Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (-7.5,
One of the main reasons Peyton Manning wound up in Denver will
be on the opposing sideline when the Broncos kick off their
season with a prime-time matchup against Andrew Luck and the
visiting Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night. Manning has
restored the luster to Denver after he was released in 2012
following neck surgery that caused him to miss the previous
season. The league’s only five-time MVP led the Broncos to
consecutive 13-3 campaigns and a Super Bowl berth last season.
Luck has lived up to his billing as the No. 1 overall pick,
guiding Indianapolis to back-to-back 11-win seasons and a pair
of postseason appearances, but he dismisses talk of being
mentioned as a worthy successor to Manning. “To be honest, even
since Day 1 here, it hasn’t been an issue. I never came in
saying, ‘Oh, I have to replace a legend, one of the greatest of
all-time,'” Luck said. Colts owner Jim Irsay, who made the
decision to jettison Manning in order to draft Luck, will not
be in attendance as he serves the first contest of a six-game
suspension for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE HISTORY: The Westgate LV Superbook opened
the Broncos as 7-point home faves back in July, but that has
moved to -7.5. The book opened the total at 55.5, which moved
to 56 briefly, before coming back down to the original number.
INJURY REPORT: Colts – WR Reggie Wayne
(Probable, knee), LB Erik Walden (Questionable, abdominal), LB
Robert Mathis (Eligibible Week 5, suspension). Broncos – WR Wes
Welker (Eligible Week 6, suspension).
WEATHER REPORT: Forecasts call for temperatures in the
low-80s and high-70s and a 10 percent chance of rain throughout
the game. Wind will blow toward the north endzone at 4 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Colts (+2.25) + Broncos
(-3.5) + home field (-3.0) = Broncos -8.75
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Colts are ranked as low
as they are because they have been outgained in yardage each of
the last two years but an easy schedule can reverse that.
Indianapolis is 0-6 ATS in their last six season openers but
has covered six straight vs. Denver. Peyton Manning will be out
for revenge after losing to his former team last season. Denver
is 16-5 ATS in its last 21 games as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5
points, while going 8-0 Over first 8 games last season.”
Expert Matt Fargo
ABOUT THE COLTS (2013: 11-5, 10-6 ATS, 8-8 O/U, 1st AFC
South): Luck has tossed 23 scoring passes in each of his
first two years and added to his burgeoning legend as the master
of the comeback by rallying Indianapolis from 28 points down in a
playoff victory over Kansas City last season. He will have a
potent receiving corps with the signing of Hakeem Nicks and the
return from injury of veteran Reggie Wayne to join T.Y. Hilton,
who blossomed last season with 82 catches for 1,083 yards. The
Colts made a bold move last season by trading a No. 1 draft pick
for running back Trent Richardson, but he flamed out and averaged
only 2.9 yards per carry. Indy’s defense will face an added
burden against Manning due to the absence of linebacker Robert
Mathis, who is serving a four-game suspension after leading the
league with 19.5 sacks last season.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (2013: 13-3, 10-5-1 ATS, 11-5 O/U, 1st AFC
West): Denver was a juggernaut last season, becoming the
first team in league history to feature five players with at
least 10 touchdowns and setting an NFL record with 606 points.
Manning shattered single-season league marks with 55 touchdown
passes and 5,477 yards, but he’ll have to get used to a different
cast of characters with the free-agent departures of wide
receiver Eric Decker and running back Knowshon Moreno along with
a four-game suspension to wideout Wes Welker for violating the
substance-abuse policy. The cupboard is hardly bare, with
Demaryius Thomas coming off consecutive 1,400-yard receiving
seasons and tight end Julius Thomas hauling in 12 TD passes.
Montee Ball takes over for Moreno but the biggest changes come on
defense with the additions of sack specialist DeMarcus Ware and
cornerbacks Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward.
* Colts are 6-0 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Over is 7-1 in the last eight meetings.
* Colts are 0-6 ATS in their last six games in Week 1.
* Over is 4-0 in Broncos last 4 games in September.
COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers Consensus, 61.68
percent of wagers are backing the Broncos.