Green Bay Packers (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (6-7 SU, 7-6 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date/Time: December 20th, 4:05 PM EST
Where: O.co Coliseum
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: GB -3.5/ OAK+3.5
Over/Under Total: 47
Two teams coming off big emotional wins will meet when the Green Bay Packers play the Oakland Raiders in this week 15 matchup. The Raiders have a chance to even their record this late in the season after upsetting the Broncos 15-12 as 6.5-point road underdogs. The win was a little fluky as the Raiders were outgained by 184 yards. The Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 28-7 as 6-point home chalk. Mike McCarthy took over the play-calling on offense and it certainly paid off. Green Bay outgained Dallas by 165 yards and the Packers have gone 4-1 ITS (in the stats) in their last five games.
I see a lot of advantages on paper for the road team, but handicapping the NFL is not all about stats. Green Bay will bring in the better defense. The Packers are allowing 350 yards per game and have a scoring defense of 18.8 points per game. The Raiders are allowing 372.5 yards per game and have a scoring defense of 25.1 points per game. In fact, the Raiders are scoring (24.4) fewer points than they allow. Not a good sign. The Packers have a point differential of plus +4.2 while gaining 348 yards per game. The Raiders’ offense can score on any defense as they average 5.8 yards per play which ranks a tad better than Green Bay (5.7).
The big advantage for the Raiders (and I talk about this every week), is they have a very good offensive line. Oakland is ranked No. 1 in pass protection according to Football Outsiders while the Packers check in at No. 15. The Packers have allowed 11 more sacks than the Raiders. Khalil Mack had a career-high five sacks in last week’s victory against Denver. He’s a rising star and can play on every down. Really love his skill-set and Jack Del Rio is the perfect head coach to guide him in the right direction. The Packers are still having problems on offense despite their showing last week. It certainly wouldn’t shock me if the Raiders won this game outright, but teams usually don’t perform well after playing in Denver. That doesn’t mean they can’t win. Oakland’s pass defense (allowing 271.5) is the weakness of the team, unless Mack and the pass rush causes major disruption for Rodgers and company. Very possible.
Lets check in on the Las Vegas Power Rankings for each team. Vegas has the Packers as the 7th-best team (tied with KC & Cincinnati) with a power index of 24. The Oakland Raiders are ranked tied for 16th with a power index of 19. The Raiders’ home-field advantage is worth a little less than 2 points. I believe this line will creep up to 4 as the week progresses. As of 1:00 AM E on Wednesday, the public’s backing the Packers 85% of the bets at five major offshore sportsbooks. The “wise guys” will play the Raiders when the line reaches 4 or maybe even 4.5 on game day. The numbers suggest at +3.5 there is very little value on the home team. At 4-to-5 points there is a lot of value on the Raiders. If the books continue to get huge public action and the line crosses into the that range, it’s just a matter of time the “sharps” will buy back on Oakland.
Green Bay has the Cardinals and Vikings on deck and I like the matchup of the Raiders’ front seven against an average Packers’ offensive line. Both teams are very good in red-zone efficiency and this could be another high-scoring game. The Over has gone 4-0 in the last four meeting with an average O/U line of 44. At 47 there is some value on the Under. Green Bay is one of those teams that the public likes to bet, so expect the line to increase to 4-to-5 at some point.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Packers vs. Raiders Under 47 & Oakland +4 or higher
The Under is cashing 71% in all Non-Conference games this season after just the opposite last year. I see a final score of around 24-21 so that makes me lean to the under. I like the home team when the line reaches the 4-to-5 range.
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