Zylbert’s NFL Over/Unders: Can the 1-7 Raiders Be Trusted to Score?
Stan Szeto, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jalen Richard
Betting odds: Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders
- Over/Under: 49.5/50
- Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
- Channel: FOX
Zylbert’s 2018 NFL Over/Under Betting Record: 6-3-1, +2.7 units
Last Week’s Result: Jets-Dolphins Under 44 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Up to this point, the inaugural season of Jon Gruden’s mega 10-year, $100 million deal has been nothing short of disastrous.
The Raiders have sunk to the bottom of the AFC with an embarrassing 1-7 record and even that doesn’t tell the whole story as the Raiders have consistently been routed. In fact, all but two of their losses have been by two touchdowns or more. That, quite frankly, is the sign of a team at rock bottom.
But contrary to popular belief, they’re not as bad as the numbers may suggest, at least offensively.
Given the club’s massive struggles, it’s easy to forget that Derek Carr was selected to three straight Pro Bowls — including as recent as a season ago. It’s also understandable to overlook the fact that Carr has registered a neat 94.8 passer rating, which would go down as the second-highest such mark of his career if it ended there. He’s never finished with more passing yards per game than what he’s delivering right now (274.8 yards/game), too.
Carr is also entering a potential bounce-back spot, something that has normally yielded positive results. Last Thursday’s nightmarish blowout loss to the 49ers marked the sixth time in Carr’s career in which his team was held to single-digit points.
Carr has always bounced back nicely in this spot. In those five games after a single-digit performance he owns a 67.9% completion rate and has a 10-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Amari Cooper is now gone but there’s still enough talent here within the receiving corps, specifically Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant, Brandon LaFell, Seth Roberts and tight end Jared Cooks, to enable the former Fresno State product to sustain this type of production.
The rush attack missing veteran workhorse Marshawn Lynch hurts but Doug Martin has filled in capably in his absence. Additionally, Jalen Richard is a fine change-of-pace back who can be a real useful contributor in the passing game in case the Raiders go down by a sizable amount.
It’s really the defensive side of the ball that has to be viewed as the main root of Oakland’s woes. They’re allowing the second-most points per game in all of football (31.5), and looking beneath that, it’s easy to see why. For starters, they’ve notched the fewest sacks of any team, and since last year, no one has recorded fewer takeaways.
Their defense against both the pass and the rush has been abysmal. Opposing quarterbacks have posted a 113.9 passer rating versus the Raiders this season, and teams are victimizing their D for a whopping 144.5 rushing yards per game, the most given up on a weekly basis.
So, this figures to lead to a delightful day for the Chargers offense, which is shaping up as the backbone of this over bet.
As it is, Philip Rivers is already enjoying an MVP-caliber campaign. He’s etched by far his best passer rating (116.5) if it holds up even close to that, and he’s also on pace for the most touchdowns and fewest interceptions of his career. Through the halfway point, Rivers has tossed 19 interceptions compared to only three picks.
There’s no sign of him slowing down alongside his loaded supporting cast, not while the Chargers have their best record (6-2) through eight games in years. Rivers also couldn’t be in any more of a desirable spot, given his widely successful track record when facing the Raiders.
For his career, the former No. 4 overall draft choice owns an outstanding 97.1 passer rating in his dates with Oakland, and he’s been very consistent in these games as well. Going back to 2012, Rivers has never finished with a QB rating below 80.0 when taking on this division rival, and in four of his last five meetings with the black-and-silver, he’s put up a rating higher than 100.0.
Rivers isn’t the only Charger who might potentially feast Sunday afternoon at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum. Melvin Gordon could be in for a big game as well, averaging the sixth-most rushing yards per game (82.7) in the NFL. As a team, no one in the AFC is eating up more yards on the ground than Los Angeles (128.9).
This number has been on the move and in some places is still hovering at 49.5 but is as high as 50.5 in others. Shop around for the best number and whether you can get 49.5 or 50, I’d advise buying the half-point or point to make this total 49, a very key number in the world of football over/unders.
Play: OVER 49 (-120)