Broncos descend on the Raiders looking to extend their winning form to 5-0 SU. Can the Raiders spring a surprise on Peyton Manning and Co? Find out as we preview this game and serve up our NFL picks.
Denver Broncos (4-0 SU, 2-0 away)
The Denver Broncos are off to a winning start this season, winning four on the trot to put up a 4-0 SU and a 3-1 ATS record with a 7-point margin of victory on average. Curiously, odds makers and NFL bettors aren’t quite sold on the Denver Broncos this season, mainly because they aren’t winning behind the arm of Peyton Manning rather by the strength of their defense, which ranks second in total defense, first against the pass and eighth against the rush. It’s also the second stingiest defense allowing 17.3-points against. Compare that to their offense, which in season’s past occupied a spot amongst the top offenses in the league but is sat 26th in total offense, 25th in passing and 29th in rushing, all while sitting 11th in points per game with an average of 24.3 points.
Those are simply not rankings customary of a Peyton-Manning-run offense, underscored by one of his lowest QB ratings of 80.8 over the first four games of any season in recent memory. The impact of this unfamiliar development is that the Broncos remain in quadruple-digit obscurity on the Super Bowl 50 futures board – they are matched at +1000 to win it all. Compare that to the other undefeated teams, mainly the top faves Packers (4-0 SU) at +333 and Patriots (3-0 SU) at +350.
But it’s not just in the season proper that the impact is felt. Against the Raiders, the Broncos enter as the rather subdued road favourites, in single-digit territory for the first time in five meetings. What’s more, they opened as the 6-point road chalk only to be bet down to 4.5-points at most sportsbooks. Clearly, the thinking from odds makers and NFL bettor alike is that this AFC West rivalry, previously dominated by Peyton Manning and the Broncos, is expected to be closer than ever before.
To put it into perspective, Broncos entered this matchup last season as the 12-point road chalk and the total was trading at 50.5-points – Broncos won 41-17, easily covering and almost singlehandedly cracking the total. In the reverse at Mile High, the Broncos were installed as the whopping 15.5-point home chalk and the total was trading at 48.5-points. Once again, the Broncos won 47-14, easily covering the hefty double-digit spread and came within two-points of cracking the total themselves.
The Raiders might be an improved team this season but – come on— that’s a massive improvement on the NFL odds board and we’re not quite convinced that it is warranted.
Oakland Raiders (2-2 SU, 1-1 home)
The Oakland Raiders are already enjoying a much better record through the first four games of the season than they were last year. Although they fell in their opener to the Bengals, they bounced back at home to the Ravens and then extended their winning form to two straight wins with a road win in Cleveland. Faced with the prospect of extending their winning form to three straight wins in Chicago for the first time in forever however proved a step too far as they fell to a 22-20 loss to the hapless Chicago Bears.
There’s a lot of hype and buzz about the Raiders. While some of it is deserved, some it smacks of disingenuous and overly optimistic pandering. The reality is that they are 2-2 SU thanks to beating suspect teams. Both the Ravens and Bears are 1-3 SU with injury woes to boot. It’s hardly David slaying the Goliath.
Speaking of which that’s exactly what faces them when they host the Broncos in week 5 NFL betting. Keep in mind, this is a side that was overwhelmed by the Bengals (4-0SU) in week 1 NFL betting 33-13, easily covering as the 3-point road underdogs.
NFL Betting Verdict: Are you sure the Raiders are the hyped up 2-2 SU team or the team that crumbled in week 1 to a bigger, better and stronger opponent? They just succumbed to the previously winless Bears, who aren’t impressing anyone in the NFL at all.
Previous meetings between these AFC West rivals reveals an overwhelming lean towards the Broncos. The Broncos may not have lit up the scoreboard this season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t soon. Some of it is down to tough opponents – Ravens, Chiefs, Lions and Vikings – while some of it is down to wholesale coaching changes. As the away team, the Broncos are a perfect 2-0 SU and ATS with a 9-5-point winning margin too. If that doesn’t convince you, go ahead and bet against Peyton Manning. Luck to you! We’re sticking with the Hall of Famer on our NFL picks, thank you very much.
NFL Picks: Broncos -4.5 (-110) & Broncos to win -220 at Bet365