Most times, a 15.5-point spread will be the highest you will see all season, but Monday's night's gap between the Super Bowl-favored Broncos and visiting Oakland paled in comparison to Sunday's Jaguars-Seahawks number. Looking at the remaining MNF schedule this year, this should easily be the worst game in terms of being competitive. I'm not really sure why the Raiders even got a Monday night slot to be honest. This is all about Denver as it's the Broncos' only MNF appearance as well. It's the 17th time that the Broncos and Raiders will face off on MNF, the most of any two teams. It's also the 22nd straight season the Broncos have played an MNF game, the longest active streak in the NFL. The all-time record belongs to Oakland at 28 straight, which ended in the 1998 season.
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Raiders at Broncos Betting Story Lines
It's hard to imagine any team other than the 1985 Bears slowing this Denver offense down -- and to think some were worried the team didn't have a true No. 1 running back. Denver is No. 2 in the NFL in yards per game and leads the NFL with 90 points -- the next closest is Green Bay way back at 66.
Peyton Manning seems a lock to win a fifth NFL MVP if he stays upright. He has thrown for 769 yards with nine touchdowns and no picks for a league-leading 131.0 passer rating. He's the only player ever with nine passing TDs and no interceptions through the first two weeks of a season. The record for most TD passes through three weeks is 11 by Tom Brady in 2011.
There could be cause for concern, however, for Denver. Left tackle Ryan Clady, on the short list of the best at his position, is done for the season with a Lisfranc foot injury. He had started every game in his career since being drafted No. 12 overall out of Boise State five years ago. Chris Clark will replace Clady, and at least Clark is somewhat familiar with protecting Manning's blind side as he did so this offseason while Clady was recovering from shoulder surgery and trying to get a new contract (which he did).
Defensively, the Broncos have an NFL-best six interceptions, which is pretty impressive considering future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey hasn't played yet. He returned to full practice Thursday, but it's still questionable if he will play Monday. I think Denver waits because the Broncos aren't exactly facing a top-notch passing attack in the Raiders.
Oakland is second in the NFL in rushing at 198.5 yards per game. Darren McFadden, who has a history of performing well against Denver, had 129 yards on the ground last week against the Jaguars, and QB Terrelle Pryor had 112 on the ground in a near-upset in Week 1 at Indianapolis. Pryor is completing a pretty solid 64.2 percent of his passes so far, but the Raiders are keeping it pretty simple, and it's a lot of short passing. Denver is ranked near the bottom of the NFL in passing yards allowed, but those are mainly garbage-time yards. The Broncos are No. 1 in rush defense -- again, that's somewhat misleading because teams are throwing a lot to catch up.
Defensively, the Raiders have good numbers, but most are skewed by facing Jacksonville. They do lead the NFL with nine sacks, with a league-high five from the defensive backfield. That unit lost safety Tyvon Branch to a broken fibula last week. He's the Raiders' highest-paid player this season at $9.5 million and has a sack with five tackles. Oakland has yet to force a turnover this season and has no shot whatsoever at a mammoth upset without forcing several on Monday.
Raiders at Broncos Monday Night Football Week 3 Betting Odds and Trends
At Bovada, Denver is a 15.5-point favorite with a total of 49.5. The Raiders are 4-0 in their past four against the AFC. Oakland is 7-3 ATS in its past 10 September games. It is 2-8 ATS in its past 10 Monday games and 1-6 ATS in its past seven following an ATS win. The Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their past five after an ATS win. Denver is 6-0 ATS in its past six after allowing more than 250 yards passing in its previous game. The Broncos are 7-3 ATS in their past 10 against the AFC West. They are 1-4 ATS in their past five Monday games. The “under” is 8-1 in Oakland's past nine. The “over” is 7-0-1 in Denver's past eight following an ATS win. The Raiders have covered six of their past seven in Denver. The over is 5-2 in the past seven meetings overall.
Monday Night Football Predictions: Raiders at Broncos Betting Picks
The Broncos swept Oakland last year, routing the Raiders 37-6 at Sports Authority Field. Manning topped 300 yards passing in both games against the Raiders, while Pryor didn't play a down. Two-touchdown favorites usually don't cover in the NFL. I think the loss of Clady hurts and that Pryor's running ability will cause a few problems. Certainly not taking an upset here, but I'd take the points and the under. Broncos win something like 31-17.
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