The Denver Broncos travel to California on Monday night for an AFC West showdown against the Oakland Raiders. . Kickoff is set for 10:20 PM EST on September 9th at Oakland Coliseum and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with neither team listed as a favorite, and not much has changed since then. It currently sits as a pick’em, which will likely be the case right up until kickoff. The total for this matchup is 43 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 1 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Raiders vs Broncos Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview
The Jon Gruden era got off to a disastrous start in 2018, as Oakland finished the season 4-12 overall and wound up in the basement of the AFC West. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Raiders have since been making nationwide news for all the wrong reasons, as Antonio Brown toyed with the black and silver for months before finally asking for his release via social media. With Brown off to New England, the rest of the Oakland offense can finally turn the page on what has been an embarrassing few months. Derek Carr will try and continue to progress after throwing for more than 4,000 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2018. However, he could be in for a tough year as the departure of Brown and Amari Cooper leaves the Raiders depth chart at wide receiver looking quite worrisome. Overall, Oakland averaged just 18.1 points per game in 2018 (28th overall).
It didn’t get any prettier on the other side of the ball for the Raiders either, as opponents lit them up for 29.2 points per game – the highest points per game allowed in the entire NFL. Oakland was especially bad against the run, allowing 140.6 yards per game on the ground (30th overall).
The Broncos also had a tough year in 2018, going just 6-10 overall and finishing 3rd in the AFC West. Case Keenum is out at quarterback after a poor showing last season, as Denver averaged just 20.6 points per game (24th overall) and was most effective on the ground instead of through the air. Veteran QB Joe Flacco will take over the reigns at quarterback, which should help to at least bring some stability to the position. However, Flacco also had a down year in 2018 and is certainly not a long term solution. The biggest bright spot on offense for the Broncos in 2018 was likely the play of RB Philip Lindsay, who rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored nine touchdowns.
The Denver defense was slightly above average in terms of points per game allowed last year, giving up an average of 21.8 (12th overall). However, they were ranked in the bottom half of the league against both the run and the pass, finishing 22nd and 20th overall respectively.
Free NFL Betting Predictions and ATS Pick: Broncos PK
There is little doubt about which of the two Monday Night Football matchups is more appealing here in Week 1, as the late game is shaping up to be a bit of a dud. Both of these teams will likely have losing seasons yet again in 2019, although Denver could potentially finish around .500 if Flacco is able to turn back the clock a little bit this year. In any event, this pick is certainly much more about my complete lack of faith in Oakland than having any sort of confidence in Denver. Simply put, the Raiders are a total disaster right now. Not only were they the laughing stock of the NFL in 2018, they also are just days removed from the ridiculous Antonio Brown saga that concluded with him bolting to the Patriots. The fact that Oakland basically gave up a 3rd and 5th round pick to rent Brown for the offseason and watch him embarrass the franchise publicly before leaving without playing a single snap in the regular season still boggles my mind.
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The Raiders simply have no real depth on offense to help support Derek Carr. While the Broncos aren’t exactly world-beaters on offense either, the presence of Sanders and Lindsay combined with the veteran leadership of Flacco should at least help Denver not take a step backward this season. Oakland appears to be a team headed in the wrong direction, which certainly doesn’t bode well for them heading into their eventual move to Las Vegas. With the circus surrounding Gruden and Co. right now, I want no part of the Raiders in this AFC West clash – give me the Broncos.