Oakland Raiders (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS), 10:15 p.m. EST, NFL Week 1, Monday Night Football, September 12, 2011, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado, TV: ESPN
by Scotty L, NFL Handicapping Specialist, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Oak +2.5/DEN –2.5
Over/Under Total: 39.5
The Oakland Raiders travel Northeast to take on longtime division rival Denver Broncos in Week One. These former multi-Super Bowl champions have both fallen on hard times. The Raiders are steeped in a decade-long string of futility, while the once-glorious Broncos are coming off an utterly horrible 4-12 campaign. But this is the NFL, where things can turn around rather quickly.
The Raiders have been progressively getting better and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they will continue to improve. The 2010 team more than doubled its point output from the year before. A lot of the credit falls on offensive coordinator Hue Williams, who is now the head coach—taking over for Tom Cable. The Raiders were 8-8 last year, covered 9 times, and showed a lot of upside.
Even more impressive is that they accomplished a nice turnaround season despite little stability at quarterback and a receiving crew that could be charitably called “inconsistent.” This season, it looks like it’s going to be Jason Campbell at QB. It remains to be seen how Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor fits in with this team, but they have until week 6 to decide.
Denver had a rough season, with their controversial coach Josh McDaniels getting fired after a 3-9 start. It had to take a lot out of this team to so quickly fall apart under the young coach. It looked so promising for a while, before totally bottoming out. Whereas a mid-season coaching change can breathe new life into a team, the Broncos had no such luck—going 1-3 in their last 4 games.
New coach John Fox should stabilize the situation. He’s a proven winner, who managed to turn the Carolina Panthers into a team that enjoyed some success. Bringing a team to the playoffs from nothingness is something he has accomplished before. He will have his work cut out—that’s for sure. He inherits the NFL’s worst defense and a roster of players whose heads are not exactly filled with positive thoughts.
Both squads have personnel issues to address. Oakland lost prized CB Nnamdi Asomugha, TE Zach Miller, and OL Robert Gallery, among others. It remains to see if Oakland’s defense will be significantly compromised by that key loss. The O-line will need to plug some holes if this offense will continue to see improvement. If so, expect RB Darren McFadden to flourish after a breakout season where he showed his vast potential. It was still a bit puzzling how the Raiders failed to secure a decent wide receiver in the off-season. Guys like Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey haven’t really been getting the job done. Their lack of clutch and concentration has the tendency to bring this offense to its knees.
Denver’s offensive ability, at least on paper, seems to contradict their stature as one of the worst teams in the AFC. QB Kyle Orton was a real trooper—putting up good numbers despite everything crumbling around him. WR Brandon Lloyd, an 8-year journeyman who never exceeded 733 receiving yards, caught 77 balls for 1448 yards and 11 touchdowns. Second-choice Eddie Royal will help keep defenses on alert, catching 59 balls last year. Throw into the mix new tight end Daniel Fells, with 41 catches in ’10, and this pass catching crew looks to be pretty good this year. They also added RB Willis McGahee, who might be fresh after two years as a back-up in Baltimore. He should help spell injury-prone, but productive Knowshon Moreno.
Denver picked up a group of defensive lineman and selected OLB Von Miller with the 2nd pick. It is doubtful that these moves will be enough to significantly tighten up the league’s worst defense. Even if they are a tad better, it would take a miraculous reversal of form for this to merely be a half-decent “D.”
Scotty L’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is a key year for the Raiders. On the precipice of being a pretty good team, this is the year where the dye will likely be cast. While Oakland faces a make-or-break type of season, the Broncos are more in rebuilding mode. Their potent offense ensures they will be in some games, but it’s not explosive enough to compensate for a leaky defense. One shouldn’t expect a repeat of last year’s game in Denver, where the Raiders went nuts in whipping the Broncos 59-14, but look for the Raiders to cover. Take Oakland plus 2.5 points.
Need some help with your handicapping? Our NFL betting tips will help the begineer to novice bettor improve their bottom line.
Preseason Picks - Many don't realize that there's good value in NFL preseason picks! They claim "how can you bet on a game when you don't know who is going to play?" Truth be told, many head coaches tell you how much playing time key players will receive prior to the game!
Editor's Picks - Each week our in house pro's tackle the week's card and make predictions on the week's games ATS! Best bets, top plays, premium selections, etc. FREE!
Expert NFL Picks - Free premium plays from the "real" expert football handicappers from around the web. Don't fall for second rate picks from ESPN, the NFL Network, Hank Goldberg or the screaming touts on TV.
Underdog of the Week Pick - We forecast the loudest barking dog of the week. Expect a 60% winning percentage with these plays.
Favorite of the Week Play - We examine "the chalk" and determine the safest bet in which who you should lay the points with. Forecasting winning favorites long term isn't easy, but we've had some pretty good luck with it over the years.
Line Movement Plays - We report all the major line moves from the gridiron and forecast whether it's public money or sharp action causing the move. Who will cover the spread this week? Our line move plays!
NFL Consensus Picks - See what the general public is betting on. We use this info to fade the public to the tune of big profits over the course of the season.
Bookies Picks - Each week, we'll post which side the bookies are on. Please note: These are not OUR picks. We're simply reporting the teams the bookies need to cover the spread in order for them to win. Games receiving equal action on both sides will not be factored into these records.
Office Pool Picks - You asked for it and you got it! Each week, we'll post our predictions to win each game straight up so that you can RULE your pick'em league!
NFL Trends - Don't ever let anybody tell you that the trend is your friend. These picks make great fades which is exactly what we do with them.
NFL Computer Picks - We enter the statistics into the database and the computer crunches the numbers and gives final score predictions. These should be used for entertainment only!
Monday Night Football Picks - The ultimate bailout play. Our MNF picks are golden and have hit 62% or better 3 out of the past 4 years. (Last season was a disaster!) Did we mention that their FREE?
2015 NFL Predictions - Bob makes projections on each team's record (plus Super Bowl winner prediction) and whether or not they'll go over or under their posted season win totals at the sportsbooks.
Super Bowl Picks - Everybody here in the Predictem office takes their best preseason shot at predicting the winner Superbowl 49. Pride is on the line here! Oh, and LOOT too!
5Dimes - Bet your NFL football picks at -105 odds every day of the week! 15 team parlays! 20 point teasers! Pleasers and huge point buying opportunities as well!
Bovada - Tired of deposit hassles? Bet on football using your credit card at a sportsbook where your Visa CAN and WILL work for deposits! Offers a 50% sign-up bonus up to $250 FREE!
MyBookie - Credit cards work GREAT here! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $1000 in free cash!
Bookmaker - Watch the game for a bit THEN make a wager! Yes! You can jump in after the action has started using their awesome live betting feature! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $300 in FREE bonus cash OR take advantage of their enormous 15% bonus up to $2500 in free cash! The best sportsbook for highrollers!
Super Bowl Betting - We explain all the different types of wagers you can making including point spread bets, totals, moneylines and prop bets. No need to go to Vegas! You can bet the big game online!
Weekly Fantasy Football - If you drafted a crappy team or the injury bug has bit you and wrecked your season, we've got something really cool to turn you on to that will change the way you play fantasy sports forever!
Famous Football Quotes - From the inspirational to the greatest touchdown calls of all time. We've got them!
Pro Football Hall of Fame - A full list of NFL players who have been inducted into the NFL HOF.
The Spread - Offers free NFL football predictions, matchups, stats including both offensive and defensive and more!
Fantasy Football Sites - Get recommendations on where to find weekly updated player news, depth charts and legit websites that offer the best stat and record tracking for your fantasy football league.