Oakland Raiders (5-7 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: December 13th, 4:05 PM EST
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
TV: CBS (locally), DirectTV
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: OAK -+7.5/ DEN -7.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The Denver Broncos are looking to defeat the Oakland Raiders for the 9th straight time in this key AFC West matchup. The Broncos have won three straight after losing two in a row and seem to be back on track with Brock Osweiler at QB. Denver defeated the Chargers 17-3 as 4-point road favorites last week. The Broncos outgained San Diego 293-272 in the low-scoring affair. Denver has outgained its opponent in nine of 12 games this season behind the league’s top-ranked defense. Oakland is coming off a second half meltdown against the Chiefs, in which Kansas City scored 27 second-half points to win going away 34-20 as 3-point road chalk. The Raiders held a 14-7 halftime lead, but three costly turnovers led to their downfall. The Chiefs win seems kinda phony considering the Raiders outgained them 361-232. Oakland had 27 First-downs while KC had just 15. There was also some questionable calls that went against Oakland. What else is new!
Most of the offensive stats for the Broncos are meaningless because Brock Osweiler is throwing the ball much better than Manning did at any point this season. Osweiler is 73-for-119, 832 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, and three interceptions. He is completing 61.3% of his passes and his QB rating checks in at 85.8 so far this season. On the flip side, Derek Carr is having a great sophomore season and the fans in Oakland are enjoying the Raiders’ rebuild. Carr is 271-for-426, 3,178 yards, 26 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He is completing 63.6% of his throws and his QB rating is ranked very high at 97.7. through Week 13.
The Raiders love to throw the ball. The Broncos are one of the best teams at defending the pass. Something’s gotta give. Denver is allowing just 195.6 passing yards per game which the Raiders know all about. In Week five, the Broncos defeated the Raiders 16-10 as 5-point road favorites. Derek Carr had some success completing 26-of-39 passes for 249 yards along with one touchdown and one interception. Oakland led for much of the game before the Brandon McManus made two field goals in the second half for the go ahead scores. A 74-yard pick six by Chris Harris Jr. late in the final quarter made it a two score game with Janikowski kicking a FG with 1:45 remaining to pull within six. The game ended when Oakland could not secure the onside kick.
In the first meeting, both teams could not muster any rushing yards. The two teams combined for 108 rushing yards. I believe the team that has more rushing yards will win this game. Denver’s offense is more balanced with Osweiler under Center as teams are unable to stack the box. Teams were daring Peyton Manning to throw the ball downfield and in most games he couldn’t do it. Ever since Osweiler took over, the Broncos have rushed for 170 yards (against Bears), 179 yards (against New England), and 134 yards (against the Chargers). The Raiders are rushing for 96.3 yards per game going against a Broncos’ run defense that is allowing only 89.1 yards per game. I would expect the Raiders to employ the same strategy they have against the Broncos in year’s past. Oakland likes to spread Denver out and run more of an up-tempo offense in hopes of tiring out the Broncos front seven. It hasn’t worked too well as the Broncos are 7-0-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. Keep in mind, most of those Raider teams were abysmal. This Raiders’ team has a bright future.
The Raiders’ offensive line is ranked No. 1, allowing just 14 sacks in 12 games. Very impressive for sure. The Broncos offensive line is ranked No. 15, allowing 26 sacks this season. Oakland will need its offensive line to play a clean game. The Broncos defense is ranked No. 2 in QB sacks with a whopping 37 in 12 games. The Raiders’ stop unit is ranked No. 18 with 25 QB sacks so far this season. Denver sacked Derek Carr four times in the earlier matchup. Hopefully, the Raiders have made the necessary adjustments for this game. Denver is “nicked” up on defense as leading tackler from the first meeting Danny Trevathan is likely out with a concussion. DeMarcus Ware, C.J. Anderson, and Vernon Davis are all listed as questionable as well. Injuries are accounted for in this line so we’re not getting any extra value.
The Raiders are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games after allowing more than 30 points. The road team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. Denver is 15-2 SU and 12-4 vs. division foes over the last three seasons.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Oakland Raiders +7.5
The Raiders have outgained their last two opponents by a combined 287 yards and only have one win to show for it. These two teams are very familiar with each other however the X factor has to be Brock Osweiler. The Raiders will be facing him for the first time, but do have some game film to break down his play. I was on the Broncos (Got +1 but line closed -2) when they played Chicago because I am a big fan of Osweiler and his skill-set. He’s big, strong, mobile, and getting better with each start. The Raiders are 3-0 ATS as road dogs of 3.5 to 7 points this season. This line of 7.5 seems about right. If Denver was minus -6.5, I would pick Denver. Very slight lean to the road dog in this one.
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