strikes me as pretty damn close to call. The Ravens are road tested and getting close to 10 points baffles me a little.

I believe the Ravens will be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball --their defense will be markedly better in the front seven -- and with the running game going, Flacco can be deadly deep in the play-action game.

So, yeah, anyway, for what its worth, if I was picking my best bets of the week, or whatever you want to call it, this would be one of them. I'll blog about a few other games that leap out at me based on the spread we use in the experts picks segment of the website later in the week, but I couldn't let this one pass.

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