Week 3 NFL: Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders Preview, Pick and Point Spread

Denver Broncos (2-0) vs. Oakland Raiders (1-1), Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Sunday, Sept. 27th, 4:15 PM Eastern, CBS
By Z-Man of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Broncos -1 1/2
Over/Under: 35.5

A couple of the old AFL originals meet for the 98th time in their historical rivalry when the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders go at it Sunday afternoon in Oakland.

Many online sportsbooks opened this game with Oakland listed as a 2 1/2-point home favorite, with a total of 36. But books have had to flip their chalk on this game, and most are now listing Denver at -1 1/2. And the total has been dropped to 35.5.

The Broncos are also being offered at right around -130 on most NFL betting moneylines, with the Raiders getting +110 as home underdogs.

In their first season under new head coach Josh McDaniels, the Broncos have started 2-0, beating the Bengals in Cincinnati in week one 12-7 and, last week, Cleveland at home 27-6. In the opener, Denver led the Bengals for the entire game, only to give up a 6-0 advantage in the last half-minute of the game. But fate smiled on the Broncos late, and WR Brandon Stokley grabbed a tipped ball and ran in for the game-winning score with 11 seconds left to give Denver the win.

The Broncos got outgained in Cincinnati, but only by a 307-302 margin, although they also were on the wrong end of a 33/27 time-of-possession ratio. And they picked off Bengals QB Carson Palmer twice.

Last week Denver outrushed the Browns 186-54, and held them to 200 total yards of offense, although that’s not really saying a lot.

The Broncos are 2-0 against the pointspread this season, and both of their games stayed under the totals.

Oakland began its first full season under coach Tom Cable with a tough 24-20 loss at home to San Diego, then scored a late touchdown last Sunday to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City 13-10.

The Raiders outgained the Chargers 366-317, outrushed them 148-77 and grabbed
a 20-17 lead on a JaMarcus Russell-to-Louis Murphy 57-yard
scoring strike with two and a half minutes to go. But the Oakland defense
allowed San Diego to go down the field and score the game-winning TD with
under 20 seconds remaining.

Sunday the roles were reversed, to the favor of the Raiders. Oakland got outgained by the Chiefs 409-166 and trailed 10-6 late, but Russell led the team 69 yards down the field for their own game-winning score with a minute to go.

Russell has looked terrible at times again this season, but has made some big plays in the clutch. Altogether, the former #1 overall draft pick has completed just 19 of 54 pass attempts through two games for 317 yards, two INTs and one very big TD.

On the other side of this quarterback match-up, Denver’s new starter, Kyle Orton, has completed 36 of 65 passes so far for 506 yards, with a couple of TDs and no INTs.

These two divisional rivals split their two meetings last year, each winning on the other’s home turf. The Broncos won in Oakland in week one 41-14, while the Raiders won in Denver 31-10 in week 12.

On the injury front Oakland will be without OL Robert Gallery, after he broke a bone in his leg Sunday.

The Sagarin PURE POINTS ratings at USAToday.com rank the Broncos fifth at 23.95, the Raiders 26th at 16.3. Sagarin’s updated NFL home-field advantage rating is 3.2.

Denver went just 4-11-1 against the spreads last year, 4-4 ATS on the road. Oakland went 7-9 vs. the numbers last year, 2-6 ATS at home, and just 2-5 as home dogs.

Z-Man’s Pick: The Raiders still suck. Take Denver to win.