NFL line watch: Can the Raiders continue to live up to their lofty expectations?

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Each week during the pro football season, Covers Expert Art Aronson of AAA Sports looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.

Game to bet on now

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-3)

Seems like every game between AFC North teams (except for the Browns) has a field goal line, and this one is no different. Both teams are coming off impressive victories – the Bengals sorting things out after a slow start and beating the Jets in New York; and the Steelers breaking open a moderately tight game and winning in Washington. Cincinnati is the defending division champions (12-4), but the smart money seems to be on the Steelers to get the title back this season. In fact, many bettors like the Steelers as the second-best team in the conference, behind New England. This line opened at 3, has stayed at 3 and is unlikely to move.

Game to wait on

Atlanta at Oakland (-4.5)

This one has already been bet down from 5.5, and with heavy money (2/3 of wagering) on the Raiders, there is a chance it could move again. The Raiders opened a lot of eyes by going for two and beating the Saints in New Orleans this past Sunday, but equally as impressive was Oakland QB Derek Carr, who threw for 319 yards and no interceptions – with completions to nine different receivers. The Raiders also outrushed the Saints 2-1 (167-88) and served notice that, what is expected to be, their final year in the Bay Area before a move to Las Vegas will be successful. Four of Atlanta’s next five games are on the road, with two of the games on the West Coast and another to Denver in as brutal a stretch as any team has this season.

Total to watch

Tampa Bay at Arizona (50)

The Cardinals will no doubt be spending a lot of time in practice this week to locate their long passing game – which the Patriots neutralized on Sunday night. Carson Palmer completed only three passes for more than 20 yards in the game, New England forcing them to settle for underneath tosses. Zona needs to connect on a few early vs. the Bucs to get the feeling back. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is still feeling its oats after putting up 31 points at Atlanta, and feels it has a future MVP in QB Jameis Winston (28 for 33 and four TDs) vs. the Falcons. 50 might be a low number for these two teams in what has all the makings of a shootout.


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