Denver Broncos (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: October 11, 4:25 PM ET
Where: O.co Coliseum
TV: Direct TV, CBS Locally
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: DEN -5.5 / OAK +5.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
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After two straight road games, the Oakland Raiders return home for this AFC West matchup against the undefeated Denver Broncos. Oakland lost a nail-biter, 22-20 as 3-point road chalk against the Bears. Oakland was outgained by 128 yards and sit just 1-3 ITS (in the stats) this season. Denver defeated the Vikings 23-20 as 7-point home favorites. The Broncos outgained the Vikings by just 19 yards and sit at 3-1 ITS this season.
The Raiders will bring in the better offense, but the big difference is on the stop side. Denver’s defense is really good. They have size in the secondary, speed at linebacker and a lot of depth on the defensive line. The Broncos are allowing 275.5 yards per game, which ranks first in the league. Oakland is allowing 403 yards per contest, although the sample size is only four games. Jack Del Rio has this team playing with more passion than ever before. The Raiders’ offensive line has been excellent in pass protection this season. Oakland is ranked sixth while the Broncos are ranked No. 19 in that stat. It’s the defense which once again is dominated by the Broncos. Denver has recorded 17 sacks in four games, while the host has just eight QB sacks so far this season. The Raiders will need to creates some pressure against the not so mobile Peyton Manning. I definitely think its possible against the shaky Broncos’ offensive line.
Speaking of quarterbacks, the Raiders will enter this matchup with the higher-rated QB for the first time in the last 10 matchups. Derek Carr looks fantastic in his sophomore season with a 62.6% completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 97.7. Manning enters this game with a quarterback rating of 80.8, which is his lowest number through the first four games of his Hall of Fame career. Make no mistake about it, the Broncos are 4-0 because of their swarming defense. Undefeated teams normally have great special teams and the Broncos have just that. They are ranked No. 4 in Special Teams while the Raiders are ranked No. 9. Last season, the Raiders had one of the worst special teams so they are trending in the right direction.
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The Raiders have given up an NFL-leading 388 yards and six touchdowns to tight ends this season. The Broncos should target Owen Daniels and Virgil Green early and often. However, the Raiders’ defense has eight sacks in the past two games, including three sacks by stud linebacker Khalil Mack. He’s been all the over the football field and will need to have a big game if Oakland wants to pull the upset. You just know first-year head coach Jack Del Rio wants to win this one badly. He spent three years as Denver’s defensive coordinator before leaving to take the Oakland job. I would imagine he has some sort of inside info on how to defend his former team.
The Raiders were favored to win for the first time in 27 games at Chicago last week. They lost to the Bears as you know and blew a chance to be 3-1 for the first time since 2001. The public will be heavy on the Broncos in this game. After all, they have won and covered in the last seven meetings with the average line as the Broncos 11-point chalk. Denver has dominated the Raiders like nobody’s business and the number is just 5.5 points. A classic trap line by the odds-makers. The Broncos are 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings in Oakland. Denver will be facing Oakland’s most talented team since the Raiders last defeated Denver back in 2011.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Oakland Raiders +5.5
The Raiders are coming home with a chip on its shoulder and should be pumped up for this rivalry matchup. Denver played a physical game last week against the Vikings. Check out this nugget. NFL teams are 0-3 ATS after playing the Vikings this season. The Browns easily covered 7.5 points against the Chargers this past Sunday. I like the home team to keep it close.
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