The NFL week 9 Lions at Raiders free pick looks like a close one on paper. Oakland has been bet up to a -2.5 favorite after the line opened at OAK -1.5. Detroit comes in having lost 3 of 4, but they’ve been a bounce or two away from going 3-1 over that span. After a bye Oakland has dropped two in a row, but they’re finally back home after playing the last 5 going away.
Can Detroit Close the Deal?
The Lions could very easily be 6-1 on the season. Their 3-3-1 mark isn’t bad, but it includes a tie vs. Arizona, a 4-point loss to the Chiefs that happened with a TD by KC with :20 left on the clock, and a controversial 22-23 defeat at Green Bay that was aided by some horrible penalty calls. Therefore does Detroit look like a good wager at +2.5 since they’ve been close – or does it show they can’t close out games?
The positives for Detroit ahead of the NFL week 9 Lions at Raiders free pick is that they have scored 30+ points in 3 of the last 4 games. That includes last week’s 31-26 win over the Giants that was powered by Matthew Stafford’s 25/32 for 342 yards and 3 TD day. Oakland also ranks 31st in the league vs. the pass defensively. Oddsmakers are expecting a big day from Stafford with the total set at 51.
The Raiders have found some offensive consistency over the past month which will put a strain on the Detroit defense. The Lions allowed a 322 yard, 4TD/0 INT day through the air to Giants rookie Daniel Jones last week. Kirk Cousins had a 338 4/0 day the week before in a 42-30 Vikings win over Detroit.
Oakland Have the Edge Back at Home
The Raiders only ‘home’ game since September 15th has been an October 6th contest vs. the Bears – but that was in London. Oakland knows the importance of Sunday’s game with Detroit as it marks a stretch of three straight at home, with the Chargers and Bengals next up on the schedule.
Oakland has dropped two in a row, but it’s been their defense giving up 34.5 ppg over that stretch that has been the culprit. Jon Gruden’s team has actually put up at least 24 points in four consecutive contests Rookie RB Josh Jacobs has been a big part of that with 123 yards vs. Chicago and 124 against Houston the week after that. He’s helped power a Raiders running game that is 7th in the league in yards per game. Derek Carr should lead the charge on Sunday though. The Raiders QB has 280+ yards the last two games with 5 TD to just 1 INT.
The reason it’s Carr’s time to shine is because Detroit is dead last in the NFL in pass defense. Then again, the Lions are also 26th defensively vs. the run so Oakland should be able to do whatever they want offensively here.
NFL Free Pick:
Detroit has played well but come up short time and time again this year. Things don’t get any easier having to travel to the West Coast vs. a Raiders team ready to play their first home contest in nearly 2 months. Ultimately, Oakland continues their surge behind a strong running game here.
Pick: Oakland Raiders -2.5