There were those familiar Oakland Raiders again in Week 15. Jon Gruden’s bunch fell to 3-11 with a 30-16 road defeat at the Cincinnati Bengals. It was one of Oakland’s worst defeats in a lost season full of worthy candidates for that crown.
The Bengals were playing with a bad backup quarterback and without star receiver A.J. Green. The Bengals featured the NFL’s worst run defense and highest-scoring defense in the NFL. And the Raiders were boatraced. The loss was Oakland’s eighth this season of 14 or more points. It is a team record. So, Oakland isn’t just losing, it is getting blown out.
The Raiders move onto a home game on Monday Night against the Denver Broncos. The Christmas Eve game could be the final game in Oakland. There is a strong chance the Raiders will play elsewhere in 2019 as it prepares to move to Las Vegas in 2020. It is sure to be an emotional night. Here’s how NFL betting fans can capitalize.
Yes, I took Oakland to cover as a three-point underdog in Cincinnati. So, perhaps I should learn, especially with a three-win team has won all three games on the final play of the game by a combined eight points.
Still, this game sways very much in Oakland’s favor. Denver, after a mirage-like three-game winning streak, has lost back-to-back games and they have been officially eliminated from the AFC playoff picture. Coach Vance Joseph’s job may be in jeopardy. The last place Broncos players will want to be is in Oakland on Christmas Eve in a game that doesn’t matter.
It will be a festive atmosphere in Oakland with a lot of emotion in the stands. Oakland coach Jon Gruden said he will show the team a video of the history of the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday night. Oakland will be the motivated team in this game.
In Week 2, Denver came back to be the Raiders, 20-19, on a last-second field goal. The Raiders controlled most of that game. These are two bad teams. But I lean to Oakland because of the emotional angle. Take Oakland +2.5 with Karamba.
Indeed, these two teams totaled just 39 points in Week 2. Yet, I think the 44.5 total is beatable here. Oakland’s offense was pretty dreadful against the Bengals, which is worrisome since Cincinnati’s defense is a sieve. Oakland has shown signs of getting out of its offensive funk but took a step back.
If quarterback Derek Carr can get protection – he has been sacked 47 times, which is the third most by an Oakland quarterback since the 1970 merger – he can make some plays. The issue is standout guards Kelechi Osemele (toe) and Gabe Jackson (elbow) might not be available. Both players missed the Cincinnati game and it affected the entire offense.
Denver boasts pass-rush stars Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. They can wreak havoc on Carr if the Raiders’ aren’t careful. Still, I think Oakland will score enough points. Denver can eat up Oakalnd’s defense, which has allowed an NFL high 418 points, on the ground.
Rookie Phillip Lindsay has had a great season, although he slowed down the past two weeks. Oakland’s run defense is lousy. Joe Mixon had 127 of the Bengals’ 171 rushing yards Sunday. I think the same thing can happen with Lindsay and the Broncos. There’s enough reason to take over 44.5 with 888Sport.
The best part of the Raiders is how they start. They have 41 first-drive points. That’s near the top of the league. That’s why I like them in this bet. I cannot emphasis enough the importance this possibly being the final game in Oakland as a favor.
The same thing happened in 2015 when the Raiders beat the Chargers on Christmas Eve night. There was talk the Raiders could move to Los Angeles the following year. It didn’t happen, of course. But it was a major storyline for the game and the Raiders and fans fed off each other.
The chances of this being the final game is much greater this time. Gruden will have his players ready. Carr also has a close kinship with the Oakland fans. The Raiders will be determined to start fast. Bet Oakland at +160 to win the opening quarter with Betfair.
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