Broncos vs. Raiders Odds, NFL Picks, Week 6 Predictions: A First-Half Betting Angle For This AFC West Showdown
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Raiders QB Derek Carr
- The Broncos host the Raiders in Las Vegas' first game since Jon Gruden's resignation.
- How should bettors approach this NFL Week 6 matchup given the fallout of Gruden's departure?
- Our betting expert analyzes the Broncos vs. Raiders odds, making his pick on the first-half spread.
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Through the first three weeks of the season, both the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos looked well on their way to challenging for the crown in the AFC West.
Things change quickly in the NFL, though, as both of these teams have dropped their past two games. Now, they look to get off the snide with a victory in Week 6 to keep pace in the AFC playoff race.
The Raiders will be entering this matchup with a new head coach, with Rich Bisaccia taking over in the interim afterJon Gruden resigned. Nevertheless, the Raiders have a short week to prepare for their divisional matchup with the Broncos.
Oddsmakers opened the hometown Broncos as three-point favorites with a total of 43.5 before the market pushed the spread to four. Is the line move warranted? How will the Raiders adjust under their new head coach?
Let’s analyze both sides of this matchup and find out!
Raiders Troubled by Coaching Turmoil
The changes in coaching could be problematic for this Raiders team, as Gruden was responsible for calling the plays, and a big part of his strength as a head coach involved coming up with game plans for the offense. Now, the Raiders will find themselves with just this week to prepare to do things a totally different way. We’ll see how this affects them going forward.
Nevertheless, the Raiders have had to win games with their offense which is led by Derek Carr, who has thrown for 1,302 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Las Vegas’ offense is just 27th in Offensive Efficiency, 24th in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play and 26th in Success Rate despite playing the 19th-ranked schedule of opposing offenses. That means this Broncos defense could present a big challenge.
The biggest issue with the Raiders offense is a line that Pro Football Focus grades 24th among all NFL teams. Las Vegas continues to miss guard Richie Incognito with the struggles of first-round rookie Alex Leatherwood, who has allowed 21 pressures and sports a PFF grade of just 26.9 in pass blocking.
The Raiders offensive line as a whole has allowed 15 sacks and is 21st in adjusted sack rate and 28th in adjusted line yards. They’re also 24th in ESPN’s pass block win rate and 31st in run block win rate.
With all the struggles on the offensive line, it’s no surprise that the Raiders have been unable to run the ball, ranking 29th in Rushing EPA, 24th in Rushing Success Rate, 27th in rushing yards per game (78.6) and 29th in yards per carry on the ground (3.2). Josh Jacobs has struggled this season, rushing for just 3.2 yards per carry while dealing with injuries.
Although the Raiders are giving up just 24 points per game and ranks 13th in Defensive Efficiency, this team hasn’t exactly played a murderer’s row of opposing offenses. With the Bears, Steelers and Dolphins on their schedule through the first five weeks, the Raiders have played the 27th-ranked schedule of opposing offenses. That makes even the Denver Broncos a step up in competition here.
With the lack of running game and struggling offensive line, this offense is highly dependent on Carr making plays. While he’s been solid, he’s not a transcendent quarterback who can overcome a bad offensive line, lack of run game and average defense, as well as an interim coach preparing on a short week.
Broncos Defense Presents Big Advantage
The Broncos have dropped two straight games to Ravens and Steelers after starting the season. 3-0 against the Giants, Jaguars and Jets. It’s clear this is a team that will beat up on inferior teams but struggle against better competition.
Nevertheless, the Broncos’ issues over the past few weeks have been injuries with wide receivers Jerry Jeudy (leg) and K.J. Hamler (knee) going down on offense, and linebacker Bradley Chubb missing time with an ankle injury.
Still, Teddy Bridgewater and this Broncos offense should find some success against this Raiders defense in this spot since he still has Courtland Sutton, who caught seven balls for 120 yards and a touchdown last week in Pittsburgh.
Javonte Williams also appears to be a rising star at running back and with Melvin Gordon, the Broncos have a 1-2 punch at running back to keep the chains moving.
Vic Fangio-led teams tend to be led by their defense, and this team is no different with the Broncos defense ranking 10th in Football Outsiders DVOA, fifth in EPA/play and seventh in Success Rate.
With the Raiders already being one-dimensional with a lack of run game, they’ll be facing a defense which is fifth in Dropback EPA/play and seventh in Dropback Success Rate (44.6%).
It’s worth it to note that cornerback Ronald Darby had full participation in practice after his hamstring injury and safety Kareem Jackson also practiced in full on Friday. However, back up corner Mike Ford will miss Sunday’s game with a knee injury.
Still, it’s clear the Broncos have the better defense and if Bridgewater and this offense can provide anything, they should come away with the win.
Broncos vs. Raiders Picks
The Raiders are in a bad spot, but even more jarring is that they have lost every single first half this season, and now they’ll be taking on a divisional opponent desperate for a win in the Broncos.
I’ll back Denver in this spot to get out to a fast start against a Vegas team that has started slowly all season.
Pick: Broncos 1H -2.5 (-110)