Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders [Sunday 01:00] (CBS, 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT): The Oakland Raiders (1-1, 43 PF-40 PA) welcome the Tennessee Titans (1-1, 43 PF-36 PA) to O.co Coliseum in Oakland on Saturday night in this AFC Preseason Week 3 meeting from the Bay Area. Offshore sportsbooks currently (Tuesday morning) have host Oakland booked from 3-point (-125, 5Dimes) to 3½-point favorites (Heritage) with the Total (Points) in the contest now at 43½ (5Dimes). The Money Line (Winner) odds see the Raiders priced at -185 with DeMarco Murray and Tennessee priced at +160 (5Dimes) on the takeback but Oakland can be found as low as -170 (BetHorizon) if shopping. The Tennessee Titans Total Team Points has been set at 20 (Betway) with the Oakland Raiders Team Total Points set at 23½ (Betway). Note: If you want to get the Raiders at -3, probably best to bet them now, early in the week.
The Tennessee Titans (5-11 ATS in 2015) drafted QB Marcus Mariota in 2015 in an effort to get someone to build around and this team needs it with a combined 18-46 SU Record the L4 years and a dismal 20-39-5 ATS (33.9%), meaning a prospective sports gambler would have won 66.1% of the time fading the Titans (60/1 to win Super Bowl LI, GTBets) the L4 Regular Seasons. That’s strong. So far this Preseason, Tennessee is 1-1, defeating the San Diego Chargers, 27-10 in Preseason Week 1 and covering ATS, 27-10 (TEN -3, 36½, Over) at Home at Nissan Stadium in Nashville and then losing to Cam Newton and the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers in Preseason Week 2 also at Home in Nashville, 26-16 (CAR -1½, 39½, Over).
In last week’s Loss to the Panthers, the Titans (8/1 to win AFC South, GTBets) fell behind 13-7 and Halftime and could never catch the Panthers who outscored Tennessee 13-9 in the 2nd Half. Getting the most action at QB for Tennessee (50/1 to win Super Bowl, GTBets) was regular Starter and Oregon product Mariota (9-10, 104 yards, TD, INT) and backup Alex Tanney (12-17, 103 yards, TD) who performed admirably. And that’s often what the Preseason seems like to some—a chance to see 2nd-, 3rd- and lower string QBs competing for Roster spots and actually showing if the have “the right stuff” like Rookie (Mississippi State University) Dak Prescott has been doing this Preseason so far with the Dallas Cowboys. Should Mariota get Injured or fail to impress in Year Two, expect Tanney from tiny Monmouth College (in Monmouth, Illinois) or maybe veteran Matt Cassel (5-7, 38 yards) to be the Titans QB go-to guy. But with Mariota, Cassel and Tanney, at least Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey (2-7 ATS) and this young Roster have some really nice Depth and Experience at the key position. But for now and the immediate future, the maturation and growth of Mariota will be the thing to watch.
Tennessee is also making strides trying to establish a solid Rushing attack to spurn the often sputtering Offense and the combination of Offseason acquiree DeMarco Murray (Philadelphia Eagles, 5 rushes, 20 yards) to go along with the underrated Derrick Henry (5 rushes, 41 yards) to go with backups like Bishop Sankey (2 rushes, 2 yards) and Delanie Walker (1 rush, 7 yards). Whether or not this “Thunder and Thunder” backfield will dominate or disappoint remains to be seen, but it seems the best route for the Titans to try to gain some Confidence when possessing the pigskin. And against Carolina, the Titans Receiving corps was led by Rookie (Massachusetts) Tajae Sharpe (6 receptions, 68 yards), Justin Hunter (4 receptions, 54 yards), Harry Douglas (3 receptions, 39 yards, TD), Tre McBride (4 receptions, 23 yards) and Alex Ellis (2 receptions, 17 yards, TD) with new signee Rishard Matthews (Miami Dolphins) catching 1 ball for 6 yards. Rookie Sharpe and Matthews are pegged to be the two starting WRs, with 14th-year veteran Andre Johnson and Douglas also in the mix. The Titans D was led by Kevin Byard (5 tackles), Kalan Reed (5 tackles) and Antwon Blake (4 tackles).
The Oakland Raiders (35/1 to win Super Bowl, GTBets) have received a great deal of attention at the Futures Book this Summer, with both Sharps and the General Public backing the Silver and Black—who have been rumored to be making a future move here in Las Vegas—in the Super Bowl, AFC, AFC West and season team Win Total marketplaces. QB Derek Carr—along with WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, RB Latavius Murray and PK Sebastian Janikowski—is one of the men Head Coach Jack Del Rio (21-17-2 SU in Preseason, 27-18-0 Overs) the Raiders (+275 to win AFC West, GTBets) and backers at the betting window are banking on having a solid 2016, and so far this NFL Preseason, Oakland (16/1 to win AFC, GTBets) is 1-1 SU and 1-1 after playing two Road games. In Preseason Week 1, the Raiders won 31-10 against the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, winning outright as 2½-point underdogs in Arizona (37, Over) while Oakland lost at Lambeau Field, 20-12 (GB -3) in Preseason Week 2 (42½, Under), meaning the final two Preseason tilts will be played in Oakland (these Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks in Preseason Week 4).
In their Loss to the Packers in America’s Dairyland, Oakland saw Rookie (Michigan State) Connor Cook (6-9, 101 yards, INT) properly get much Playing Time with normal starter Carr (9-13, 38 yards, INT, 40.2 QBR) and backup Matt McGloin (2-5, 2 yards) failing to impress throwing the football. Murray (6 rushes, 19 yards) led all Oakland Rushers but the Raiders totaled only 46 yards with a long Rush of 8 yards, so Green Bay did a good job stifling the Run game. Set Roberts (4 receptions, 50 yards), Johnny Holton (2 receptions, 24 yards), budding star Amari Cooper (2 receptions, 21 yards) and Taiwan Jones (2 receptions, 5 yards) were the only Raiders Receivers with multiple catches in the game. The Oakland Defense was led by Sean Smith (6 tackles) and Malcolm Smith (5 tackles), Corey James (4 tackles ) and Khalil Mack (4 receptions, 1 Sack).
Oakland Weather Forecast Saturday Night, Some Preseason Trends, Best Betting Approaches
The Weather forecast from The Weather Channel for Oakland on Saturday night is currently calling for Partly Cloudy conditions with a Low of 59°, WNW Winds around 13 mph with 88% Humidity. So maybe not so warm for a Summer August night, but the Pads and the Humidity and the fight to make Rosters will definitely keep things warm in Oaktown. The last time these two teams played was last Regular Season at the then-named LP Field in Nashville where the Raiders won 24-21 and covered ATS (PK) in a game that fell right on the Total (45). In prior Regular Season meetings, the Titans won 23-19 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland and covered as 2½-point chalks in 2013 while in 2007 in the the Volunteer State, the then Tom Cable-coached Raiders got smashed in Nashville in Week 1, 38-13 failing to cover ATS as 6½-point underdogs. But one aspect to look at here—though it is still Preseason—is the Travel involved and that the reality the Titans will by flying 2,291 miles, losing 3 Body Clock Hours going from EDT to PDT and playing in a game that starts at 8 EDT, means that Tennessee could get worn down in the 2nd Half. And this will be the Titans first Road game this August.
With this being Preseason Week 3, when NFL teams really start to try to get serious and start playing their regulars a bit more to get them ready for the Regular Season—which begins on Thursday Sept. 8 with a Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and the Broncos in Denver (CAR -3 -115, 42½, BetDSI)—expect a more serious effort from The Silver and Black with Carr and Cook looking to play much better at QB than they did against Green Bay. And with this being the first Home game of the preseason for Oakland, that’s a positive for Raiders backers as wella s the reality this team has already played two of the best teams in the NFL to start the Preseason (Cardinals, Packers) while Tennessee has been one of the three worst teams in the league for years (20-39-4 ATS L4 NFL Regular Seasons).
Another handicapping angle is the 0-3 SU Record in Week 3 of the Preseason for Titans Head Coach Mularkey—De Rio is 5-5 SU in Preseason Week 3—a mark from his years as Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills (2004-2005) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (2012)—although trying to make too much out of a winless Preseason record in Week 3 in three games with two different teams is a bit of a handicapping stretch and something probably best left sold by the touts.
The fact this is the Raiders first Home game this calendar year and the reality that they played the Cardinals and Packers in Glendale and Green Bay is way more significant than the SU Preseason Week 3 Record of Mularkey (or Del Rio). Recognize that. Anyway, Raiders Head Coach Del Rio’s 22-18-2 SU mark in the Preseason (23-19-0 Over) and is 5-5 U in Week 3, with Oakland losing to the Cardinals in this spot (Preseason Week 3, at Home) last year in a high-scoring affair (30-23). With Mariota and carr likely to get much more Playing Time and the Offense concentrating more on clicking now than seeing who can do what, withe elite PK Janikowski, Oakland should near the 30-part mark with Tennessee getting to 20 with an improved machine of their own with the visitors comfortable the game is being played on a Grass surface (O.co Coliseum), just like their own homefield. This game should tell us much about both teams Offenses and Defenses and could be an entertaining watch.
PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Raiders 27 Titans 20
NFL SATURDAY PICKS: Raiders Money Line -170 (BetHorizon), Over 43½ (YouWager)
NFL PICKS RECORD SEASON TO DATE: 1-1-0