With star receiver Antonio Brown’s future with the team in doubt, the Oakland Raiders will open the NFL season under a cloud of uncertainty as they take on the visiting Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football as 2.5-point underdogs on the NFL betting odds.
Oakland had opened as a comfortable 3-point favorite on the early NFL lines before seeing the game slip to a virtual pick’em earlier this week. However, in the wake of media reports that suggest Brown could be facing suspension following a heated altercation with general manager Mike Mayock after being fined for missing a practice last month, the odds have swung in Denver’s favor in Monday night’s matchup at Oakland Coliseum.
The drama surrounding Brown, who was acquired during the offseason after wearing out his welcome in Pittsburgh last season, darkens an already bleak picture for the Raiders as they enter what is expected to be their final season in Oakland.
The Raiders further buried the memory of their 12-4 campaign in 2016 by tallying just four wins last year while surrendering an NFL-worst 29.2 points per game. The team proved to be almost equally inept with the ball, ranking 28th with just 18.1 points per game, and look toward this season as +500 longshots to reach the playoffs for just the second time in 17 years.
Oakland fans found something to cheer about down the stretch last season, with the team posting straight-up wins in each of their final two home contests, and covering the spread in four of their final seven games. The Raiders are also unbeaten SU and against the spread in their past three home meetings with the Broncos, capped by a 27-14 rout as 2.5-point underdogs on the NFL spread on Christmas Eve last year.
The Broncos hope to capitalize on the drama unfolding in the Raiders camp, and put the brakes on a four-game SU slide that closed out last season. Denver is also coming off a dismal campaign, but mustered SU wins in three of six road contests to finish the season with a 6-10 record.
It remains to be seen if the addition of veteran quarterback Joe Flacco is enough to fix a Broncos offense that averaged just 13.25 points per game over their final four outings, and scored 20 or fewer points on nine occasions. However, Denver’s ineptitude with the ball did provide results for bettors taking the UNDER, which prevailed in the team’s final nine games last season.
Saints Favorites at Home on Monday NFL Lines
In the first half of Monday night’s doubleheader, the New Orleans Saints host the Houston Texans as 7-point favorites on the NFL betting lines.
The Saints open the new season looking to overcome a rare straight-up losing streak on home turf. In addition to dropping a pair of preseason home games, New Orleans also fell to defeat in their final two home dates last season, including a controversial 26-23 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.
The Saints’ home struggles have contributed to a dismal run on the NFL odds, with the team recording just one ATS win in their final seven outings. However, the Saints enter the 2019 campaign sporting short -155 odds of reaching 10 wins for a third straight year, and -175 odds of claiming a third straight NFC South title.
The Texans travel to the Big Easy looking to build on an 11-5 campaign that marked their best season since 2012. Houston returns to action atop the odds to win the AFC South as comfortable +130 favorites on those NFL football lines. However, the Texans have enjoyed no success in previous trips to New Orleans, falling to defeat in two previous September road dates with the Saints while surrendering an average of 35.5 points per game.
*Odds as of September 6, 2019