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Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders Point Spread - Pick

Denver Broncos (6-8 SU, 6-7-1 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (3-11 SU, 5-9 ATS)
Week 16 NFL
Date/Time: Monday Night Football, December 24, 2018 at 8:15PM EST
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Betting Odds: DEN -2.5/OAK +2.5
Over/Under Total: 45

The Denver Broncos come into the Coliseum for a week 16 matchup against the Oakland Raiders. It's not the big marquee game that those who schedule MNF anticipated. The Raiders have been awful this season and the Broncos only a notch better. On Saturday at home, the Broncos lost to the Browns, 17-16, suffering their second straight loss and officially falling out of postseason consideration at 6-8. The Raiders had been showing some minor signs of life recently, but it was back to their regular mode on Sunday in a 30-16 loss to a Bengals team that had lost five games in a row. What can they come up with on MNF?

Granted, the Raiders aren't scheduled to go to Vegas until the 2020 season, but some recent contention makes one wonder if they will stay in Oakland in 2019. The city and team aren't on the same page and this could end up being the last game in Oakland. One wonders if Gruden and the Raiders can tap into that for some type of boost this week. Granted, the team isn't as it's most-popular at the moment, but there's still a big core of hardcore fans who have been through a lot with this team, about to be abandoned by them for the second (and probably last) time. While this team hasn't been able to respond to much this season, it could be enough to put them over the edge against a depressed Broncos bunch.

One would have expected better from the Broncos after they muscled it back to 6-6. With the Niners and Browns coming, one could have imagined them climbing into this wild card picture. But they lost both games. Dropping a 17-16 game to the Browns, who are improved, was a hard pill to swallow. It's not all that easy to envision the Broncos being at a peak this week on the road in Oakland. It seems hard to remember now, but Denver started the season at 3-0 before losing 6 of their next 7 games. But within that good start was a 20-19 win over Oakland at Mile High. How much that result even matters at this point is debatable.

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The Denver offense picked a bad time to go into the toilet. With two picks and no TD throws on Saturday, Case Keenum wasn't very effective once again. It's not all his fault. They are stripped pretty bare in the receiver department, without their top twp receivers to start the season, relying on a lot of unproven talent. Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman have been big as rookie backs this season, but they don't fire every week and haven't been impactful the last few weeks. The line hasn't been great in opening holes and they've played from behind, so maybe we will see better against a Raiders defense that couldn't stop this run-attack the first time they played this season.

The Denver defense hasn't been horrible from a bottom-line sense, allowing just 105 points in their last 6 games combined. But when watching the games, they don't play in consort with the offense. When in need of a big play, this defense has been invisible. When needing a late development, they haven't provided it. They're stout when it's too late. And we've seen this repeated over and over this season, as all but two of their losses are of the one-score variety. They simply haven't been clutch. They do have 26 turnovers on the season, with Bradley Chubb and Von Miller having combined for 26.5 sacks. But that playmaking hasn't made up for other deficient areas. Their secondary is really banged up and we saw that cost them at times against Cleveland. Looking ahead, we will need to see the injury progress of Chris Harris, Jr., Isaac Yiadom, and Brandan Langley. Still, they gave up only 17 points and 188 yards to Mayfield on Saturday—not too shabby.

Again, it's not clear how well the Raiders can respond in this game, even with the prospects of this being their final game in Oakland. On offense, they haven't been able to find the right answers all season. Derek Carr can put up some yardage, but their receiver corps is in a state of shambles. At running back, they are left with Doug Martin, who struggles to make the impact he made a few short years ago. Jalen Richard is a versatile back, with Jordy Nelson a shadow of what he once was. The line has been hit hard by injuries this season and hasn't been pulling its weight and leaves Carr unprotected, while not helping spring a meaningful ground-game. There are youngsters and discarded vets trying to crack into the rotation, rather than an established core of dependable players. And for the most part, it really has come off poorly in 2018.

On Sunday, the Oakland defense wasn't that bad in giving up 130 yards to Cincy QB Jeff Driskel. But RB Joe Mixon had one of his biggest games with 129 yards on the ground and two scores. The 30 points they allowed was a lot for only giving up about 300 yards overall. But in their last game at home, they gave up only 21 points to the Steelers. They've been getting more interceptions lately, as there are some decent youngsters on this side of the ball vying to become part of Oakland's revamped future. The secondary, however, is more ahead on the learning-curve, as their defense against the opposing run is ranked dead-last in the league.

On one hand, the sentimentality-factor in this league goes a long way. It's hard to imagine Gruden not pushing hard for a win this week. And it doesn't hurt that a sagging Denver team is coming into town, the only divisional team they have really threatened to beat this season. Still, at the end of the day, football is football and you either have the horses or you don't. I do think, however, that the Raiders are a little better than they were, say, six weeks ago. It didn't show last week, with the Raiders getting stomped by a team that was on the ropes. But that was a tough spot and I see this being more up their alley. I think the Raiders will show enough fight to cover the spread in what might be their last rodeo in Oakland.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Oakland Raiders plus 2.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Broncos vs. Raiders MNF game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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