One of football’s great all-time rivalries kicks off Week 14 in the NFL with a Thursday night encounter between the reeling Oakland Raiders and the red-hot Denver Broncos.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos enter this contest on an absolute roll. Denver has won seven straight contests and head into Oakland riding a wave of confidence. Though the Broncos have wrapped up the AFC West division after thirteen weeks, much remains on the line for Denver. In the always competitive AFC, you can bet the Broncos have their focus set on obtaining a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout. In order to attain those feats, a slip-up against an inferior Oakland side is simply out of the question. Denver will likely again be without key wide-out Brandon Stokley and linebacker Wesley Woodyard.
For the Raiders it’s been another dismal season in 2012. After making a coaching season entering this campaign, much optimism surrounded this team, but it’s quickly evaporated just thirteen weeks into the season. The 3-9 Raiders have lost five straight games and were eliminated from playoff contention last week. Oakland truly has nothing to play for aside from a high draft pick, and after getting crushed 37-6 by Denver in Week 4, it’s hard to envision an improved performance on Thursday evening. Much of Oakland’s problems this season can be attributed to the loss of big defensive tackle Richard Seymour who will miss his 5th straight game against the Broncos.
Broncos vs. Raiders Betting Odds:
Denver Broncos -10.5 (-110)
@ Oakland Raiders +10.5 (-110)
Over 48.5 (-110)
Under 48.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Broncos vs. Raiders Pick:
Despite the fact that the Broncos and Raiders couldn’t be further apart in terms of talent, laying double digits on the road is a long-term losing wager when it comes to betting NFL football. Thus, there are better options in this game, specifically in the total market.
The Raiders likely won’t be able to stop the Broncos, but they may not have to. Manning and his friends will surely score an abundance of points, so much so that he could be in line for a bit of a rest in the 2nd half. Expect the Broncos to open up a sizable lead and not look back. After separating from Oakland by a wide margin, look for the Broncos to work on their new run game led by Knowshon Moreno. With all the injuries the Broncos have endured in the backfield, it would be wise for John Fox to use this game as some added practice for Moreno. Of course, an added emphasis on running the football would be conducive to resulting in a lower scoring game.
Unlike Oakland, Denver actually possesses a defense with solid players that produce tangible results. The Broncos have been solid at stopping the opposing offense in 2012 and should have absolutely no difficulty limiting the effectiveness of Carson Palmer come Thursday night. Denver possesses a ferocious pass rush, and when you consider the fact that Oakland has conceded 11 sacks in their past four games, it could be a long evening for Palmer and his offensive-line.
Even if Darren McFadden does return for the Raiders, you have to question his effectiveness after so much time off, and going against a stout Denver defense. Expect Denver to win this game comfortably, and they should take their foot off the pedal by the second half, perhaps resting starters and focusing on the run game. The Raiders are simply in disarray at the moment, and them getting double-digits in points in this contest would be a morale boost for this struggling squad. Expect an easy Denver win, but one that falls well under the total.
PICK = Under 48.5 (-110)