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RAIDERS VS. SD CHARGERS PICK
San Diego Chargers (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS), 4:15 pm EST, NFL Week 5, Sunday, October 10, 2010, Oakland Alameda County Stadium, Oakland, California
By Scotty L of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: SD 6/Oak +6
Over/Under Total: 44.5
Make the Raiders a +26 favorite by placing them into a 20 point NFL teaser at the internet’s best sportsbook: 5Dimes.
The San Diego Chargers travel north to Oakland to take on their longtime conference rivalsthe Raiders. Good luck trying to get a beat on either of these teams. The Chargers looked awesome in their two home wins, but almost inept in their two road losses. In defeat, their play was agonizing to watch, with inexplicable flubs on special teams and a complete lack of big plays when it mattered. The Raiders have their own problems, wavering between looking like one of the worst teams in the league while also showing promise that makes you think they could snap out if it at any time.
The Bolts were bad on the road, only getting into both games late. They teased, but eventually came up short. It is so painful for bettors to back such a team. You fall behind, then they completely reverse the momentum to poise themselves for a gutsy comeback and cover, and then the inevitable (insert Price is Right fail-tune here) happens. Several times a year, they will cruise to wide covers, but usually it is a massive grind when you bet on the Chargers. Its almost better for Chargers backers to just check the score after the game and spare themselves the agita>
The same could be said for the Raiders. Certain things have crystallized about this team and most of them are not good. When it really mattersthey will break your heart. Just last week, the Raiders were moving up and down the field against the Texans in a 4th quarter comeback, when Darrius Heyward-Bey failed to catch a key pass. Receivers dont always catch balls, but the lack of effort he showed really characterizes this team at times. Anyone who has wagered on the Raiders in the past several years have been left slack-jawed at the lack of urgency shown by players in key situations. You can fix certain things, but when guys start blatantly phoning it in, its an insidious problem that can eat away at the spirit at a team.
Oakland has had a few bright spots in going to a 1-3 record. RB Darren McFadden has run for almost 500 yards, but he is questionable Sunday with a hamstring injury. Bruce Gradkowski hasnt been great, but there are flashes when he is able to efficiently run this offense and eat up big chunks of yardage. Watching them late against the Texans, he looked great, but the proverbial lack of clutch plays in key situations has cost them big. Their defense, which was supposed to be the catalyst for a possible Raiders mini-resurgence, is 27th in points allowed. One glimmer of hope for the Raiders is that they are robust against the pass. You can move the ball on them, but they are stingier than most. They kept Matt Schaub to under 200 yards last week, despite losing the game. Their run D is a problem, as running backs are putting up big numbers when they play the Raiders, including giving up 131 to Arian Foster and 80 to Derrick Ward last week. The Chargers saw a better performance from their running game last week, with Michael Tolbert going for 100 yards. Ryan Mathews, a little banged up and with his confidence sagging after a few fumbles, ran for 55 yards and a touchdown on only 9 rushes. The offense generally looked a lot smoother running with the rush complimenting the pass, a little fact that could rear its head in this game.
IF YOU’RE BETTING THE RAIDERS, YOU WILL SURELY FIND THE
BEST UNDEROG LINES AT SPORTSINTERACTION
WHERE WE’VE SEEN NFL UNDERDOGS AS MANY AS 2 POINTS DIFFERENT THAN OTHER
The Chargers ball catchers, when on their game, make the loss of Vincent Jackson look a little easier to negotiate. In their two losses, they were inconsistent and made the loss of Jackson seem huge. Another big concern is the Chargers special teams play. Good thing it all worked out well last week with the Cardinals blowout because the problems havent gone away. Guys are dropping punts and the coverage has been abysmal on the road, essentially costing them those 2 games. Covering 6 on the road is hard enough without having constant drama on special teams.
Scotty Ls Pick to Cover the Point Spread: A lot of this game depends on how well the scrappy Raiders secondary can keep the Chargers pass attack in check. Its not difficult to imagine a home Raiders defense being formidable enough to keep the Chargers from establishing an abundance of momentum, therefore keeping this game competitive. The Raiders offense, while flaccid, should also get a boost from playing at home and move the ball well at times.
If the same Chargers team that showed up in their first two road games shows up this Sunday, the Raiders will probably cover and possibly win this game. After their blowout of the Cardinals, maybe the Chargers are ready to start living up to their billing. I see the Chargers making enough key plays to pull away a bit with this game late and cover the spread. Take the Chargers minus six points.