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Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders Point Spread - Pick

Denver Broncos (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
Week 1 NFL
Date/Time: Monday Night Football, September 9, 2019 at 10:20PM EST
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: DEN +1/OAK -1
Over/Under Total: 43.5

The Denver Broncos take on the Oakland Raiders at the Coliseum in the second MNF game, as both teams kick off their regular seasons in week one. Neither team could be too thrilled with their 2018 seasons. In Gruden's long-awaited return to coaching, the Raiders showed they were still far off from contention. A lot of moves were made to address that and we'll see how that manifests in week one. Denver, meanwhile, looks to start making their move after hiring first-year head coach Vic Fangio. They have some new blood at quarterback, an area in which they have struggled since the retirement of Peyton Manning. Which team is more likely to be able to start quickly in 2019?

Last season, there was a lot of separation created by the Chiefs and Chargers, with the Broncos and Raiders falling to the bottom of the AFC West division. Is this a year where we see a shift or more of the same? The prognosticators seem to be opting for the latter scenario. For John Gruden's Raiders, the turnaround looks to be more of the long-term variety if last season was any indication. There are just too many issues to address. But with some moves, more of Gruden's magic wearing off, and three first-round draft picks, could we see an upswing from a bad 2018 team? And the Broncos have tinkered with their formula, as well, bringing in first-year head coach Vic Fangio, who looks to get this defense back on-point and might not be as far off as some think. With both teams, the common perception is that we're looking at a pair of sub-.500 squads. And that could be true. But both teams seem to have a big range of where they can fall. Sure, there are some damning voids where it's hard to reason they will all be filled. There is also enough promise to warrant holding out hope a bit.

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The Raiders need a big year from Derek Carr and his performance this season will go a long way toward determining if he's the long-term answer for this franchise. He has some new pieces with which to work, namely receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. Carr should have better targets and ones that get open more often and quickly. Bringing it together is a revamped offensive line that should at least be above average. They got Richie Incognito (suspended first two games) and Trent Brown, with some projected growth from T Kolton Miller, who struggled a bit as a rookie. Maybe they found a good back in rookie Josh Jacobs. Add receiver talent like JJ Nelson, rookie Hunter Renfrow, and a new tight end in Luke Willson and it's plain to see Carr and Gruden have more to work with this season.

The Raiders' defense had its share of issues last season, namely with 13 total sacks, which is a disgrace. I actually think Clelin Ferrell is a nice fit in Paul Guenther's 4-3 scheme and his presence could give rise to a better season from DE Arden Key. With second-year DT Maurice Hurst showing good signs, the Raiders can count on some better work up-front this season. The middle was a problem-area for Oakland in '18 and getting Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall should at least help that a little. In the secondary, CB Gareon Conley looks due to round into excellent form, with the procurement of LaMarcus Joyner, Treyvon Mullen and Johnathan Abram giving Guenther more pieces with which to work. With so many new pieces, it's hard to gauge what this will look like when it's said and done. But most phases appear to have been upgraded. But let's face it, teams with as many new pieces as the Raiders have this season are hard to evaluate. It's easy to let the optimism bloom out of control, though they certainly appear to have a vastly-improved roster. With more things going well than badly, their results should start to improve in '19. And even a depreciated Raiders squad still managed to hold their own against the Broncos last season, beating them at home, 27-14 and losing at Mile High by a single point, 20-19.

Denver will likely start Joe Flacco at quarterback and who knows how that's going to go. Their line took some losses, losing two key guys in the offseason. The draft and a few pick-ups should help and getting Mike Munchak to coach this group after seeing what he did in Pittsburgh could add some promise. It's not like Flacco won't have tools with which to work. On the ground, there is a lot of help with a pair of second-year backs in Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Aerially, there is help on the way, especially if Emmanuel Sanders can stay healthy and reclaim his form. Courtland Sutton is a rising force and if DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick or some youngster like River Cracraft steps up, this could be a formidable group or at least better than last season. Throw in highly-regarded rookie tight end Noah Fant, with tight ends Jeff Heuerman or Jake Butt, there was weapons available. The main question is how much left does Flacco have and we will we see growth or stagnation from the youngsters at the skill positions. Oh, and how will that revamped line perform?

Let's remember Fangio was a big part of getting that Chicago defense to be as great as it was last season, so maybe he can do something similar in Denver. He has a great pair of bookends in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, who combined for 26.5 sacks last season. The defense as a whole ranked in the top ten in takeaways and sacks last season. When looking at the Broncos and their slide since losing the Super Bowl, it's the offense that has the most work to do, while the "D" might not be as far off. This side of the ball is well-equipped and having one of the best defensive minds in the game on the case can only help. They need to improve drastically against the run and they should be better in that area this season.

Making it difficult is we don't know quite what to expect from either team. We might have ideas, but we really don't know. Will Fangio be able to bring more out of Denver? Were Flacco's recent issues in Baltimore more injury-related? Will youth continue to grow? And with the Raiders, will the influx of talent resonate well? Were there too many issues to address adequately in one offseason? Will home games really be genuine home games, with the Raiders leaving their faithful fans next season for Las Vegas? In this one, I picture both offenses struggling in a game that can really go either way. In picturing a 19-17 type of affair, I'm inclined to take the "under."

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting that the Broncos vs. Raiders game will go under 43.5 points. Bet the Denver vs. Oakland MNF game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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