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by Bovada Sportsbook Staff
Week 1 of the NFL season wraps up on Monday night with a doubleheader on ESPN, as football bettors get the chance to wager on Cincinnati at Baltimore at 7:00pm ET, and then San Diego at Oakland at 10:15pm ET. Those four AFC teams all finished at .500 or better last season and will be looking to get their playoff push off on the right foot on Monday.
Ravens home favorites in opener against Bengals
The Ravens won the tiebreaker with the Steelers at 12-4 last season to claim the AFC North title, then knocked off the Texans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs before falling to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The Bengals, meanwhile, surprised with a 9-7 mark last year and were the third AFC North team to make the postseason, although they weren't able to do any damage in a Wild Card loss to the Texans. Cincinnati rookie QB Andy Dalton threw for 257 yards with no touchdowns for his team that day.
Dalton is expected to be in tough on Monday against the Ravens' defense, and Cincinnati didn't have any success against Baltimore last season – they dropped a 31-24 decision on the road in November, then lost 24-16 at home in January. The Ravens pushed the 7-point spread in that first matchup and covered a 2.5-point spread in that second game, but that only put them at 3-6-1 ATS over their last 10 games against the Bengals. Both of the Ravens/Bengals meetings last year were OVER results. For Monday night the oddsmakers at Bovada have Baltimore at -7 on the NFL lines, with the OVER/UNDER pegged at 41.5.
Chargers, Raiders both look to return to playoffs
The Chargers and the Raiders both turned in 8-8 seasons in 2011, but neither made the playoffs as the 8-8 Denver Broncos earned the AFC West title on a tiebreaker. San Diego was the only team in that division that scored more points than they allowed last year (+29), and they did manage to win four of their last five games but couldn't overcome their slow start to make the postseason. The Raiders went 1-4 in their last five games.
Head-to-head the Chargers and Raiders each won once in 2011, with Oakland claiming a 24-17 victory in San Diego in November as a 7-point underdog on the NFL lines at Bovada and the Chargers winning 38-26 on the road against the Raiders as a 2.5-point underdog in January. That January result was the first ATS victory for San Diego against Oakland since 2008; they'd been 0-5 ATS in their past five meetings. The Raiders swept the Chargers in the 2010 season, but they have just three wins over their 10 most recent matchups. For Monday night the Raiders are slight 1-point favorites, with the OVER/UNDER at 47 points. Chargers running back Ryan Mathews will miss Monday's game with his shoulder injury.
Ravens have top Super Bowl odds of MNF teams
On the NFL futures heading into the first weekend of action around the league the Ravens were listed at 18/1 on the odds to win the Super Bowl, putting them ahead of each of San Diego (30/1), Cincinnati (50/1), and Oakland (65/1). As well, Baltimore sat at 15/2 on the odds to win the AFC Championship at Bovada, with San Diego at 14/1 on those football futures, Cincinnati back at 20/1, and Oakland trailing amongst the MNF teams at 30/1.
As for the division futures, the Ravens (+150) and Bengals (+400) both trailed the Steelers (+110) on the odds to win the AFC North heading into Sunday's action, while the Chargers (+240) and Raiders (+500) were both behind the Broncos (+130) in the AFC West. The Ravens have a wins OVER/UNDER of 10 this season at Bovada, with the Chargers at nine, the Bengals at eight, and the Raiders at seven; all will be seeking win No. 1 on Monday.