San Diego will be the site of an AFC West clash with the Raiders, returning from their bye week face the Chargers. Let’s review what the NFL odds makers are offering and cash a ticket.
Oakland Raiders (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS)
The Raiders lost a defensive battle in Week 5 to the Denver Broncos 16-10 in front of their home crowd thirsty for an upset. The NFL odds makers gave Oakland a 5 ½ point head start but it was not quite enough to overcome the six point loss and dropped their straight up and ATS record to 2-3 on the season. Derek Carr was 26-of-39 for 249 yards and a touchdown but a costly fourth quarter pick-six into the waiting arms of Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. derailed their chances of an upset of Peyton Manning and the undefeated Broncos.
Oakland didn’t just lose a game to Denver but lost defensive end Justin Tuck for the season with a torn pectoral muscle he sustained in the fourth quarter of that contest. Florida State product and second-round pick Mario Edwards saw a season-high 50 snaps against Denver and may be the go-to-guy to replace Tuck on a regular basis.
On a positive note rookie wideout Amari Cooper is rapidly becoming a bona fide star in Oakland with back-to-back 100 yard receiving games in the second and third week of the season. The young battery of Carr-to-Cooper gives Oakland a promising future as long as both remain healthy.
San Diego Chargers (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS)
Even a career performance by Phillip Rivers wasn’t good enough to give the Chargers a much needed win over one of the powerhouses of the league. The 12-year-veteran launched 65 times and completed 43 passes for 503 yards passing, the most in San Diego franchise history. It was in fact the 65th pass that Rivers wanted to complete most as the Bolts were marching down the field for a game-tying touchdown at storied Lambeau Field. Unfortunately for Rivers it was batted away by Packers’ cornerback Damarious Randall to effectively end the game and hand the Bolts a 27-20 defeat.
The Chargers are putting up big numbers through the air with Phillip Rivers pulling the trigger and third year man Keenan Allen stacking up gaudy stats leading to San Diego’s top ranked passing offense. However the running game, expected to be boosted with the 15th overall selection in this year’s draft Melvin Gordon, has been grounded. Gordon has reportedly been fighting through an ankle injury and it was evidenced by his 29 yards on seven carries with two fumbles (one lost) against the Packers. The Chargers rank 29th in rushing yards, 26th in points allowed and 15th in points scored.
While the Raiders have a stouter defense than the Chargers it’s not by much. Oakland is surrendering 24.8 points per game (19th) while San Diego is allowing 26.8 (26th). But after that we turn to the offense where the Chargers hold a massive advantage through the air with Rivers averaging 346.3 yards per game (1st) as opposed to Derek Carr’s 248.8 (14th).Both teams have anemic rushing attacks with Oakland ranked 28th followed closely behind by San Diego at 29th.
I think it is fair to assume the Raiders are a team slowly on the rise with much work to be done while the Chargers are a downtrodden team full of potential but not gritty or game enough to win when it counts. Yet, we shouldn’t allow those impressions to cloud our judgment as we decide which team to include in our NFL picks. The key to this game is that Oakland is susceptible to the pass, ranking 30th in the league defending it which is nothing but trouble against an offense that revolves around an air attack that is tops in the league.
The Bolts need a win and they can get well against a weak Raiders defense that has fits defending what they do best – pass. I believe the NFL odds makers are hanging an attractive enough number here that make the Chargers a good bet in this one.
NFL Pick: Play San Diego -4 at GTBets