Oakland Raiders (1-3) vs. New York Giants (4-0), Giants Stadium, New Jersey, Sunday, Oct. 11th, 1 PM Eastern, CBS
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Raiders +16/Giants -16
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One of the five remaining undefeated teams in the league gets a good chance to stay that way this weekend when the New York Giants host the Oakland Raiders for a cross-country inter-conference bout Sunday afternoon in New Jersey.
Sportsbooks across the Internet opened New York as favorites of anywhere from 15 to 17 points for Sunday’s game. As of Tuesday morning most NFL betting outlets were offering the Giants at -16 or -16.5. And while the total on this game started out at 41 or 42, most books had lowered it to 40.5 and even 40 within 24 hours or so.
This is the highest-lined game in the NFL so far this season.
New York is also listed at right around -1,200 on various moneylines, with Oakland getting +800 or so as the underdogs.
The Raiders began this season with a tough 24-20 loss to San Diego, although they covered the pointspread getting 10 points at home. Oakland then went to Kansas City, where a late score gave them a 13-10 victory as one-point road dogs. But since then the Raiders have scored a total of nine points in losses vs. Denver and, last week, at Houston.
So Oakland, at 1-3, is already three games behind the first-place 4-0 Denver Broncos in the AFC West.
The Giants, meanwhile, opened their season with a 23-17 win over the Washington Redskins, but couldn’t cover the line as 6 1/2-point home chalk. Since then, though, New York has won three straight road games, at Dallas, Tampa and KC, and covered the spread each time out.
So at 4-0, the Giants lead the NFC East by a game and a half over the 2-1 Philadelphia Eagles.
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On one half of the quarterback match-up for this game, Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell is struggling this season. The former No. 1 overall draft pick has completed just 40% of his passes so far for a 4.7 YPA average, which is very poor, with just one TD and four INTs, and a pathetic 42.4 passers rating.
On the other side, New York QB Eli Manning has been his usual efficient self this year, completing 63% of his throws for an 8.3 YPA average, which is good, with eight TDs and four INTs, and a 104 passing rating. But Eli is dealing with something called plantar fasciitis, which according to reports means a very sore foot. He came out of last week’s game vs. Kansas City after his TD pass to WR Hakeem Nicks in the fourth quarter gave the G-Men a 273 lead, but he’s listed as probable for Sunday’s game vs. Oakland.
In playing their one common opponent so far this season, the Raiders, despite winning, got outgained by the Chiefs 409-166 and outrushed 173-67. New York, meanwhile, outgained KC 429-193 and outrushed the Chiefs 156-105.
Through the first quarter of this season, Oakland ranks last in the league in total offense at a meager 209 YPG, last in passing, and 28th in rushing at just 89 YPG. On the other side of the ball the Raiders rank 18th in total defense at 357 YPG and 26th vs. the run at 146 YPG.
The Giants, through four games, rank 5th in the league in offense at 401 YPG and 6th in rushing at 146 YPG, lead the league in total defense at 232 YPG and rank 19th vs. the run (mainly because of the Dallas game) at 117 YPG.
So while the G-Men are outrushing foes by a +29 YPG margin, Oakland is getting outgrounded by a -57 YPG average.
New York also leads the league in average time-of-possession at 36:20, while Oakland ranks 31st at 25:37.
These two teams haven’t met since the last week of the 2005 regular season.
The over/unders are 1-3 in Raiders games this season, which have averaged just 32 total points.
The totals are 2-1-1 in Giants games so far this season, which have averaged 43 points.
NFL double-digit favorites are 8-0 straight up and 6-2 against the pointspreads so far this season.
Z-Man’s Pick: Yes, Oakland stinks. Yes, McFadden is OUT for 2-4 weeks. Yes, Al Davis sucks. But NO, New York doesn’t cover a 3 score spread. Look for Eli Manning to build a 10 point lead or so and get pulled out for precautionary reasons allowing for Oakland to stay within the 16 point spread.