Last week’s preview was called “The Calm Before the Storm”, and, well, the storm is officially here.
After two straight weeks against what might be the two worst offenses in the league at home, the Las Vegas Raiders travel all the way across the country to face the most explosive group in the league — and coming off a bye no less. So while the Antonio Pierce era has gotten off to a remarkable start (even with the opponents being considered), this Sunday is his first real test to prove this isn’t all just a mirage.
After starting off 5-1, the Dolphins limped into last week’s bye, losing two of their last three against to the Eagles and Chiefs. The key? Limiting Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill and the offense.
In games in which the Dolphins scored 21+ points, they’re 6-0. Twenty points or less? 0-3. So, yeah, as much publicity as Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams and the Raiders offense have gotten in their last two wins, the real key on Sunday is going to be whether or not they can contain Miami’s offense.
As for our picks, I’ve got to share some appreciation for Coach Pierce because I think our picks got a bit of a new coach bounce as well — posting a perfect 5-0 record last week to get us back in the green for the season. The good news for me? I don’t have to face an opponent like the Dolphins… (Odds courtesy of BetOnline.AG)
Last Week: 5-0, +4.64u; Season: 25-26-1, +.45u
Aidan O’Connell OVER 31.5 passing attempts (-115)
You’re going to sense a theme here, but I think this one gets opened up quickly — and as much as I think the Raiders want to stay committed to the run, I’m not sure they’ll be able to for most of the second half. O’Connell threw it 27 times last week in a game they were winning (and against one of the better defenses in the league) — so five more passing attempts in what could be a blowout? Give me the over.
Raiders OVER 1.5 field goals made (+134)
Here’s a little plus-money action, and on the surface you can see why: the Raiders are going to need touchdowns and not field goals to keep up! And yet…I think there’s a bit of Antonio Pierce, who knows that his team needs to appear competitive in the box score, even if the game says otherwise. I could see the Raiders settling for some field goals early so I’ll trust Daniel Carlson not to miss.
First drive result: TOUCHDOWN (+373)
Yeah, we went 5-0 this week so we’re getting a bit loose here, but these odds are too good to pass up. If Miami wins the toss, couldn’t you see Mike McDaniel at home, coming off a bye, having something special cooked up, and leading his team down for an easy touchdown? Heck, even the Raiders might be able to get creative on drive No. 1 and march down for a score! Give me the big odds and a nice little first-quarter dart throw.
Raheem Mostert OVER 57.5 rushing yards (-115)
I know Devon Achane is expected back on Sunday, but the Raiders have been pretty rough against the run this season, and I think Mostert gets the bulk of the carries in this one (and it could be a “run the clock out” situation in the second half). I was honestly surprised at how low this number was, as I think we might be cashing this ticket before the end of the first half.
Miami Dolphins -14 (-110)
I hate that it’s an even 14, but I really don’t think the Raiders can hang with a motivated, rested and at-home Dolphins team. Add in the 10 a.m. West Coast start after cross-country travel and I think this would could get ugly. That won’t mean the end of the Antonio Pierce momentum to be clear — but it’s an expected speed bump for a team that’s simply outmatched from a talent perspective this Sunday.