Heading into this game, both the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos are 7-7 and just a game back of the Los Angeles Chargers.
With the Chargers playing the Houston Texans this week, assuming that is a win for them, this game could be the end of one of these teams’ seasons.
Keeping that in mind, let’s explore this matchup and how to best assess it from a betting perspective.
Please note that all NFL Week 16 odds and lines are current as of 2:00 P.M. EST on Thursday, December 23.
Richard’s Prediction Picks Record: 10-13 (-0.35 units)
Broncos vs Raiders Prediction
The leading development heading into this game is that the Broncos will be starting Drew Lock under center in replacement of Teddy Bridgewater, who was recently released from the hospital after suffering his second concussion in three months.
In relief of Bridgewater in Week 15 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Lock completed 50 percent of his passes (6/12) for 88 yards and one touchdown pass.
The Broncos went on to lose 15-10 but managed to keep the game close thanks to their talented defense.
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The Raiders on the other hand did win in Week 15 in their delayed matchup with the Cleveland Browns, but beating them 16-14 with the Browns starting Nick Mullens, their third-string quarterback, is not nearly as impressive.
In addition to Lock starting, running back Melvin Gordon is dealing with thumb and hip injuries but is managing to play through it.
These two teams met earlier this season with the Raiders taking down the Broncos 34-24, but things have changed since then. The Raiders are no longer coached by Jon Gruden and receiver Henry Ruggs III is no longer on the roster.
Even with Lock under center, this game could be plenty closer than we think on the day after Christmas.
Prediction: Raiders 17, Broncos 14
Broncos vs Raiders Best Bets
Best Bet: Raiders Moneyline (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
Every part of me wants to find a way to take the Broncos here, but quite frankly, Lock is just too much of a deterrent to this team. He gets a fairly good matchup against the Raiders defense that has been obliterated more times than not this season, but I’m not confident he can do enough through the air to take advantage.
From there, we turn to the ground game, which is exceptional, headlined by a two-headed attack from Gordon and Javonte Williams.
While they’ll do all they can to keep this offense alive, Lock is just not capable of putting points on the board.
The Broncos have a stellar defense, but the Raiders throw a ton, nearly two-thirds of their offensive plays are pass plays, and they’ll eventually get something to click.
Despite everything happening with the Raiders this season, we should not overlook how well quarterback Derek Carr has played this season. Carr ranks 10th in passing grade, according to Pro Football Focus, when looking at quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 dropbacks.
It is unknown whether tight end Darren Waller will be back in this game, but wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, whose role has increased since Ruggs was arrested, gets a winnable matchup against Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan.
If Waller returns that only helps, but even without him, the Raiders pass-happy approach and the lack of production from Lock will lead to a small Raiders victory.
Best Bet: Under 41.5 Total Points (-108) at TwinSpires
Wager: 1 Unit
With a total this low, it’s always nerve-wracking to take the under, but all the elements are here to support taking the under.
On the Broncos side, you have an offense that is going to be run-heavy and drain the clock, while the quarterback is going to stall more drives than progress them.
For the Raiders, they do take on a stout Broncos defense which is not going to make life easy, especially when the gameplan is known. The Raiders are going to pass.
With a combination of the Raiders being able to eventually hit something on offense, though few and far between, and the Broncos offense unable to score due to draining the clock with the running game and a quarterback with less-than-stellar statistics, this has all the makings for an under.
Thanks for reading our NFL Week 16 Broncos vs Raiders Predictions! For more NFL betting tips, check out our NFL Week 16 Best Bets.