Conservative Play Makes 'Under' the Pick in Lions vs. Raiders

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 2:23 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 2:23 PM UTC

Two teams who had disappointing showings in Week 1 of the NFL Preseason try and rebound against one another in Week 2, as the Lions head to California. The NFL Odds barely favor the home Raiders at -1, and the total sits at an even 39 points.

Neither team wins
Even though the Lions narrowly beat Johnny Manziel and the Browns in Week 1 of the preseason, they didn’t play very well. Dennis Allen’s Raiders continued to look lost in Week 1 of the preseason, and now facing one another, it’s hard to pick a winner between these two teams.

Oakland didn’t score until the final 90 seconds against the Vikings this past week, while the Lions only mustered one passing touchdown in their new offense. Even if Matt Schaub and Matt Stafford get more playing time this week, I doubt it will have a huge impact on the scoring. Neither team is going to risk injury in Week 2, and both have a lot of evaluating to do before the first set of roster cuts after Week 3.

Calvin Johnson didn’t play in the first preseason game for the Lions, and it remains to be seen whether or not he will suit up and play in Week 2 against the Raiders. However more telling to the value in this game is the two coaches.

Allen and Jim Caldwell are a combined 5-16 SU in their preseason careers, and with neither team looking keen on winning in Week 2, the total might be a better and safer option for our NFL picks. At 39 points, the total is low, but with the way these two offenses are shaping up this preseason, I doubt we see both teams crack 20 points apiece.

The Sharp Pick
Schaub looked lost in his first start with the Raiders in Week 1 of the preseason. He played early into the 2nd quarter, but only threw for 21 yards on 3/7 passing. Even if he does get some more time in this second preseason game, those numbers are not reassuring, and going against the Lions’ pass rush, it could be even worse this week.

Assuming Stafford gets about a quarter of work in this game, the under looks like a great value. The Lions on the road likely won’t be too efficient on offense, and after Stafford, the Lions don’t have much at quarterback. Kellen Moore looked great in the Lions’ first preseason game, however it was against third and fourth string defenders. The two guys ahead of him look awful however, and they will be the ones getting more playing time in Week 2.

All in all, with neither team looking like they want to win this game, the under seems to be the best play outside of not playing the game at all. At 39 points, a final score of 22-14 would get the job done for the under, and with the starters not even a lock to play well, I can think of no better play than betting on a low scoring contest.

NFL Pick: UNDER 39 

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