The Oakland Raiders were already facing a difficult matchup in their season opener against one of the best defenses in the NFL, and now it just got even tougher as rookie quarterback Derek Carr will make his first career start on the road against the New York Jets.
The Raiders have dropped 14 of 16 road games straight up over the past two seasons to go along with a 7-8-1 mark against the spread and will be hard-pressed to reverse either of those trends here.
Point spread: Jets opened as 4.5-point favorites, and the line had moved an additional point in favor of the Jets by Wednesday; the total was 39.5. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 15.4-13.4 Jets
Why the Raiders can cover the spread
Any Given Sunday is much more than a popular movie, as it’s also a common phrase that may perfectly describe how the Raiders can cover in this spot.
Oakland has figured out ways to beat the spread on the road recently, going 4-3-1 ATS away from home last year and finishing with a 1-7 mark SU. New York’s own starting QB Geno Smith pulled out wins last season as a rookie even though he appeared lost at times and played very inconsistently.
Smith getting the nod over veteran Michael Vick may also help the Raiders stay within the number, especially if he remains mistake-prone and turns the ball over a few times to keep them in it.
Why the Jets can cover the spread
The Jets get to host a rookie QB making his first career start, which is usually a strong betting angle to follow blindly. But New York’s defense led by head coach Rex Ryan also often makes life tough for veteran QBs, including future Hall of Famer Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.
The Jets also posted a season-high point total in last year’s 37-27 win over the Raiders, which should give them some confidence offensively heading into the season opener. New York did not score more than 30 points in any other game last season, and the team started 2013 with three straight covers and finished it nearly as strong by going 3-0-1 ATS in the last four games.
This play has J-E-T-S written all over it thanks to an elbow injury to projected starting QB Matt Schaub. The Raiders are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine games against AFC East opponents, which is significant considering this is an early game for them all the way across the country.
If this were just about any other foe, New York would probably be worth fading considering the secondary is a mess due to injuries.
But Carr will likely face some serious pressure from the Jets early on to set the tone, and then he and the rest of his Oakland teammates will try to get out of New Jersey as soon as possible to ready themselves for the Houston Texans in their home opener next week.
The UNDER could be the safest play here given the foregoing and in respecting the 6-2 trend in Jets openers, according to Odds Shark’s NFL database.
- UNDER is 6-2 past eight NY Jets openers
- Raiders are 2-14 SU on the road past two seasons
- Raiders are 2-7 ATS vs. AFC East since 2008