If you’re an Oakland Raiders fan, November 17 seems much longer than a month ago.
Yet, broken dreams can happen fast in the NFL.
The Oakland Raiders were never truly a playoff contender in 2019 – yet, somehow, they’re still alive, more about that later – but there was a time when they were a serious postseason threat as silly as the last four weeks have made that seem.
On Nov. 17, the Raiders beat the then winless Cincinnati Bengals to complete a three-game home streak that turned their record from 3-4 to 6-4. The Raiders were suddenly an NFL flavor. They were 6-4 with the third easiest remaining schedule in the NFL. The playoffs and a 10, 11-win season looked so, so possible,
Now, they’d be lucky to get to 8-8.
We had warning signs, though. The Raiders haven’t beaten a team with a current winning record all season. The three-game winning streak in November was against woeful opponents. Oakland barely won all three games.
What we have seen from the Raiders in the past four weeks has been alarming, though. They lost to the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Tennessee Titans by a combined score of 116-33. Yes, you read that right.
Now, in the biggest disaster of them all – the Raiders flubbed their final game in Oakland before moving to Las Vegas in ridiculous fashion – to the Jacksonville Jaguars of all teams.
Oakland led, 16-3, with five minutes to go in the third quarter to see it all slip away, ending in a, 20-16, Jacksonville victory. What was supposed to be a joyous last game in Oakland ended up with the home team being booed off the field.
The fans had their right to boo. Jacksonville came into the game losing five straight games by, at least, 17 points and it hadn’t won on the West Coast in 15 years since it won in Oakland in 2004.
It was all so miserable for a Raiders’ team that is absolutely reeling. But, somehow, the season is not over for the 6-8 Raiders in the porous AFC.
The Raiders have a faint chance to make the playoffs if they win their final two games, against fellow porous teams, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos.
So, yes, there is still some intrigue for the Raiders as they head to Southern California to play the Chargers in a game where there will likely be more Raiders’ fans than Chargers’ supporters.
Let’s look at some key betting elements to the game. Lines are based on a sampling of several sportsbooks:
The Point Spread
The line: Chargers by 6.5 points.
Why: This line is moving toward the Chargers. It opened at 5.5 points at most sportsbooks. The oddsmakers clearly no longer trust the Raiders. Still, it’s pretty amazing that the Chargers are a touchdown favorite. They are 5-9 and the Raiders are 6-8 and the Chargers do not have a home-field advantage because it is always overrun by fans of the visiting teams. And, the Raiders beat the Chargers, 26-24, in Week 10. But here are some reasons why the Chargers are favored: Despite winning only five games, they are +9 in point differential and the Raiders are -114 in point differential. Also, the Raiders currently look incapable of winning a game.
My lean: I can’t pick the Raiders to win right now, but I don’t trust the Chargers, either. I think they win in a close game. So, take the Raiders and the points.
The line: 46 points
Why: The last time these two teams played the total was 50. Oakland games are averaging 47.1 points a game this season. Chargers’ games are 42 points a game. So, this total is pretty well set.
My lean: I’d take the over, slightly. I don’t feel great about this line, because I believe is expertly set. But my prediction for the game is Chargers 24, Raiders 23. So, I have to lean over. But don’t expect much from the Raiders in the second half. They have scored one touchdown and two field goals in 27 possessions in the second half of the past five games.
The lines: Los Angeles is -278. Oakland is +220
My lean: I think the Chargers are going to win, but this is not a good price for a struggling team. It’s not just worth it. The Raiders offer the much better value on the moneyline.
Prop bets to consider
Raiders 76.5 and over +265
Why: I love these point spread, total parlays. And this price is excellent.
Under 42 +143
Why: In case this game goes the way of most Chargers’ games, this under 42 alternate line offers a good edge at a strong price.