Detroit Lions vs Oakland Raiders (11/3/19): NFL Betting Picks, Lines

The Setup

The Oakland Raiders are suddenly, once again, not such a sexy playoff pick.

That’s what happens when a team losses two games in a row. Thus, Oakland’s roller-coaster season continues. Oakland looked great in a Week 1 home win over the Denver Broncos. Then, the Raiders were completely outclassed by the Kansas City Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings.

It appeared that Oakland was on its way to another disappointing season under new/old coach Jon Gruden, who led the team to a 4-12 record last season in his Raiders’ return. Yet, Gruden and his squad stepped up to beat the Indianapolis Colts on the road and the Chicago Bears in London to improve to 3-2. Yet, the Raiders responded by losing twice on the road, to the Green Bay Packers and the Houston Texans this past Sunday. Oakland was game against the Texans, but it just couldn’t make enough plays on both sides of the ball to beat the Texans.

oakland raidersBut not all is lost for the 3-4 Raiders. Five of the final nine games are in Oakland, including the next three games. Most importantly, the Raiders’ remaining schedule is not difficult at all. Their final nine opponents have a combined winning percentage of .364, which is the third lowest in the NFL.

This week’s game against the visiting Detroit Lions is critical for Oakland. If it can beat a solid opponent to move to 4-4 after playing a way from Oakland in five straight games and with an easy second-half schedule, Oakland will have to be considered playoff contenders in a weak AFC.

There is a huge difference between 4-4 and 3-5. Beating the Lions, 3-3-1, won’t be easy, but the Raiders must find a way to win.

The key is keeping Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is having a big season, from taking the game over. The Raiders have won games against lesser quarterbacks this season, but have been gutted by the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson. Stafford is somewhere in between the caliber of quarterbacks Oakland has played. He can be the best player on the field Sunday, but it’s Oakland’s job not to make that happen.

Let’s look at some key betting elements to the game. Lines are based on a sampling of several sportsbooks:

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Point Spread

The line: Oakland by 1.5 points.

Why: It’s a predictable line. These appear to be pretty evenly matched clubs. The Raiders are 3-4 and the Lions are 3-3-1. Both teams have had their moments this season. Both are basically average teams.  The home teams routinely gets a three-point bump. So, basically, the oddsmakers think the Lions are 1 or 2 better than Oakland, but the swing is that the Raiders are at home. I think is this a perfectly priced point spread in a game that should be tight throughout.

My lean: This is so tough. I think the Raiders will be energized by playing in front of their home fans for the first time in seven weeks. But I also think this is a dangerous game for the Raiders. It’s truly a coin flip game for me, but if I had to make a pick, I’d go with Oakland, but not feel great about it. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Raiders win by one point.

Over/Under

The line: 50.5 points

Why: In Houston last week, the total was 51. The Texans beat the Raiders, 27-24, nailing the total. This total is right in line. The Raiders are averaging 21 points a game and they are allowing an average of 27 points a game. The Lions are averaging 25.7 points a game, while they are allowing 26.5 points  a game. Thus, this is a great total price set.

My lean: I think it’s going to the total is going to end in the 40s. So,  I lean taking the under.

Moneyline

The lines: Oakland is -130 and Detroit is +130.

Why: The point spread is tight, so, of course, the moneyline prices are going to be fairly similar.

My lean: The value here is with Detroit. They are getting plus-money. I believe this is going to be a very close game that can go either way. Moneyline bets are bonus bets, so go with the team that offers better value.

Parlay

Lions moneyline and under +280

Why: This bet is based on value. The Lions are getting strong value on the moneyline as a short point-spread underdog and we like the under. It’s a smart play at a good parlay price.

Raiders +1.5 points -141

Why: As I wrote above, I like the Raiders. but I the point spread scares me. The alternative point spread gives some room for the home team at a not-so-awful price.

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Bill Williamson has been a professional sports journalist for 29 years. He has covered the NFL for the past 23 years. He has covered the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders as a beat reporter. He covered the NFL at ESPN for eight years. He currently works for several outlets, covering the NFL and sports gambling.

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