If the point spread holds at -1 until kickoff, it will be the first time in eight Monday Nighters that the Oakland Raiders were a favorite.
But the line has been moving in favor of San Diego, according to the live football odds display at OddsShark.com, as the NFL offers its traditional Week 1 Monday Night Football doubleheader. Most shops still had the Raiders as 1-point chalk, although one book had it as a pick-em late Sunday.
Oakland had lost five of those games where they were underdogs, until covering the spread in the last two (including last year's game at Denver and the 2009 home game against these same Chargers). Overall, the Raiders are 5-1 ATS in six recent meetings with San Diego and there are other trends that make Oakland an interesting bet.
"The Chargers are 0-4 ATS in their past four season openers and they have struggled on the road early in the season," said OddsShark.com handicapper Jack Randall, referring to their 2-7 ATS road mark in nine recent September games.
"These teams have also been a reliable OVER bet when they meet here in Oakland, as the past five meetings all put cash in the pockets of OVER bettors."
After both finishing in a three-way tie with Denver atop the AFC West last season and losing out due to tie-breakers, the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders both understand the importance of division rivalry games.
Can Darren McFadden stay healthy? That’s the big question in Oakland this year. When in the lineup, McFadden can be one of the best running backs in the NFL.
Alongside Carson Palmer's big arm and a talented wide receiving corps, he could lead the Raiders to a big year on offense. His longevity will be a question mark all season, but he’ll be healthy this Sunday against San Diego. Oakland finished last season 8-8 straight up with a 9-6-1 record ATS.
It’s been all too familiar of a story for the San Diego Chargers under Norv Turner over the last few years; start slow and finish strong. San Diego went just 4-7 straight up and 2-9 ATS through its first 11 games last season before finishing the year 4-1 SU and ATS down the stretch.
Philip Rivers had an off year, so San Diego went out and got him a new pair of weapons in Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal, hoping to avoid the big slump this year.
In Week 17 last year, Oakland had a chance to win the AFC West with a win at home over San Diego, but the Chargers came in and beat the Raiders handily 38-26.
Much like Dallas was looking for revenge against New York in their upset win Wednesday night, Oakland should be hungry for revenge this week, especially in front of the same home fans they let down last season.
PICK: Oakland -1 (courtesy of PickShark.com)