A tough defeat last night dropped our pre-season record to 2-1 thus far in 2014. While we were on the Bears -3 points, Chicago only managed to win by one-point. A last-minute two-point conversion derailed our hopes for continued perfection, but we’ll look to bounce back tonight. One early observation from the game is that the Bears and Jay Cutler seem focused and primed for a big year in 2014. Hovering around 30/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, Chicago represents excellent value and could provide you with a valuable ticket to perhaps buy out of come the post-season. This is a good football team led by a smart coach with great offensive instincts in Marc Trestman.
Moving onto tonight, we’ve got a much busier slate of games to choose which one to feature and we’ll focus on two squads desperately seeking much better fortunes in 2014. The Detroit Lions have a new head coach and will be expecting big things under Jim Caldwell, as they travel to southern California to take on a revamped Oakland Raiders squad. Both teams looked sluggish from their pre-season openers in Week 1, and even though the games still don’t officially matter, these teams will be looking for improved outings in their second week. Read on below for further game details and our official Friday night selection.
Lions vs. Raiders Betting Odds:
Detroit Lions +3 (-115)
@ Oakland Raiders -3 (-105)
Over 40 (-110)
Under 40 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Lions vs. Raiders Pick:
For the first time in a long while, it seems as if there is some positive energy surrounding the Oakland Raiders. They made a lot of noise in the off-season bringing in talented veterans, though it remains to be seen if that translates to on-field success. Nonetheless, everything we’ve heard from Oakland this month has been positive. By all accounts their practices and scrimmages have gone well and quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Derek Carr had been looking excellent. That’s why their opening game last week vs. the Vikings left a ton to be desired. A lot more is expected from them in their 2014 home debut against the Lions.
The Lions too were quite sluggish in Week 1, just squeaking out a narrow 13-12 victory against the experimental Cleveland Browns. It seems as if the new coaching personnel has made a ton of changes, and while they’re not necessarily unpopular among key players, many have stated just how different they are. Matt Stafford didn’t look like himself last week and has admitted to this pre-season being a steep learning curve for himself. Although he didn’t get much work against the Browns, he should get some more time tonight to work out the kinks. The Lions are slated to be without DE Ziggy Ansah, and wideout Ryan Broyles due to injuries.
Beyond the starters for both teams at QB, I lean with the Raiders and their depth throughout the game. Kellen Moore and Dan Orlovsky remain in a batlle for the back-up in Detroit, but neither are of the calibre the Raiders possess. Derek Carr is a very talented rookie, and could easily replace Matt Schaub as the starter at some point during this year. And tonight’s likely 4th quarter quarterback, Matt McGloin actually started with some success during last season. The Raiders should be able to move the football late in the game against the vulnerable back-ups in the secondary of Detroit.
Head coach Dennis Allen has vowed to his starters to get them more playing time tonight in Oakland. The likes of Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew will receive more touches and should be able to have some success against Detroit. There’s been a ton of optimism surrounding the Raiders camp of late, and expect them to capitalize on that in front of their home fans tonight. Carr, Schaub, and McGloin are all capable quarterbacks in this league, and should be able to experience some success against the Lions tonight. With a short price of just three points, feel confident backing an improving and hungry Oakland squad tonight.
PICK = Raiders -3 (-105)