MetroBet dishes out advice on where to put your money in Week 16.
Denver Broncos (-3) at Oakland Raiders
Moneyline: Broncos -150, Raiders +130
Betting Total: 43 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 8:15 p.m., ESPN
The final Monday Night Football of the 2018 season will take place at the Oakland Coliseum on Christmas Eve as the Raiders play host to the Denver Broncos. Both clubs are already eliminated from the playoffs, but at 6-8, Denver was installed as a three-point road favorite over 3-11 Oakland.
The Broncos have struggled on offense of late, but the Raiders’ lackluster defense should be good for what ails them. Oakland is last in the NFL in points per game allowed (29.9), rushing yards per game allowed (146.4), yards per play allowed (6.29) and sacks (12). Denver has averaged just 15 points per game since Emmanuel Sanders went down two weeks ago, but Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman should be able to get something going against Oakland’s horrible run stoppers. That in turn should open up passing lanes for Case Keenum.
Derek Carr could be forced to play catch-up all game long, and that could lead to some costly mistakes. Denver has excelled in the turnover battle in recent contests, posting a plus-9 rating over their last five games. The Raiders, by contrast, have an even turnover rating over their last five outings. Carr simply doesn’t have the consistent running game to keep the Denver defense honest. He’ll also have to deal with the Broncos’ vaunted pass rush (sixth), led by Von Miller.
Denver should win this game, but it won’t be easy. Expect a high-scoring game that could come down to the last possession. With the total being just 43 points in a game involving two susceptible defenses, the Over looks like a stronger play.
One thing Oakland has done well recently is convert in the red zone. In their last three games, the Raiders have turned 80 percent of their red zone trips into TDs, among the best marks in the league. The Broncos’ defense may be ninth in points per game allowed (21.4), but they’re 25th in yards per game allowed (378.1). They can’t afford to play that soft against Jon Gruden’s offense on Monday night.
Oakland has also exceeded the total in four of their last five contests. Though Denver has a slew of Under trends going for them (3-11 Over/Under in 2018), it looks like oddsmakers have set the total far too low here. Neither team has anything to play for aside from pride, so both coaches will probably take more risks, which could lead to more scoring with these weak stoppers involved.
Prediction: Broncos win, 30-24
The play: Broncos vs. Raiders Over 43 points