Oakland Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 8 NFL Pick: Oakland Raiders +7 (October 26th 2014)
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There’s definitely some value on Oakland in this matchup. Prior to the season the Browns were expected to be a 4.5-point favorite. Now we see them laying a touchdown following an ugly 6-24 loss at Jacksonville last week. Sure the Browns whooped up on the Steelers a couple weeks back, but their other two wins have come by a combined 3 points and one of those they had to rally from a 25-point deficit. Cleveland is a lot closer to a 1-5 team than what most people think and it’s a big reason why I’m taking this awful Oakland team getting a touchdown.
The Raiders have shown some life since returning from their Week 5 bye, which also was when they fired head coach Dennis Allen and promoted Tony Sporano to interim head coach. They gave the Chargers all they could handle in a 28-31 loss in Week 6 and this past Sunday lost by a final of just 13-24 to the now 5-1 Cardinals.
One of the big reasons why I like the Raiders to at least keep this one close enough to cover, is the Browns have not been good defensively. Which is a surprise, considering most thought that would be their strength this season. Cleveland comes in ranked 17th against the pass (241.5 ypg) and are dead last against the run (155.5 ypg). Even though Oakland is dead last in rushing (69.3 ypg), there’s reason to be optimistic that they will have some success on the ground against Cleveland. The Browns gave up 185 yards and 2 scores to Jacksonville last week, who even after that performance comes into this week ranked 30th in the league in rushing at 86.0 ypg.
I also have some major concerns with the Cleveland offense, which looked lost in their first game without starting center Alex Mack. Brian Hoyer completed just 16 of 41 attempts for 215 yards and was sacked 3 times, while the Browns rushing attack accounted for just 69 yards on 30 attempts (2.3 yards/carry). Oakland isn’t a defensive juggernaut by any stretch of the imagination, but neither is Jacksonville. If the offense struggles like it did against the Jaguars, forget the cover, the Raiders could be looking at their first win of the season.
There’s a strong system in play favoring a fade of the Browns. Home favorites who are allowing 130+ rushing yards/game after a contest where they were outrushed by 75 or more yards are just 89-144 ATS since 1983. That’s a 72% system in favor of the Raiders. Take Oakland!
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