Jets to Win Straight Up & Cover vs. Raiders in Week 1 NFL

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 10:50 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014 10:50 PM UTC

The Oakland Raiders travel across the country in order to open their NFL season as the road underdogs against New York Jets on Sunday. Are the Raiders being unfairly underrated this season? Find out as we serve up our NFL picks on this AFC West vs. East clash.

Oakland Raiders +210, (+5.5)
Oakland Raiders head to New York as the decided underdogs at +210 to win straight up and the 5.5-point underdogs on the spread. Recently, NFL Nation polls revealed the Raiders were the least desirable outfit amongst NFL players to play for, which didn’t come as a shocking revelation when the Raiders have consistently ranked bottom of the league (or thereabouts) over the last decade.

Oakland haven’t made the playoffs now eleven years running, a trend that isn’t expected to change if overarching NFL betting markets are taken at face value. Raiders finished 4-12 last season with a 3-5 home record and a 1-7 road record, along with a 1-5 divisional record (hardly surprising given they live with the likes of Denver, Kansas City and San Diego) and a 4-8 record in the AFC Conference.

After back-to-back 4-12 seasons, the Raiders were quite active in the offseason. They scooped up Texans’ cast off Matt Schaub, a perceived “upgrade” at centre from seasons past, and dumped any excess baggage that’s been weighing them down. Wholesale changes that seem to have made a positive impact in preseason as the Raiders went 2-2 against some of the league’s best outfits. However, in a major plot twist, the Raiders announce Derek Carr as their starting quarterback this week. Matt Schaub was the numero uno at centre until this week. The combination of an injured elbow and a standout performance by Carr in the last week of preseason sees the backup become the starter.

How did he do it? You may be wondering. Well, by beating only the defending Super Bowl champions. Carr wrestled the starting job from Matt Schaub when he led the Raiders to a shocking 41-31 victory over Seattle Seahawks in week 4 of the NFL preseason. Carr went 11-of-13 passing for 143 yards and four touchdowns – one of which was against Seattle’s starters –  in Oakland’s comeback from behind win over Seattle.

It remains to be seen whether Carr can lead the Raiders to victory against the Jets, but it’s more likely that his lack of experience will prove deciding particularly against a Jets rushing defence that can be intimidating at the best of times and which ranked third overall last season.

New York Jets -250 (-5.5)
Nobody wants to lose to the Oakland Raiders, certainly not New York Jets in opening week. The Jets are looking to improve on an 8-8 season in 2013 and make the playoffs this year.

The Jets have had a propitious offseason, picking up some interesting morsels floating about from veteran quarterback Michael Vick to Eric Decker and Chris Johnson and much more. In general, they strike a much better pose on paper as the firm favourites at -250 to win straight up and the 5.5-point favourites on the spread.

The Jets have a solid front seven, a third-ranked rushing defense and a promising quarterback in Geno Smith that is looking to make some important strides in his second campaign. The experience from last season will serve him well, but, crucially, he has much better weapons at his disposal this season, Eric Decker (1,288 and 11 TDs in 2013).

NFL Betting Verdict: Overall, the young Jets would appear to hold the best value for our NFL picks in this matchup at -250 to win straight up and as the 5.5-point favourites. Firstly, let’s take the “big win” over Seattle and put it to the side because we simply don’t know whether that was just one of those rare aberrations or a sign of things to come and its best to err on the side of caution.  What we do know is that the Raiders are faced with an uphill battle this season to change perceptions and guiding attitudes amongst NFL bettors. And that’s no mean feat.

Typically, Raiders don’t play well on the east coast. If that isn’t enough of a deterrent, fielding an inexperienced centre should be. Derek Carr had a great game against the Seahawks to close preseason. You could say almost too good of a game, against which he’s going to be measured all season long and which put the burden of expectations squarely on his shoulders going into week 1.

Replicating that performance in the Raiders opening game against the Jets, a game that actually counts, isn’t going to be easy. Rex Ryan teams are essentially defensive-minded but this season his offense looks more potent, which means not only will the Raiders have trouble scoring against the Jets but the Jets could prove hard to contain if all their new offensive pieces click immediately.

NFL Free Picks: New York Jets to win straight up and cover.  

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