Zylbert’s NFL Over/Unders: Will Raiders Rebound in Week 2 Under Jon Gruden?
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured; Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.
Betting odds: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
- Over/Under: 45.5
- Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: CBS
Zylbert’s 2018 NFL Over/Under Betting Record: 0-1-1, -1.1 units
Last Week’s Results: Bills-Ravens Under 40 (loss), Bears-Packers Over 47 (push)
After significant hype throughout the offseason, the new-look Raiders commenced their regular season with a depressing dud, as Jon Gruden’s second tenure in Oakland began with a 33-13 defeat at the hands of the Rams on Monday Night Football.
Quarterback Derek Carr wasn’t great in the opener, finishing with three interceptions and zero touchdowns, and his coach promptly called out his quarterback after the loss.
Fading Oakland’s offense in the short term appears to be wise as it sorts out chemistry issues — especially with a challenging matchup on the road against a division rival on tap.
The Broncos ranked tied for fourth last season in pass defense, limiting their opponents to just 201 passing yards per game, and the argument could be made that they’re even better this season.
Led by Von Miller, Shaquil Barrett and rookie Bradley Chubb, this unit is dangerous and proved that once again in Week 1, collecting six sacks in a season-opening victory against Seattle.
Denver’s defense is very good against the run, too, finishing fifth in that department last season (89.4 yards per game). They’ve apparently picked up where they left off after allowing just 64 yards on the ground to the Seahawks last Sunday.
That’s good news for a unit that has ranked among the top-three in the NFL in fewest yards allowed per play each of the past three seasons.
The offense, meanwhile, also played a large role in that win, though I don’t see them pulling off an encore in Week 2.
Case Keenum is obviously an upgrade for the Broncos compared to their previous quarterbacks. While he enjoyed a nice debut with 329 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Seahawks, he also served up three picks as well.
It’s not a bad idea to rely on a regression from Keenum after his out-of-nowhere breakout campaign from 2017.
Another reason to believe in the Raiders defense to come through in this encounter is that they’ve had recent success holding down Denver’s top two playmakers, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
In the two meetings between these AFC West rivals last year, Thomas and Sanders reeled in 13 catches for 68 yards combined — and zero touchdowns. Oakland’s rush defense is also capable of providing some sort of resistance versus a Denver ground game that is still a work in progress.
Don’t be surprised if this rivalry affair settles into a grind-it-out type matchup, which would be very beneficial for this bet.
Play: UNDER 45.5 (-110)
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.