The Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos have lost the plot in recent weeks for different reasons, but they go into Week 6 desperate to snap the negative trend. Something’s gotta give Sunday when these AFC West rivals go head-to-head. As per multiple sportsbooks, it would seem the Raiders are looking at more hard times ahead as they adjust to the post-Jon-Gruden era. But the public thinks otherwise, siding with the Raiders for NFL picks against the spread.
|Game: Las Vegas Raiders (3-2) at Denver Broncos (3-2) |
Location: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver
Date/Time: Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, 4:25 p.m. ET
|Las Vegas Raiders||+4 -110||+170||43½ -110o|
|Denver Broncos||-4 -110||-200||43½ -110u|
The Las Vegas Raiders swept the head-to-head series with the Denver Broncos last season, winning 32-31 in Denver and 37-12 in Las Vegas. The Raiders have won four of the last six meetings going back to 2018. It’s the dawn of a new era in Denver with Teddy Bridgewater the starter. It’s also the start of the post-Jon Gruden era in Las Vegas. It’s anybody’s guess which way this matchup goes.
Las Vegas Raiders
Next game: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Raiders’ hot start fizzled a fortnight ago behind a 28-14 loss to division-rival Los Angeles Chargers. Derek Carr & Co. struggled against the stout Chargers defense while the Raiders defense had no answers for Justin Herbert and the offense. Las Vegas entered as 3-point underdogs, but they didn’t whiff at the point spread.
In Week 5, the Raiders came out flat against a suspect Chicago Bears side and lost 20-9. Matt Nagy has had Justin Fields wrapped in bubble wrap since his NFL debut, but even with the conservative play-calling and rather unimaginative offense, the Bears somehow left Allegiant Stadium with the W.
One has to consider that the drama surrounding former head coach Jon Gruden played a factor in the outcome of the game — to the detriment of the Raiders. The Raiders are second in the AFC West with a 3-2 record and a 0-1 record in the AFC West.
Safety Roderic Teamer Jr. (ankle), wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (knee), linebacker Denzel Perryman (toe), tackle Brandon Parker (ribs), tackle Kolton Miller (pectoral) linebacker Cory Littleton (shoulder), safety Dalin Leavitt (knee), fullback Alec Ingold (shoulder), cornerback Nate Hubbs (shoulder), safety Johnathan Abram (shoulder), and cornerback Brandon Facyson (hip) are all probable; defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson (back) and quarterback Marcus Mariota (quadricep) are questionable; and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (hip) is doubtful.
Next game: at Cleveland Browns
The Denver Broncos have lost their way over the last couple of weeks, since Teddy Bridgewater suffered a concussion in Week 4’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. Last Sunday, Bridgewater started against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he couldn’t prevent the Broncos from suffering a second-straight loss.
It did get close though, as Bridgewater engineered a late-stage rally. He passed for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to bring the Broncos within five points.. But that’s as close as Denver would get. The Steelers added a field goal to pull ahead in the game and on the final drive Brigewaterr’s first interception of the season halted the Broncos’ advance and handed the Steelers the victory.
The Broncos are tied with the Raiders on a 3-2 record but they’re 0-0 in the division. This is the first AFC West clash for Denver.
Wide receiver Courtland Sutton (ankle), safety Justin Simmons (hand), safety Kareem Jackson (head), defensive end Shelby Harris (wrist), running back Melvin Gordon III (leg), and cornerback Ronald Darby (hamstring) are probable; linebacker Aaron Patrick (ankle) is questionable, and cornerback Mike Ford (leg) is out.
Betting on the Game
Although the Las Vegas Raiders enter as road underdogs, they’re getting a lot of love from the public. Books opened the point spread with the Broncos tipped at -3½, but it wasn’t long before the line was on the move.
Heavy early action came down on the Raiders, moving the needle down by half a point. Despite the upheaval in Las Vegas, the public clearly is still willing to buy what the Raiders are selling. Suppose, everybody loves a feel-good story. Hence the support for the Raiders to overcome all the bad press that was directed at the franchise this week
Trial and tribulation work both ways, it can be a motivator or a distraction. Certainly, there will be motivation to draw the line under the Jon Gruden era, but the Raiders are in such disarray right now that it’s hard to imagine they’ll get over it that quickly.
Consider how fragile the Raiders looked against the Chicago Bears last Sunday too, and that was just before Gruden’s resignation when he was still trying to brazen his way out of the situation..Add to that the media attention that followed in the wake of Gruden’s departure……well, it’s been an inordinate amount of distractions to deal with and that could be to the Raiders’ great detriment.
This is a fierce AFC West rivalry, and you can bet Vic Fangio’s side won’t be an easy out. Mile High, the altitude, the Broncos’ defense can all conspire against the Raiders. Keep in mind, this is Denver’s first division rivalry game, and with home advantage, they have a chance to leapfrog the Raiders and close the gap on the Los Angeles Chargers in the table.
All told, it’s hard to look past the Broncos in this game. And now that the line is down to a field goal — the pesky hook out of the way — the Broncos emerge as the more tempting bet for NFL picks.