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I asked the guys over at Pregame.com to give me their thoughts. Pregame.com is the largest sports betting news site compliant with U.S. law, and have been featured by ESPN, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and hundreds of other national outlets. Pregame.com has agreed to provide us with exclusive insider analysis of how Las Vegas is looking at this week's Broncos game.
Well I don't want to say I told you so but we did, as last week we said Denver was in for a long afternoon against Detroit and boy were they. We said the Detroit defense would make Tebow look bad and he was pitiful. Tim Tebow is not a NFL QB but the experiment has begun so we have to look and handicap the game with the factors that present themselves. As bad as Denver looked last week I actually think they can hang in this game and here's why. Oakland comes off the bye which so far this year has not been good for these rested teams as teams off the bye have a losing record so far. Oakland will be starting Carson Palmer who will still be learning the offense and will be working with a limited playbook which means the Raiders will be keeping things simple on offense so the chances of a Raider Blowout are less likely. The Broncos are getting a big number here because of last weeks blowout loss and I believe they can keep this close. What may be a even bigger factor to Denver keeping this close is that the Raiders have a Big Game on Thursday Night against the Chargers. Will the Raiders really take Denver seriously this week with such a big game in just 4 days? Oakland wins but not by much Oakland 20-16.
Not many recreational bettors will be looking to back the Broncos after their game against the Lions and the oddsmakers knew it. They sent out the Raiders as -7 point home favorites and bookmakers were quick to increase the line to reflect the betting action. Oakland is coming in off a bye-week after suffering a shut-out loss to the Chiefs at home. So far this season the week off has not helped teams as much as in prior years and most sharps credit that to the new collective bargaining agreement which forces teams to take 5 days off from practicing. In the case of the Raiders, the break may have come at the perfect time and they should be extremely motivated with a three-way battle for 1st place in the AFC West taking place at the moment. For Denver, they'll need to regroup quickly and I'm a firm believer that in the NFL especially...NO team is as good or bad as they may have looked in any one game. They've lost 4 straight games to the Raiders and will be looking to extract some revenge fom their Monday Night loss at home that kicked off their season. In that game Denver managed only 38 yards on the ground but had a lot of success through the air. With Tebow at the controls, the running game will need to have a lot more success in the rematch. Darren McFadden ran all over the Broncos in the first meeting but he's not expected to be at 100% even with the extra time off. The Denver secondary limited Jason Cambell in that one but will be facing Carson Palmer this time around. There are too many variables to try and isolate value on a side so instead I'm going to focus on the total. I expect the Denver offense to struggle some more offensively this week but the defense should limit the Oakland offense who will need more time to gel with their new QB.
PICK = UNDER 43
Bryan Leonard (Follow on twitter: @BLeonardSports) In two games with Tim Tebow behind center the Broncos are averaging 12.5 points per game in regulation. That despite the fact that they are leading the league in plays from the shotgun formation. Tebow has never been good under center so the coaching staff has put him in his favored shotgun, still with ugly results. While we personally like the young man, he's proven time and time again that while a leader he just doesn't have what it takes to be a quarterback in the NFL. Without quality receivers this Bronco offense will continue to struggle.
Oakland has quarterback problems of their own with two below average signal callers. Palmer to his credit now has a couple weeks in the system, but like Tebow he doesn't have the receivers to stretch the field. We would like to recommend the under in this match-up but we're not sold on these stop units and the line has dropped from 45 to 42 in some places. Because of that we'll just sit back and watch. Who are we kidding, it's basketball season who wants to watch this?
I gave "5 minute wonder" Tim Tebow the opportunity to carry over that momentum into last week's game vs. Detroit. Though the Broncos outrushed Detroit 195-119 (a 76% chance to cover), they fell victim to a -3 in the net turnover column (a 93% chance to fail). But Tebow was miserable leading them through the air. The Broncos gained just 108 yards in the first 3 quarters. Now, Tebow has a 47% completion rate and has been sacked 13 times. Not that projected Oakland QB Palmer was much better in his debut. He threw 3 picks in just half a game. It was all part of the Raiders 28-0 shutout loss on this field. With 2 weeks to prepare, he should be far more in tune with an Oakland attack with which he should mesh perfectly. This is NFL STEAMROLLER Game of the Year weekend. As such, I would be remiss if I didn't urge QB Palmer to simply handoff to RB McFadden. A quick look at the history book tells us why. Oakland is 4-0 SU, ATS in this series with an average score of 35-19. In those 4 games, they have averaged 256 RYPG. Oakland leads the NFL with a ground game that averages 159/5.1. It will be no surprise to this bureau if the Raiders once again dominate the point of attack and Steamroll the Broncos into submission.
Many will have the inclination to fade Tebow, but his struggles are built into this line. A bookmaker told me this morning this line would be -6 if Orton started game. And Wiseguys don’t like Carson Palmer at all. Arm strength is the problem – which will not be fixed with time. Raiders will keep the game plan simple - They should be able to run (last 4 games Raiders vs. Denver rushed for over 1000 yards). But maybe not as effectively without McFadden. But lots of runs means more value for the big underdog. Possible look-ahead for Raiders with big Thursday game vs. Chargers in 4 days. Tebow has trouble vs. Blitz (Raiders love to blitz). Also note that the Raiders have lost 8 straight (SU and ATS) off a bye – Denver is the sharp side. BTW, An example of Tebow’s problems is that Sportsbooks have odds on how many more games Tebow will start this season! (currently 5.5 games)