Raiders +10 vs. Chargers for NFL Picks

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, December 19, 2013 4:47 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 4:47 PM UTC

The Raiders are spiraling down the stretch, dropping their last four games while the Chargers are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive but where is the NFL betting odds value in this tilt on Sunday?

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Oakland Raiders (4-10 SU, 7-7-1 ATS)

The Raiders hosted the Cinderella story of the 2013-2014 NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs, as six-point home dogs in NFL odds and the results were not pretty.  As a matter of fact the result has unfortunately become quite routine as they dropped a 56-31 decision to a team known more for their defense than their offense. 

But if there was any silver lining to the latest defeat it was the 31 points of offense and a career-high 297 passing yards complemented by two touchdowns courtesy of the undrafted rookie via Penn State Matt McGloin.  However, McGloin's success last week is tempered mightily by the four picks he threw, one of which was a 47 yard pick-six by KC's Eric Berry.  But the stats will show that the team had a season-high 26 first downs with Rashard Jennings carrying the rock 23 times for 91 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns from within the one-yard line.

Yet all of the offensive fireworks were for naught last week as the Raiders employed the old matador defense in trying to defend the preternatural efforts of All-World running back Jamaal Charles.  The Raiders were actually quite effective grounding the Chief's rushing attack, holding Charles to only 20 yards on eight carries and one rushing touchdown. 

However, it was their inability pick up the elusive back as a receiving target that stymied the Raiders linebacking crew and secondary.  Charles torched the Oakland defense for 195 receiving yards and four touchdowns for a total of five on the day.  The Raiders will have to be wary of flare passes this week if they don't want a repeat of last week.

San Diego Chargers (7-7 SU, 8-5-1 ATS)

The Bolts have won and covered in NFL odds three of their last four games with their latest conquest courtesy of a stunning victory over the Denver Broncos at Mile High.  The Chargers entered the game as 9 ½ point road pups and exited as seven point outright victors with a hard fought 27-20 win in one of the toughest venues in all of sports.  It was the high-water mark for a team that has struggled with consistency this season. 

The Broncos were only the latest victims of the suddenly lethal Chargers.  It was the beginning of this latest run that got tongues wagging and eyebrows arching.  On November 24th the Bolts entered another of the NFL's most hostile environments as three-point road dogs in NFL odds and came away with a 41-38 victory at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

But it has been the emergence of Keenan Allen as a go-to receiver for Phillip Rivers in the redzone that has made this offense click.  Allen has had four TD grabs over his last two games and that has contributed to the Charger's recent surge.

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How can't the public and the squares be blindly betting the Bolts here?  They are big home favorites coming off their biggest win of the season and getting 10 days to prepare as they had the Thursday night game last week.  The Raiders on the other hand looked bewildered, beguiled and bewitched against the Chiefs who struck at will.

However, this is where we go all contrarian and line up with our fellow sharps.  The Raiders won the first meeting between these two teams earlier this season 27-17 in Oakland.  Remember, Oakland does one thing very well and that is stopping the run (ranked 9th).  They held Jamaal Charles to a mere 20 total yards last week though he lit up the Raider's secondary as the object of Alex Smith's aerial affection. 

Bottom line is that San Diego is coming off a huge win (can you say letdown?) and Ryan Mathews will not be able to get much traction against this Oakland team.  Therefore, Rivers will have to connect as frequently as Alex Smith did last week and I don't see that happening here.  The Raiders will get the chains moving on the ground and McGloin will be able to exploit a San Diego defense that ranks 29th against the pass. Play the Oakland Raiders +10 at in your NFL picks.

NFL Picks: Raiders +10

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