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Matchups Week 4: Broncos at Raiders

Derek Carr Raiders vs. Broncos
Dec 26, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) runs against Denver Broncos defensive end Shelby Harris (96) during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos (2-1) at Las Vegas Raiders (0-3)

Opening Spread: Raiders -2

Opening Game Total: 43

Opening Team Totals: Raiders (22.5), Broncos (20)

Weather: Indoors

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Raiders -2.
  • This line has moved to Raiders -2.5.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Raiders -2.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Raiders -2.5.
  • This total opened at 43 points.
  • This total has moved up to 45.5 points as of Friday afternoon.

Notable Injuries

Raiders: Out: WR Hunter Renfrow, TE Foster Moreau; Questionable: CB Rock Ya-Sin.

Broncos: IR: S Justin Simmons; Out: RG Quinn Meinerz, RT Billy Turner; Questionable: Dalton Risner, DL D.J. Jones.

The Raiders Offense vs. Broncos Defense

We saw what the Broncos’ pass rush can do against a mediocre offensive line last Sunday night after 49ers LT Trent Williams left with an injury. Denver’s pass rush has a considerable advantage in the trenches in this matchup against a below average Raiders line.

Notes and Observations

  • The Raiders are 0-3 against the spread this season.
  • The Raiders are 1-1-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Derek Carr is ninth in the league in yards passing and 14th in yards per attempt.
  • Among running backs, Josh Jacobs is 14th in yards rushing and 20th in yards receiving.
  • Denver has allowed the 11th-fewest yards rushing and the tenth-fewest yards receiving to running backs this season.
  • After a big Week 1, Davante Adams has seven catches on 17 targets for 48 yards and a score over the past two games.
  • Adams is 11th in the league in target share (29.6%) and 27th in air yards share (33.6%).
  • With Hunter Renfrow sidelined, Mack Hollins went for 8-158-1 on 11 targets against the Titans last week.
  • Denver has allowed the fewest yards receiving on the seventh-fewest receptions to opposing wide receivers this season.
  • Darren Waller is 12th among tight ends in target share and fourth in air yards share.
  • The Broncos have allowed the 11th-most yards receiving on the sixth-most receptions to enemy tight ends this year.

The Broncos Offense vs. Raiders Defense

The Raiders edge duo of Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones gives Vegas a pass rush edge against the Broncos’ average, at best, offensive line. Since Denver is already down two starters on its line, that could be a difference-making edge for the Raiders’ front. I’m using the word could because Russell Wilson is among the best play-extenders in the league.

Notes and Observations

  • The Broncos are 1-2 against the spread this season.
  • The Broncos are 0-3 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Russell Wilson is 19th in yards passing and 16th in yards per attempt.
  • Among running backs Javonte Williams is 18th in yards rushing while teammate Melvin Gordon is 28th. After catching 11 passes on opening night in Seattle, Williams has only caught four passes over the past two weeks.
  • The Raiders have allowed the 14th-most yards rushing and the second-most yards receiving to running backs this season.
  • Courtland Sutton is 15th in the league in target share (27.7%) and second in air yards share (51.3%).
  • Vegas has allowed the ninth-fewest yards receiving on the 12th-fewest receptions to wide receivers this year.
  • The Raiders have allowed the sixth-most yards receiving on the third-most receptions to tight ends this season.
  • Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam has underwhelmed to this point, but he’s in a plus matchup here.

This is What You’re Betting on in Raiders vs. Broncos

A bet on the Raiders is a bet on a desperate, winless squad that has lost three one-score games against 2021 playoff teams to start the season. When he’s at his best, Derek Carr can give anyone a game. Hunter Renfrow is out for the second week in a row. As much as the Raiders need Carr to step up this week, Davante Adams and/or Darren Waller need to make a real impact against a difficult opponent. The Raiders’ pass rush has an advantage against Denver’s injury-ravaged offensive line, though Russell Wilson’s evasion abilities mitigate that edge to a degree. Your biggest concern on a Raiders bet is that Denver’s pass rush looks like it did last Sunday night against San Francisco. This is a big game for the Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, who will have to help out his below-average offensive line against Denver’s formidable front.

A bet on the Broncos is a bet on one of two general outcomes. The first is that Russell Wilson’s offense finally clicks for the first time this season. Towards the end of last week’s game against the 49ers, Wilson made a few encouraging, vintage throws. The second outcome is that Denver’s pass rush dominates this game against a mediocre Raiders offensive line just like it did against San Francisco last week. Your concern with a Broncos bet here is that Wilson’s offense continues to look stagnant against a desperate divisional rival in search of its first win.

Awards Market Ramifications: None.

Winner/Confidence Pool: I’m going to take the Raiders in at least most of my winner pools. I will treat this as a relative coin flip game in confidence pool rankings, where I will likely have it adjacent to who I go with in Cardinals at Panthers.

Spread Pool: I’m going to take the Raiders -2.5 in one of my ATS tournament entries.

Survivor: This game should be avoided for survivor purposes.