Raiders vs. Patriots: NFL Week 3 Picks and Game Predictions

Raiders vs. Patriots: NFL Week 3 Picks and Game Predictions

The Las Vegas Raiders are the real deal – maybe. But why bet against the New England Patriots when you can take the Over for Sunday’s matchup?

Las Vegas Raiders vs. New England Patriots

Sunday, September 27, 2020 – 01:00 PM EDT at Gillette Stadium

That may have been the most praise anyone has ever received for losing a game. Cam Newton did a fantastic job for the New England Patriots last week, but not quite as fantastic as Russell Wilson, who threw five touchdown passes to lead the Seattle Seahawks (–4 at home) to a hard-earned 35-30 victory. Still, Newton looked a lot more like his 2015 MVP self, and he did it on Sunday Night Football. Tom Who?

The Patriots offense looks fantastic with Newton at the helm
. The rest of the team still has some work to do; they might not even be the right NFL pick for Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders, who are off to a rolling start at 2-0 SU and ATS. But I’m not terribly inclined to bet against Bill Belichick without several good reasons. He’s 162-103-9 ATS (61.1 percent) since 2003. He’s the Floyd Mayweather of football.

Early bettors seem just as torn. The early consensus reports for Sunday’s matchup have 52 percent support for the Raiders as 6.5-point favorites on Bovada’s NFL odds board. On the surface, this looks like a bargain price; FiveThirtyEight only like New England at –3.5, and Jeff Sagarin at –2.85. Maybe the Patriots are all Cam and no cattle.

I’m not quite sold on the Raiders just yet, though. Almost, but not quite; Football Outsiders only have them ranked 20th overall (No. 10 offense, No. 30 defense, No. 14 special teams) on their Week 3 DVOA charts, well behind the Patriots in ninth (No. 4 offense, No. 19 defense, No. 30 special teams). There are flaws on both sides of this coin. The betting market is cut in twain.

Spider 2 Y Banana

Or how about we just skip the spread altogether and take Over 46.5 (–105) with the fine folks at Heritage. That’s a bargain – other books at press time have the total at the somewhat-magical number 47, and there are some 47.5s out there, so smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em. These are two quality offenses about to hit the field on what should be a decent Sunday afternoon, weather-wise. Sagarin projects these two teams to score 51.83 points. It’s worth a spin.

I know Jon Gruden gets poked fun at a bit these days, but I don’t mind saying I enjoy watching his teams play. Yes, that whole “bell-cow” thing with RB Josh Jacobs (3.5 yards per carry) is a bit of a drag, but the rest of the offense looks great with QB Derek Carr (fifth overall in passing DVOA) playing like a Pro Bowler again. And Jacobs does provide some balance, not to mention ball protection – he has just one fumble in 15 starts with the Raiders.

As for those special teams, kicker Daniel Carlson and punter A.J. Cole have given Las Vegas opponents a lot of short fields to work with. But if you ignore the kick-offs, Carlson is 4-for-4 on field goals (two of those from 50-plus yards) and 8-for-8 on PATs. We’ll buy that for a dollar.

My Pick: Over 46.5 (–105) at Heritage (visit our Heritage Review)

Over 46.5(-105)
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