Sitting at 1-3 after four weeks, the Las Vegas Raiders season looked dead.
Like, dead dead.
And then? Things started breaking their way. In Week 5, the Green Bay Packers came in banged up (without Aaron Jones), and Jordan Love had easily his worst game of the season. In Week 6, it was the spiraling New England Patriots coming to town, and all of a sudden, the Raiders were back to .500! But wait…there’s more!
In Week 7, the Raiders get to play against the 1-5 Chicago Bears without Justin Fields, starting running back Khalil Herbert (on IR) — and potentially without backup running back Roschon Johnson (who is questionable as he recovers from a concussion). Yes, it’s on the road, but that’s about as favorable as it gets for Las Vegas.
The Raiders will be without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is dealing with a back issue. Journeyman Brian Hoyer will get the nod over rookie Aidan O’Connell.
Of note, however, is that we’re coming off our second 5-0 week of the season last week — so adjust your betting strategy accordingly… (Odds via BetOnline.AG)
Last Week: 5-0, +4.62u (Season: 16-13-1, +5.41u)
Chicago Bears UNDER 16.5 points (+100)
The Raiders defense has come along over the past couple of weeks — albeit with all of the caveats mentioned above regarding who they have played — and yet, this week’s opposing offense doesn’t seem to represent a massive change in quality. If anything, undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent (from Division II Shepherd University) might be the worst quarterback they have played, and that’s saying something.
Raiders -0.5 first quarter (+130)
While Bagent did make his debut last week in relief of Fields last week, the Raiders will have some tape on him and should be more prepared for him than the Vikings were. Give me the Raiders with some plus money to win the first quarter and jump out to an early lead in this one.
Maxx Crosby OVER 0.5 sacks (-201)
Crosby has logged a full sack or more in four of the six games so far this season, and with a rookie quarterback holding the ball a bit too long this Sunday, I like the over here (even with the unfavorable juice). These are the types of games that have the Raiders’ best player licking his chops, and I think he could put a big number on the board Sunday.
Yannick Ngakoue OVER 0.5 sacks (+175), DeMarcus Walker OVER 0.5 sacks (+225)
A bonus pick this week! Throw two darts here, and as long as one of them hits, we’re in the green on this front. Walker has logged at least a half-sack in both of his last two games, while Ngakoue has two sacks on the season — but this is more of a bet on the Raiders’ quarterback (whoever it ends up being) failing to protect himself and holding onto the ball too long. The Raiders have allowed 3.7 sacks per game over their last three weeks.
Raiders -2.5 (-117)
I’m not the highest guy out there on this Raiders team, but the Bears stink, and that was before they changed quarterbacks. I’m fairly surprised that the number is this low, and so I’m excited to see it staying below a field goal for now. As crazy as it sounds, it looks like the Raiders could move above .500 this Sunday — with more potential wins on the horizon.