Atlanta at Oakland Betting Spread & Expert Pick
The “biggest cajones” award of Week 1 in the NFL belongs to Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio as he shockingly went for a 2-point conversion and the win last Sunday in New Orleans and it worked. Now the Raiders play their home opener Sunday against Atlanta. Oakland is favored on NFL lines.
Take a Closer Look at the Atlanta at Oakland Betting Spread, Expert Pick & TV Info
When: Sunday, Sept. 18, 4:25 PM ET
Where: Oakland Coliseum
Radio: Atlanta / Oakland
Opening NFL Lines: Raiders -4.5 (49.5)
Why Bet on Atlanta?
The Falcons lost 31-24 at home to Tampa in Week 1. The Buccaneers scored on their first two possessions of the second half, pushing the lead to 31-13. Matt Ryan , looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2015 season in which the Falcons missed the playoffs for the third year in a row, hooked up with Julio Jones on a 25-yard touchdown and tacked on a two-point conversion. But Atlanta wound up settling for three field goals by Matt Bryant overall. WR Mohamed Sanu got off to a strong start with the Falcons. He set up a field goal with a 59-yard grab and hauled in a 5-yard TD pass, finishing with five receptions for 80 yards. He also caught a two-point conversion.
The Falcons gave up three sacks, allowed Ryan to be hit four times, and had a crucial false start by left tackle Jake Matthews in their season-opening loss. Now comes a matchup with the Raiders’ Khalil Mack, arguably the most disruptive defender in the NFL.
Jones, Sanu, and Devonta Freeman all were limited as the Falcons returned to the practice field Wednesday. Sanu and Jones are both dealing with ankle injury but are expected to play. It’s the same ankle Jones injured in the third preseason game against the Miami Dolphins in Orlando. Sanu tweaked his left ankle on the last series against the Buccaneers. Freeman was limited by a quad injury. He wasn’t as effective in Week 1 as backup Tevin Coleman was. Coleman had 117 total yards on 13 touches, while Freeman had 40 yards on 15 touches. The Falcons have been held to fewer than 90 rushing yards in six straight games dating to last season, their longest streak since a six-game stretch in 2013.
The Falcons failed to record a sack in Week 1 and are coming off an abysmal season of pressuring opposing quarterbacks, as the team finished dead-last among NFL teams in sacks in 2015. Expect plenty of blitzing Sunday.
Why Bet on Oakland?
The Raiders rallied for a 35-34 Week 1 win in New Orleans. Derek Carr connected with wide receiver Michael Crabtree on the game-winning two-point conversion with 47 seconds remaining. The Raiders are the fourth team to score the game-winning points on a two-point conversion in the final minute of the fourth quarter and the first to do so in a season opener. The other three teams to accomplish the feat are the 2002 Minnesota Vikings (December 15, 2002), 2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (November 13, 2005) and 2008 Denver Broncos (September 14, 2008).
Oakland rookie running back Jalen Richard had a 75-yard rushing touchdown on his first career carry in the Raiders’ victory. Richard is only the fourth player in NFL history with a 75+ yard rushing touchdown in his NFL debut.
Oakland didn’t get a pass rush going against Drew Brees in New Orleans, and linebacker Bruce Irvin said he and Mack need some help against Atlanta’s Ryan on Sunday. Opposing teams, going back to the last two games of the preseason, have been chip blocking the two pass rushers. Mack, who had 15 sacks last season, didn’t lay a hand on Brees until the fourth quarter and finished without any sacks, quarterback hits or hurries.
Raiders CB Sean Smith gave up four receptions on six targets for 183 yards (the most surrendered by a cornerback on Kickoff Weekend) and his yards per cover snap of 6.78 was the second worst of any cornerback in Week 1. The QB rating for passes thrown into Smith's coverage was 149.3, also the second worst by any corner in the league last week. The dagger was a 98-yard score from Brees to Brandin Cooks that resulted in Smith being benched by Del Rio.
“I thought that he had a rough day, so we took him out," Del Rio said. “He’ll be back.” Veteran tackle Austin Howard returned to practice Wednesday after missing the entire first week of regular season action. However, he was the only tackle who was able to return to work, as both Matt McCants (knee) and Menelik Watson (groin) were unable to take part in the day’s work.
My Expert Pick
Falcons are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games overall.
Falcons are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss.
Raiders are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
Raiders are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game.
Take Oakland in NFL betting and go over the total.