The Oakland Raiders have tasted victory for the first time since September. It was not pretty, but, at this point, Oakland coach Jon Gruden and his team aren’t choosy. It’s been a miserable season for Oakland, which had lost five straight games by, at least, 14 points before winning at the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21, on a game-winning field goal as time expired in Week 11.
The Cardinals gifted Oakland the game with two horrible penalties (one coming on a game-icing touchdown in the final moments). But Oakland took advantage and won the game. The Raiders are 2-8 and are tied with Arizona and San Francisco (which beat the Raiders, 34-3, three weeks ago) for the worst record in the NFL.
It would be naïve for NFL betting fans to think this win will kick-start the Raiders’ season with six games to go. Oakland’s only two wins this season are against the Browns and the Cardinals, who both started rookie quarterbacks. A series of ideal occurrences helped Oakland beat the Browns in overtime in Week 4.
There is likely a changing of the guard occurring in Charm City. Joe Flacco is hurt, and his 11-season run as the Ravens’ quarterback may be in jeopardy. First-round pick Lamar Jackson made his first start in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Jackson led the Ravens to a win.
Jackson threw for 150 yards in the win, but the story was Jackson on the ground. He had 117 rushing yards on 27 carries. Obviously, the Heisman Trophy winner from Louisville will be having to prove he can win games as a thrower. But, for now, he changes dynamics. Oakland will have to account for him.
Also, the Raiders have been gutted on the ground all season and it has allowed many explosive plays this season. It is allowing an average of 6.6 yards per play, which is on pace for the second worst per season average in the league. The Ravens are 5-5 and are in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot.
The Raiders have not proven they can play and compete with even average teams which the Ravens are. Trusting a quarterback in his second career start with a double-digit point spread is ambitious, but the Ravens should handle Oakland fairly easily. Bet the Ravens -10.5 with 888Sport.
Baltimore has a strong defense and faces an Oakland offense that is still struggling even though it won and scored 23 against the Cardinals. Derek Carr threw for less than 200 yards even though he had more than 30 pass attempts.
Oakland’s receiving crew is decimated. But the Raiders hope starter Jordy Nelson can return his week after missing the Arizona game with a bone bruise. Receiver Martavis Bryant is out for another couple of weeks with a knee injury. Brandon LaFell is out for the season with an Achilles injury.
Oakland doesn’t have enough weapons to run up the score against the Ravens. It is supposed to rain during the game, which could keep scoring fairly down, below the 42.5 over/under line. So take the under with Karamba.
Oakland is clearly in future mode. The Raiders got 452 snaps out of first-year players against Arizona. That trend should continue the rest of the season.
One positive to build on is how the Raiders start games, which you can take advantage of as a bettor even if the team fails to capitalize. Oakland is actually a decent first-drive team. It has led in the first half routinely this season and is +145 to open the scoring. It’s a great prop bet with 888Sport.
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