Oakland Raiders (4-5) at Detroit Lions (2-7)
The Raiders get talented center Rodney Hudson back from a one game absence this week, but they’ve also lost talented edge rusher Aldon Smith for the season with a suspension. Oakland has a solid offense (8th in rate of moving the chains) and one that is still at essentially full health with Hudson returning, but their defense isn’t nearly as good and has especially struggled without talented defensive end Justin Tuck, who went down for the season around a month ago. Now without Aldon Smith, this defense gets really thin on talent behind 2nd year player Khalil Mack, free agent acquisition Dan Williams, and ageless wonder Charles Woodson.
Still, this line, in which the Raiders are favored by only a point in Detroit, is too low. Despite their very close victory in Green Bay last week, the Lions still rank 31st in rate of moving the chains differential (the Raiders are 11th on the season). The Lions are also in an awful spot this week, caught in between last week’s huge, emotional upset victory and a tough home game against the Eagles on Thanksgiving 4 days after this one, in which they’re expected to be 3 point home underdogs. Teams are 36-58 ATS since 1989 off of a road victory as 10+ point underdogs, while teams are 76-119 ATS before being 3+ point home underdogs since 2012.
The Lions aren’t guaranteed to be field goal home underdogs next week, but, either way, the logic still stands; it’s going to be hard for the Lions to focus on the Raiders off of such a big victory last week with such a big home game on deck, especially given that it’s in 4 days on Thanksgiving. The Lions have covered just once before their previous 10 Thanksgiving games. The Raiders, meanwhile, just have a trip to Tennessee, where they should be road favorites, on deck. I wish the Lions were favored, even if only by a point or two, as favorites are 43-68 ATS since 2008 before a Thursday Night game, but there’s enough here for me to put money on the Raiders. They should win and we’re getting field goal protection and then some with them.
Oakland Raiders 24 Detroit Lions 20
Pick against the spread: Oakland -1