Free Expert NFL Picks: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/19/2014
On the surface, this Thursday's NFL Network game between the Chiefs and Raiders certainly looks like a total mismatch. After all, Kansas City has won five straight and seven of eight and is a surprise co-leader with Denver atop the AFC West, while the Raiders are the NFL's only winless team.
Currently at Bovada , Denver is the -300 AFC West favorite with Kansas City at +300 and San Diego, a game back, at +900. Right now the Broncos hold all the tiebreakers over the Chiefs and Chargers. Denver is 3-0 in the division with a Week 8 home win over San Diego and Week 2 against visiting Kansas City. However, the remaining schedules might favor Kansas City.
Broncos: vs. Dolphins, at Chiefs, vs. Bills, at Chargers, at Bengals, vs. Raiders
Chiefs: at Raiders, vs. Broncos, at Cardinals, vs. Raiders, at Steelers, vs. Chargers
Chargers: vs. Rams, at Ravens, vs. Patriots, vs. Broncos, at 49ers, at Chiefs
I think Kansas City's schedule is the most manageable.
As for the Raiders, all that's left is to keep losing and get the No. 1 overall pick. Let's hope that Oakland does better than its previous first-round picks from before this season: cornerback D.J. Hayden (2013), linebacker Rolando McClain (2010), receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (2009), running back Darren McFadden (2008) and quarterback JaMarcus Russell (2007). Maybe Hayden still has a chance at something, but it's not looking good. McFadden couldn't stay healthy, and the other guys were busts, especially Russell. The team didn't have first-round picks in 2011-12 because of bad trades.
Chiefs at Raiders Betting Story Lines
When Kansas City started 0-2, I thought I was dead on from my preseason projections that had this as maybe a six- or seven-win team. After all, remember how the Chiefs went into the tank last season after starting 9-0? But kudos to head coach Andy Reid. He has turned Alex Smith into a good quarterback. Smith hasn't thrown an interception during the five-game winning streak and has just one pick since opening the season with three against Tennessee. Yeah, Smith is never going to put up big yardage numbers -- he is No. 30 in averaging 198.0 ypg -- or a bunch of TD passes. Reid just asks him to be accurate and not lose the game.
As usual, Kansas City is a run-heavy team with Jamaal Charles. He was brilliant in the Week 11 win over Seattle with 20 carries for a season-high 159 yards and two touchdowns. It was Charles' ninth career 150-yard game, tied for the most in Chiefs history. Charles isn't really being used quite as much as a receiver, although to be fair he had some injury issues early in the season.
Defensively, Kansas City is No. 1 against the pass, allowing 201.6 yards per game. Linebacker Justin Houston, who is set to become a free agent after the season, leads the NFL with 12 sacks. The run defense is just 25th, but the Chiefs have still not given up a rushing touchdown. The last time a team went this deep into the year on that statistic was the 2011 49ers, who didn't allow one in the first 14 games. Smith quarterbacked that team, which lost in the NFC title game. The fewest rushing scores allowed in a full season is two.
I'm trying to think of something positive to say about Oakland, which has lost 16 straight games. Nine of those have been by double digits. The Raiders have had four close calls this year: 19-14 loss Week 1 at the Jets, 16-9 Week 3 at New England, 31-28 in Week 6 at home vs. San Diego and then last Sunday's 13-6 loss in San Diego. Second-round rookie Derek Carr looks like he could be a capable NFL QB. He already has set franchise rookie records with 2,075 yards passing and 13 touchdowns. Considering the lack of legitimate skill position talent around him -- Oakland averages just 63.0 rushing yards, for example -- those are pretty darn good numbers for Carr.
Defensively, the Raiders have a keeper in 2014 first-round pick Khalil Mack. The outside linebacker has 56 tackles, two passes defensed a sack and a forced fumble. I expected a few more sacks by now. Safety Charles Woodson shows few signs of slowing down at 38. He leads the team with 74 tackles and two interceptions. His next pick will be No. 59 and have him 11th on the all-time list. The record of 81, set by Paul Krause, is safe.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders NFL Week 12 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Kansas City opened as an eight-point favorite (+110) with alternate lines of 7.5 (+105), 7 (-115) and 6.5 (-135). The Chiefs are -350 on the moneyline, with the Raiders at +290. The total is 42.5. K.C. is 8-2 against the spread (4-1 on road) and 3-7 "over/under" (1-4 on road). Oakland is 5-5 ATS (1-4 at home) and 5-5 O/U (4-1 at home).
The Chiefs have covered four straight against teams with a losing record. They are 6-0 ATS in their past six against the AFC. Oakland is 2-5 ATS in its past seven Thursday games. The Raiders have failed to cover their past five at home against teams with a winning road record. The under is 5-1 in Kansas City's past six overall. The over is 5-1 in the Raiders' past six after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. Kansas City has covered nine of its past 11 in Oakland. The under is 7-2 in the past nine meetings there.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Picks and Betting Predictions
Last season, Kansas City swept the Raiders easily, winning 24-7 in Week 6 at home and 56-31 in Oakland in Week 15 to clinch a playoff spot. Smith had a perfect quarterback rating in that latter game, going 17-of-20 for 287 yards, five touchdowns and no picks. Charles was quiet on the ground with eight carries for 20 yards and a score, but he caught eight passes for 195 yards and four touchdowns. Charles became the fifth player in the last 50 seasons with five touchdowns and 200 yards from scrimmage in a game, joining Gale Sayers (1965), Jerry Rice (1990), Shaun Alexander (2002) and Clinton Portis (2003). It was the most points allowed in Raiders history, and they turned the ball over seven times.
Oddly, the Raiders have really held Charles in check from a rushing perspective despite being so bad for so long. Charles has topped 100 yards in a game once against the Raiders. He rushed 18 times for 103 yards against them in a 16-10 win on Nov. 15, 2009. Actually the Raiders have really done well defensively vs. the Chiefs since 2008 as Kansas City has topped 20 points only three times, although obviously both games last year.
I don't think Oakland will go 0-16 and it's most likely the only win come at home. This has every sign of a "sandwich" game for Kansas City with the big one vs. Denver next week. A Raiders win wouldn't shock me -- still have to favor home teams in these quick turnaround games -- but I'm definitely taking the eight points. Go under.
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