The reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos are in a tight three-way battle for supremacy in the AFC West and will visit the surprising Oakland Raiders on Sunday in a showdown for first place in the division. The Raiders are 5-0 on the road en route to their 6-2 mark and enter a stretch of four consecutive home games.
Derek Carr threw for a staggering 513 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-24 win at Tampa Bay as Oakland kept pace with Denver atop the division. “Where we’re at? I’m not sure, but we’re in a good spot,” Carr said. “We’re heading the right way, but we still have a way to go as a football team.” While the Raiders are off to their best start since 2001 behind a potent offense, the Broncos continue to flex the defensive muscles that paved their path to the Super Bowl last season. Denver has dominated the series in recent seasons, winning eight consecutive matchups before Oakland ended the streak in the Mile High City last December.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
LINE: Oakland opened -2.5 and money rolled in on the road team in this AFC West showdown. The point spread dropped as low as a pick ’em during the week before settling in at -1 on Sunday morning. The total opened at 44.5 and has been bet down one full point to 43.5. View the complete line history here.
WEATHER: The forecast for Oakland Coliseum is calling for partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 60’s with winds blowing west at 7 mph.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “On Tuesday afternoon, we got a sharp bet on Oakland at +1, so we moved the game to a pick ’em,” Jerome said. “On Thursday night, we got another sharp bet on Raiders -1, so we moved the game to Oakland -1.5.” – Mike Jerome, lines manager for TopBet.eu. Jerome said he expected Denver money to move that down a tick to Oakland -1, which it did on Saturday.
Broncos – RB Devontae Booker (probable, shoulder), LB Shaquil Barrett (questionable, shoulder), LB Brandon Marshall (questionable, hamstring), CB Kayvon Webster (questionable, hamstring), C Matt Paradis (questionable, hip), CB Aqib Talib (out, back)
Raiders – WR Michael Crabtree (probable, leg), WR Amari Cooper (probable, back), T Austin Howard (questionable, knee), OL Kelehi Osemele (questionable, knee), FB Jamize Olawale (questionable, ankle), T Menelik Watson (questionable, calf), DT Stacy McGee (questionable, ankle), CB Sean Smith (doubtful, shoulder)
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (6-2, 4-2 ATS, 4-4 O/U): Star cornerback Aqib Talib is in danger of missing his second straight game, flying to California on Thursday to get a second opinion on his ailing back. Denver has quality depth at the position as Bradley Roby stepped in for Talib and earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after returning an interception for a touchdown in a 27-19 win at San Diego. Rookie running back Devontae Booker hurt his shoulder in his first start in place of an injury C.J. Anderson, but is expected to go against Oakland. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are the top two targets for Trevor Siemian with 44 and 42 receptions, respectively.
ABOUT THE RAIDERS (6-2, 5-3 ATS, 6-2 O/U): Carr leads the AFC with 17 touchdown passes versus only three interceptions and is getting a lot of mileage from his wide receiver tandem of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Cooper had 12 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown last week to boost his team-leading total to 52 receptions while Crabtree hauled in his NFL high-tying sixth touchdown catch. Defense has been a nightmare for the Raiders, who are ranked 31st in the league, surrendering a total of 410.4 total yards while being equally generous against the run and pass. Khalil Mack, who has five of Oakland’s 11 sacks, recorded five in the win at Denver last season.
* Broncos are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
* Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
* Over is 4-0 in Broncos last 4 games in Week 9.
* Over is 6-0 in Raiders last 6 games in Week 9.
* Favorite is 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The bettors are backing the road Broncos with 56 percent of the wagers on the defending Super Bowl champions. As for the total, 60 percent of bettors are taking the over.