Oakland Raiders (3-12) at Denver Broncos (11-4)
The Broncos lost last week in Cincinnati, but they still rank 3rd in rate of moving the chains differential. Manning isn’t playing as good of football as he was last season and he’s coming off of one of the worst games of his career, but this is still a very complete team that runs the ball and plays defense better than they did last season. They move the chains at a 76.74% rate, as opposed to 71.10% for their opponents, a differential of 5.64%. Despite that, people seem to be jumping off the bandwagon. The public is actually on the Raiders here as 14 point underdogs, which is notable because the public always loses money in the long run and the public never takes big underdogs.
As they usually are, the public is wrong here. This line is way too low. The Raiders, despite some recent success, still stink, moving the chains at a 63.07% rate, as opposed to 72.01% for their opponents, a differential of -8.94% that is still the league’s worst. They’ve been even worse away from Oakland, moving the chains at a 57.85% rate, as opposed to 70.04% for their opponents, a differential of 12.19% in 8 games, including a neutral site “home game” in London week 4 against the Dolphins.
The Raiders have won three straight home games in big upset fashion, which is part of why the public likes them here, but they’ve still had issues on the road recently. Besides, teams are 65-85 ATS off of home victories as 6+ point underdogs. On the other side, the Broncos have had no problem taking care of bad teams in the Peyton Manning era, going 16-10 ATS as home favorites, including 6-3 ATS as home favorites of 10 or more. The only reason this isn’t a bigger play is because the Raiders have been a sneaky good ATS team this season, going 8-7 ATS, including road covers against Seattle, New England, and San Diego. They’re also 4-2 ATS in their last 6, though just 1-2 ATS on the road.
Denver Broncos 34 Oakland Raiders 13
Pick against the spread: Denver -14