Buffalo Bills (6-5 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (9-2 SU, 7-4 ATS)
Week 13 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 4:05PM EST
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: BUF +3/OAK -3
Over/Under Total: 49.5
The Buffalo Bills come to the Bay Area to face the Oakland Raiders on Sunday in a key AFC matchup. The Bills were able to win their second game in a row by beating the Jaguars, 28-21, on Sunday, to get their record to 6-5. They are still in there with a shot. For Oakland, the wins continue to pile up, as they moved to 9-2 with another come-from-behind win over the Panthers, 35-32. The win was their fifth in a row and they now are in first in a deep AFC West. Can they get their tenth win against a tough Bills squad at home this week?
The Raiders are enjoying their 4th straight game at home. Even before the season began, this 4-game period was identified as a period where the Raiders would need to thrive in order to really put a good season together. So far, so good. In addition to scoring some great road wins this season, they have also taken to playing at home lately and have won the first 3 games on this homestand and look to make it 4 this week. It wasn't easy on Sunday against a desperate Carolina team trying to salvage their season. Derek Carr was able to overcome a pinky injury to throw for over 300 yards and once again rally from a deficit to win the game. He's developing a real knack for that this season. We can hash through the stats all we want, but when a team and a QB thrive in critical late-game situations, that has a way of rendering a lot of analysis moot. There's a lot of parity in this league, with a ton of games up for grabs late. And more often than not, Oakland is able to deliver.
Carr led a game-tying drive early in the 4th, before hitting Michael Crabtree for a long pass to set up an easy field goal for the go-ahead score. The run game wasn't working for Oakland on Sunday, but with Oakland's diversified aerial attack, it doesn't always matter. Carr hits big bodies in the red zone, with Andre Roberts and TE Clive Walford each catching TD passes. Crabtree has 110 yards on the day, with Latavius Murray productive through the air. Carr always finds a way to use Murray even if he's not firing on the ground.
The defense wasn't that great for Oakland on Sunday. After cruising out to a 24-7 lead at halftime, Carolina put up 25 straight points to lead 32-24 in the 4th quarter. Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart had a good day, while Cam Newton was able to hit his receivers for a few long TD strikes. But just as the offense is clutch, so is the defense. A Khalil Mack sack ended the last Carolina drive. Mack was big in the game, having earlier returned a Newton pass for a TD. Bruce Irvin also had a sack and has been big in recent weeks. They're not a foolproof defense by any means. But they play in-step with the offense and their clutch play has been a big part of this 9-2 start, regardless of what the rankings say.
Even if you have biases against Oakland for whatever reason, it's hard to not like what they're doing this season. They have a certain winning spirit. At least twice this season, coach Jack Del Rio really took a risk and went for it, leading to winning plays. Combine that with the clutch play they're getting on both sides of the ball, the Raiders are playing and being coached the way we hope our favorite teams would. They really get after it, never play it safe, and just have a very positive winning attitude.
It wasn't easy for the streaky Bills on Sunday, as they battled with an energetic Jags team back and forth, finally getting their noses ahead in the final quarter to win their second in a row. This season saw them start 0-2, win four in a row, lose three in a row, and now they've won 2 straight. On Sunday, it was 7-6 Jacksonville heading into the second half, before Buffalo put together three touchdowns for the win. LeSean McCoy was big with over 100 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard TD run. QB Tyrod Taylor was useful with his legs and ran in a score from 7 yards out in the second half. The Bills are averaging a robust 5.3 yards a run on the season. After being out since week two, Sammy Watkins rejoined the fray and his first game was a good sign with 80 yards through the air, including a 62 yard play. Justin Hunter caught a touchdown score.
QUIT PISSING AWAY YOUR HARD EARNED LOOT! BET ON THE BILLS VS. RAIDERS GAME AT DISCOUNTED ODDS -105 TODAY AT 5DIMES
The Buffalo defense has been all over the scale this season. It sounds natural enough, but in their losses, they've been really leaky and they've been really solid and a playmaking bunch in their wins. But the offense is more of the stable part of the equation with the Bills, as the "D" has been awfully erratic. At their best, however, they get after the quarterback in a big way, while being a defense that gets turnovers and can score. Marcel Dareus has started to pay off this season, as he had two sacks on Sunday. Things are looking up for the Bills and a win here would really pump wind into their sails.
Buffalo, like Carolina who covered the spread on Sunday, stands out as a potential spoiler for the Raiders. Not that the Raiders will suddenly grow complacent with their situation less-urgent than the Bills, who must now fight it out in a crowded wild card picture to get to the postseason. But the Bills are playing with an edge right now. Their range is wide and they're in the high-end of that range heading into week 13. Their streakiness definitely undercuts their overall bankability, but they should produce to some extent against Oakland. It might be a good game for LeSean McCoy. I see the Bills covering the spread on the road this week.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Buffalo Bills plus 3 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Bills vs. Raiders game from the comfort of your own home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!