Raiders vs. Broncos Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds: Trust Drew Lock or Derek Carr in This AFC West Matchup??

Raiders vs. Broncos Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds: Trust Drew Lock or Derek Carr in This AFC West Matchup?? article feature image

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Derek Carr

  • The Raiders need to win to keep their very slim playoff hopes alive. Should you ride them against Denver?
  • Our experts provide a full breakdown of this Week 17 tilt between two AFC West rivals.

Raiders at Broncos Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Broncos -3
  • Over/Under: 41
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Odds as of Thursday evening and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

The Raiders aren’t technically eliminated from the playoffs yet, but they’ll need to win on the road in Denver if they want any prayer at making the postseason. Should you risk betting on Oakland on the road or put your faith in Drew Lock instead?

Our experts preview the matchup and make their pick.

Raiders-Broncos Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Broncos

The Broncos’ offensive line is the big question mark in this game with Ron Leary (concussion), Ja’Waun James (knee) and Elijah Wilkinson (ankle) all missing practice to begin the week for Denver. Outside of that, everyone at least got in limited sessions.

Josh Jacobs (shoulder) still isn’t practicing, but head coach Jon Gruden is acting like Jacobs will play on Sunday. Unless he returns to practice in some fashion, I have a hard time believing that. Jacobs also had surgery on Wednesday night for a superficial skin infection on his leg. Offensive lineman Richie Incognito (ankle) is still banged up after missing Week 16. He grades out as one of the best pass-blockers in the league, so his potential absence would be a huge loss for the Raiders. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Philip Lindsay/Royce Freeman vs. Oakland’s Defense 

The Raiders travel to Mile High Stadium with a run defense that ranks 24th overall by Football Outsiders’ DVOA measure. They will face a Denver running back duo that is a threat in both the running and passing game.

Phillip Lindsay gashed the Lions for 109 rushing yards and 5.7 yards per carry average last week in Denver’s 27-17 win. His production is peaking at the end of the season with two overall top-17 or better PPR RB finishes in the Broncos past three games. Lindsay ranks in the top 20 among all running backs in rushing yards (958) and yards per carry (4.7).

The Raiders have not only struggled to contain running backs on the ground, but have also been a sieve or opposing backs through the air. Oakland has allowed the eighth-most receiving yards to opposing backs and the third-most receiving touchdowns.

Freeman has emerged as the receiving back of choice for Denver, and has caught all of this last 16 targets. He ranks in the top 20 at the position in targets (49) and receptions (42).

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Phillip Lindsay

Both Lindsay and Freeman struggled in their first meeting against Oakland, a 24-16 road loss. However, that was back in Week 1 and the Denver rushing attack has greatly improved while the Raiders rush defense has regressed.

The Denver defense has held its opponents to 20 points or less in each of their past three home games, lending support to a close game between these two AFC West rivals.

With a likely conservative game plan behind rookie quarterback Drew Lock, the Raiders will need to focus on stopping the dynamic and versatile dual backfield threat of Lindsay and Freeman. Mike Randle

Expert Pick

Matthew Freedman: Broncos -3

I’m by no means a stan for quarterback Drew Lock, but he’s probably the best passer the Broncos have had this year, and they’re 3-1 against the spread (45.6% ROI) in his starts.

More importantly, Denver is a tough place to play in December, and home opponents are 10-5 ATS (32.5% ROI) against the Raiders under HC Jon Gruden (since 2018).

Based on his arbitrarily laissez-faire coaching style, I don’t think Gruden’s road record with the Raiders is random: He’s the type of guy who would have a team that underperforms when traveling.

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

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