NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
If you don't think that flying across country (west to east not so much the other way around) following a big win doesn't sometimes lead to a major letdown game, then I give the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos as proof that it can as both suffered their first loss of the season last Sunday in that scenario.
The AFC West rivals were six of eight teams to enter Week 3 at 2-0 and lose along with the Lions, Panthers, Ravens and Steelers. Since the playoff field expanded to 12 teams in 1990, 54 percent of teams to start 2-1 made the playoffs compared to 74 percent at 3-0. There are now 18 teams with a 2-1 record or better,and 10 of them missed the playoffs last year. Denver is one. Also since 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the previous year.
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The loser here is likely going to be two games behind the defending AFC West champion Chiefs, who are 7-point favorites Monday night at home vs. Washington, a game I will preview here at Doc's as well. At BetOnline , the Chiefs are -125 division favorites with the Raiders at +225 and Broncos at +350. The good news is that neither Oakland nor Denver has faced Kansas City yet.
Should Oakland win here, it could be on a nice winning streak entering its Week 10 bye as it plays the next three at home and then visits so-so Buffalo and Miami before the week off. Denver heads to its bye week after this then hosts the Giants before a three-game road trip. So one could argue the Broncos need this more. Teams never want to go into a bye week off a loss, especially at home.
Raiders at Broncos Betting Story Lines
Oakland trashed the Jets in Week 2 and then was a 3-point favorite Sunday night in Week 3 at Washington - and the Raiders can't use the excuse of a 10 a.m. Pacific time start for their awful effort in a 27-10 loss. The Redskins aren't a bad team and it's not a stunner they won, but holding Oakland, which entered as the NFL's highest-scoring team, to 128 yards, 0-for-11 on third down and seven first downs? Derek Carr was sacked four times behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines. Amari Cooper had just one catch for six yards and two more drops - he leads the NFL with six dropped passes after only five in 2016. In addition, Michael Crabtree left the game with a chest injury after a big hit by Montae Nicholson. So monitor Crabtree's status.
The questionable Raiders defense allowed Washington to put up 472 yards and hold the ball for more than 38 minutes. Basically, that defense was on the field all night. Oakland ranks 27th overall in defense and has had trouble against the pass despite the presence of pass-rushing demon and reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack. He leads the NFL since the start of 2015 with 28 sacks, half a sack ahead of Denver's Von Miller.
Frankly, I picked against Denver as a 3-point favorite in Buffalo with that early Pacific time start and off the Broncos' shellacking of Dallas in Week 2. If you had told me Denver was going to limit the Bills to 75 yards rushing on 33 carries, I would have expected a Broncos win. But Tyrod Taylor was great in completing 20 of 26 for 213 yards and two scores in the 26-16 Buffalo victory. Trevor Siemian was picked off twice as the Bills stacked the box and dared Siemian to beat them. The second pick, in the fourth quarter, set up the Bills' final field goal that essentially clinched it. There was one piece of good news as former Chief Jamaal Charles looked almost in pre-injury form with nine carries for 56 yards and a TD. He almost didn't make the Broncos in training camp.
The Broncos lead the NFL in rushing defense, allowing just 59.7 yards per game. Denver is one of only two teams this season (along Minnesota) to not have allowed a rushing touchdown. Marshawn Lynch hasn't gotten going yet for the Raiders with just 139 yards on 36 carries. Denver is outscoring opponents 75-37 in the first three quarters this year but being dominated 27-7 in the fourth. In that quarter, Siemian is completing just 50 percent of his passes, with no touchdowns and two interceptions for a 39.9 QB rating.
These teams split last year, each winning at home. I take nothing from the Week 17 game in Denver as the Raiders were without an injured Carr and then lost backup QB Matt McGloin in the first half to injury. The Broncos won 24-6 to send the Raiders to the wild-card game in Houston (a loss) and give the AFC West title to Kansas City.
Raiders at Broncos Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Denver is a 2.5-point favorite (-125) with a total of 46.5. On the moneyline, the Broncos are -150 and Raiders +130. On the alternate line, Denver is -3 (+100). Oakland is 2-1 against the spread (1-1 on road) and 1-2 "over/under" (0-2 on road). Denver is 1-1-1 ATS (1-0-1 at home) and 3-0 O/U (2-0 at home).
The Raiders are 1-8 ATS in their past nine Week 4 games. The Broncos are 16-7 ATS in their past 23 after a loss. The under is 4-1 in Oakland's previous four vs. the AFC West. It's 6-1 in Denver's past seven following an ATS loss. The favorite is 8-1-1 in the past 10 meetings.
Raiders at Broncos Betting Prediction
This will surely come down to whether Denver can run the ball, which it did effectively in the first two weeks - and it still ranks third in the league in rushing. It didn't work against Buffalo and that forced Siemian to throw 40 times. Dating back to last season, the Broncos are 1-5 in games that Siemian attempts 40 or more passes. The Raiders are allowing 112.3 rushing yards per game, so I get the sense Denver will be able to run. Give the 2.5 points and go under.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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