Oakland Raiders (4-6) at Tennessee Titans (2-8)
The Raiders have lost 3 straight games since their 4-3 start, as player losses have caught up with them. They lost defensive end Justin Tuck for the season to injury before their bye week and have been without him for the past 5 games. Center Rodney Hudson is expected to miss his 2nd game in the past 3 weeks with an ankle injury. And outside linebacker Aldon Smith was suspended for the season before last week’s game and will miss his 2nd straight game this week. Those were 3 of their best players. The Raiders rank 15th in rate of moving the chains differential, but their talent level is much less than that without Tuck, Smith, and Hudson.
Tennessee, meanwhile, ranks 25th, but they have been significantly better offensively when talented rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota has been healthy. In the 8 games he’s played, they’ve moved the chains at a 72.27% rate, as opposed to 57.41% in the 2 games he missed. They also get top wide receiver Kendall Wright back from a 3 game absence this week and cornerback Perrish Cox returned last week, after missing 3 games. They’re missing cornerback Jason McCourty for the season and could be without outside linebacker Derrick Morgan, though McCourty has already missed 6 games and Morgan is expected to play. They’re missing fewer players than the Raiders and should not be home underdogs here by any amount, even only a couple points.
The Titans are in a much better spot than the Raiders too, hosting the lowly Jaguars next week, while the Raiders have to host a surging Chiefs team. Favorites are 96-166 ATS since 2008 before being underdogs (which the Raiders will be next week) when their opponent will next be favorites (which the Titans will be next week). On top of that, road favorites are 79-123 ATS before being home underdogs since 1989, including 8-23 ATS when their opponent will next be favorites. While the Raiders could be distracted this week by a tough, upcoming home game, the Titans should be focused. Because of that, they should be able to beat the banged up, slumping Raiders. Despite that, the public is all over the Raiders as road favorites. The public always loses money in the long run so I like to fade the public whenever it makes sense, which it does here. This has all the elements of a Pick of the Week.
Tennessee Titans 24 Oakland Raiders 17 Upset Pick +105
Pick against the spread: Tennessee +2
Confidence: Pick of the Week