Oakland Raiders (5-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3)
The Raiders were one of my underrated teams coming into the season but, despite a 5-2 start, I’ve been very disappointed with them. Their record is misleading as their point differential is just +6 and they rank just 27th in first down percentage differential. Their offense, which ranks 11th in first down percentage, might actually be exceeding my expectations a little bit, but their defense has been horrendous, as they rank 27th in first down percentage allowed and have not played up to their talent level at all. That could still happen going forward, as they are, on paper, one of the more complete teams in the NFL, with strong talent on both sides of the ball, but it’s far from a guarantee at this point.
That being said, like I did last week when they were 1 point underdogs in Jacksonville, I’m taking them as 1 point underdogs in Tampa Bay this week, for similar reasons. The Raiders had their most impressive game of the season in last week’s win against the Jaguars, winning 33-16, hopefully a sign of more to come. The Buccaneers are a comparable team to the Jaguars. They also have had a horrible homefield advantage in recent years, going 17-31 ATS at home since 2010, while the Raiders are 14-6 ATS on the road in the past 3 seasons. Given that, this line should be around 3 in favor of the Raiders. The Buccaneers are also in a tough spot with a Thursday Night game against the Falcons on deck. The Buccaneers could easily look ahead past this non-conference game to their matchup with the division leader in 4 days. Favorites are 50-79 ATS since 2008 before Thursday Night Football. The Raiders are the pick here and are worth picking all the way up to Oakland -2.5.
Oakland Raiders 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 Upset Pick +100
Pick against the spread: Oakland +1