Denver wrapped up the AFC West with their victory last week, so now they can afford to rest some players but it’s still early for that. You can expect to see Peyton Manning out there when the Broncos head to Oakland on Thursday night for their NFL betting matchup. Manning missed all of last season and has only started to look like his former self over the last few weeks, so he’ll be raring to go against an Oakland team that has lost five in a row.
It is a divisional rivalry, so both teams won’t hold anything back in a non-important game that doesn’t hold much for the standings but a lot in bragging rights and pride.
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders
NFL Betting Odds: Falcons -3
How The Broncos Can Win
As usual with the Broncos, it’s all about their offense. Denver has scored 30 points or more in six games during their current seven-game winning streak, and in the game that it didn’t (a 17-9 victory over Kansas City), it was against a team that was offensively inept and couldn’t make an inconsistent defense pay for their mistakes. The Broncos can be attacked through the air if you slow down Von Miller, who had a monster game against Tampa Bay, and he is the key to the entire Denver offense. He even picked up an interception to add to his fearsome pass-rushing skills on Sunday. Oakland can actually move the ball through the air; if they can avoid turnovers, Denver will have problems. Of course, they could just continue to count on Manning and the offense to maintain their rhythm and go to town on a porous Oakland secondary.
How The Raiders Can Win
Carson Palmer has to have a big day if the Raiders are going to have half a chance of winning, even at home, and covering the spread will even be tough (being a double-digit underdog at home is a rarity). The Raiders can’t run without Darren McFadden, their defense is shaky on its best days, and Manning already lit up Oakland for 338 yards and three touchdowns in a Week 4 37-6 rout in Denver; that was when he was still getting used to his new teammates and getting his arm strength now, so it’s a solid bet to expect those type of numbers from him, even in Oakland. Therefore, it’s up to Palmer to put some points on the board or at the very least, create long possessions to keep Manning and company on the bench. That is easier said than done when you don’t have a ground game, so Palmer and his coaches will have to come up with a plan.
Outlook And Pick
This is a large football spread to overcome, but there has been nothing this season to show Oakland can cover it. The Raiders have covered just three of 11 games in 2012, while the Broncos have covered seven and six of those have been as a favorite. The Raiders will make enough mistakes, whether it is penalties or turnovers, to allow the Broncos to cover 10.5 points on the road.
Pick: Broncos -10.5