I think the fairly new NFL overtime rule is much better than the one in college, where each team gets a possession at the opponent's 25. Of course in the pros, if the team that gets possession first kicks a field goal then the game isn't over. The other team gets a shot to tie and if it does, then it's sudden death. But if the club first possessing the ball scores a touchdown or the opposing defense scores, the game is over.
I want to bring this up as I thought I was going to be wrong on last Sunday's marquee pick here at Doc's of Dallas -4.5 over visiting Philadelphia when that game went to overtime. Most OT games are still decided by a field goal, and I was resigned to the fact that Eagles-Cowboys would too. Except Dak Prescott threw a touchdown pass on Dallas' first possession of OT to win it 29-23 and cover! We have seen chip-shot field goals to win in overtime miss the past two weeks and lead to ties (Redskins-Bengals and Seahawks-Cardinals), so coaches should play aggressive in the extra session when possible. That's my two cents.
Free $60 in Member NFL Picks No Obligation Click Here
This Sunday night is one of the best on NBC's schedule as first place in the AFC West is on the line with Denver (6-2) visiting Oakland (6-2). Yes, the Raiders are finally relevant again midway through a season. They haven't finished with a winning record or made the playoffs since losing the Super Bowl in the 2002 season. The loser here could technically fall to third place in the division because Kansas City (5-2) should beat Jacksonville on Sunday and is unbeaten in the AFC West, including a win over Oakland (hasn't played Denver yet). It does look to me that both wild-card teams may come from the AFC West because the other three divisions in the conference are so mediocre. At BetOnline, Denver is +155 to win the division for a sixth straight year with the Chiefs at +150 and Raiders are +275.
Broncos at Raiders Betting Story Lines
Oakland completed its Florida Swing -- no trip to Miami, however -- this past Sunday at 2-0 with a wild 30-24 overtime win at Tampa Bay. The Raiders have been one of the most undisciplined teams in the NFL this decade and lead the NFL in penalties again in 2016. It's part of the reason they weren't winning before this year. And Oakland had an NFL-record 23 penalties for 200 yards against the Bucs (13 on offense, six on defense and four on special teams; four other flags were declined or offset). However, a Tampa Bay defensive holding call late in the fourth quarter inside the Bucs' 10 on fourth down kept a Raiders drive alive, and Derek Carr hit Mychal Rivera on a 7-yard TD to tie the game.
The Bucs quickly went three-and-out and the Raiders had shot to win at the end of regulation on a 50-yard field goal from Sebastian Janikowski, the greatest long-range kicker in league history, but he missed left. He then missed a 52-yard kick on Oakland's first possession of OT, but the Tampa Bay offense couldn't move the ball in the extra session. Finally, Carr won it on a 41-yard TD pass to Seth Roberts with 1:45 to go. Carr finished with a franchise-record 513 passing yards along with four scores. He joined Y.A. Tittle (1962) and Ben Roethlisberger (2014) as the only QBs in NFL history with at least 500 yards, four TDs and no picks in a game. Carr deserves some MVP consideration, and he would have broken the single-game record of 554 passing yards if not for a couple of penalties on completions. That was Carr's seventh career game with at least three TDs and no picks, tying Dan Marino the most such games by a player in his first three seasons.
This is Oakland's biggest home game since the AFC title game following the 2002 season. The team might be without top cornerback Sean Smith as he's questionable with a shoulder injury. Smith was one of the team's big free-agent acquisitions this offseason and is one of the league's tallest defensive backs at 6-foot-3.
The Broncos began life without starting tailback C.J. Anderson, who was placed on injured reserve last week and hopes to return for the playoffs, with a 27-19 home win over San Diego on Sunday. Rookie Devontae Booker made his first start and had 19 carries for 54 yards and a TD while catching five passes for 30 yards. He did injure his shoulder but played through it. He should be good to go.
Denver's defense was the real story of that game with three picks, including one returned for a score by Bradley Roby, and four sacks of Philip Rivers. D-coordinator Wade Phillips left the game on a stretcher after hitting his head but was back at work Monday. If there was one negative from Sunday it was that the Broncos surrendered their first 100-yard rushing game to an opposing back since Week 2 of the 2015 season. The Broncos haven't been good at stopping the run this year but rank No. 1 against the pass. Top cornerback Aqib Talib missed the Chargers game with a back injury, and linebacker Brandon Marshall was out with a hamstring problem. They are both questionable for this one but likely to play.
Broncos at Raiders Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , the game is a pick'em with a total of 43.5. Thus, no moneyline (or both at -110 at other books). On the alternate lines, the Raiders are -1 (-110) and -1.5 (-105). Denver is 6-2 against the spread (2-1 on road) and 4-4 "over/under" (1-2 on road). Oakland is 5-3 ATS (0-3 at home) and 6-2 O/U (2-1 at home).
The Broncos are 9-4 ATS in their past 13 vs. the AFC West. The Raiders have the same mark in their past 13 vs. the division. But they are 0-7 ATS in their past seven overall at home. The under is 6-0 in Denver's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 12-3 in Oakland's past 15 following a win. The over is 7-3-1 in the Raiders' past 11 vs. teams with a winning record. The Broncos are 5-0 ATS in their past five on Oakland.
Broncos at Raiders Betting Prediction
These clubs played two pretty ugly games last year, with each winning a low-scoring one on the road. In Week 5 in Oakland, the Raiders lost 16-10. Denver's only TD was a Chris Harris 74-yard TD interception return with about seven minutes left in the game. In Week 14 in Denver, the Raiders won 15-12 despite Carr going just 12-for-29 for 135 yards. He did throw for two scores. Khalil Mack had five sacks, including one for a safety.
When two teams are fairly even, I generally lean the club with the better QB, and that's clearly Carr over Denver's mediocre Trevor Siemian. So the Raiders are the pick here despite Oakland' recent ATS failures at home. Go over the total.
Great offer! Doc's Sports has been a leader in NFL handicapping for more than four decades, and we are offering new clients $60 in free picks for any NFL handicapper on Doc's Sports Web site. You cannot afford to miss out on this great offer - click here.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent NFL Handicapping Articles
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 15 Opening Line Report and Picks
- NFL Betting Odds: Week 14 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
- NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: Green Bay Packers at Cleveland Browns
- Expert NFL Handicapping: Competitive Divisional Races
- Expert NFL Betting Advice: Odds to Win NFC with Predictions
- NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 14 Opening Line Report and Picks
- NFL Betting Odds: Week 13 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
- Expert NFL Handicapping: Possibility of Cleveland Browns Winless Season
- NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears