It took the Oakland Raiders 15 games, but they finally played a strong game in a 27-14 win over the listless Denver Broncos on Monday night.
The outcome was fairly predictable because the Raiders were playing with the emotion of potentially playing their final game in Oakland coupled with the fact that the Broncos had no interest in playing in the rain on the road on Christmas Eve a week after they were eliminated from playoff contention.
But give Oakland credit. It played well at times on offense, defense and special teams. That has been a problem all season. In Oakland’s three previous games, they were not the better team on the field for the majority of the game. They won those three games by a total of eight points and on the final play of each game.
Of course, it will likely be a different animal at the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon in a game the Chiefs badly need to win. The Raiders had been accused of quitting on coach Jon Gruden at times this season. I’ve always thought that was not accurate. The Raiders try.
Gruden already got them in Chiefs’ mode in the winning locker room on Monday night. He told the team it can damage the Chiefs’ playoff standings and that’s good, because the Chiefs are the team the Raiders “hate” the most. Here’s how NFL betting fans should attack this matchup.
The Chiefs can clinch both the division and the home-field with a win at Arrowhead against the Raiders, who played the Chiefs gamely in a 40-33 defeat in Oakland four weeks ago.
While the outcome of their first meeting, on Dec. 2, was really never in danger, Oakland’s offense had one its better games against the Chiefs. Oakland will need to duplicate that in this game. Kansas City’s defense is certainly suspect.
But Oakland’s offense has been up-and-down all season. It wasn’t all that great against Denver, but it didn’t need to be. Oakland has basically need to score every series in this game. I’m not sure if can, even against the Kansas City defense. We all know Kansas City will score on Oakland, which actually had some pass-rush against Denver in Week 16 for the first time.
This Kansas City offense can score on any defense. It shouldn’t have any issues against Oakland, which has allowed 432 points which is the second most in the NFL. Kansas City has scored an NFL high 530 points.
In the first meeting against Oakland, quarterback Patrick Mahomes beat the Raiders in the air and on the ground. Tight end Travis Kelce also had a huge game, catching all 12 passes that went his way. Expect the Mahomes-Kelce tandem to be dynamic again.
I’m pretty stunned the point total here is 52.5. Yes, I understand that is a load of points. But it’s the Chiefs were talking about. Only four Kansas City games have finished under 52 points this season. I guess the argument is only four Oakland games have hit 52 or higher. One of those games was against Kansas City when 73 points were scored.
The fact that Kansas City is the highest scoring offense and Oakland has allowed the second most points in the league make the over very appealing. Perhaps there is concern that Kansas City coach Andy Reid will rest his offensive starters if the game is in hand in the second half.
But we know Gruden will not rest his first-team offense, not against the lousy Kansas City defense which has allowed 418 points this season. It is the fourth most in the NFL. Because of that threat, it might behoove Reid to play his front-line offense all game.
If Oakland gets the ball first, this is a good bet. The Raiders have scored 48 first-drive points, which is among the NFL leaders. Also, the Chiefs defense has given up more big plays than any defense in the NFL.
So, it may be worth the risk to bet Oakland to score first at +170 with Betfair.
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