NFL – Carr key to Oakland win


NFL nut Kyle Brown (@Kyleianbrown) runs the rule over the Thursday night's NFL clash between Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers.

Oakland Raiders @ San Francisco 49ers | Friday 2nd November 2018, 00:20 | Sky Sports

The league's two bottom teams will meet on Thursday Night Football this week, with the Oakland Raiders traveling to take on the San Francisco 49ers. Both sides have just a solitary win to their name this season and each team will already have their eyes on next years draft.

It’s hard to find any positives about the Raiders this season to talk about. Defensively they have been abysmal, to put it politely. They’ve given up 20+ points in all seven games so far and are allowing 144.4 rushing yards per-game to the opposition – more than any other team.

On the other side of the ball, Oakland rank in the middle of the pack, but too many drops and fumbles are costing the team dearly. QB Derek Carr is actually having a decent season, but any positivity will be overshadowed by the one-win record.

It doesn’t help that the Raiders lost three main playmakers this season; Marshawn Lynch will likely retire before he sees another snap due to injury, and Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack were traded away. I don’t imagine this is how Jon Gruden envisioned his first season back at Oakland, but with three first round draft picks in 2019, at least the future is likely to be bright.

San Francisco haven’t been much better. There was high expectations following QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s stellar end to last season, but injury derailed any hope that the 49ers had for 2018.

One bright spark for the 49ers has been Matt Breida: despite dealing with an abundance of injuries he’s been both relatable and effective. Initially Breida was only meant to be a stop-gap for Jerick McKinnon until he returns from injury, but it now looks like the 49ers will have a scary-looking running back tandem when both are fully fit.

For now, Breida can ease the pressure on whatever QB is taking the helm (C.J Beathard is nursing a wrist injury and will be a game time decision), and can be counted upon to get the first down when facing third and short situations.

This match-up against the Raiders will be the best chance the 49ers get to snap their six-game losing streak, but it’s going to require defensive playmakers like DeForrest Buckner and Reuben Foster to attack the Raiders vulnerable offensive line and stop Derek Carr moving the chains.

If they don’t win now I can’t see a game left on their schedule where they’ll come out on top.

The betting angle

With both sides sitting on just one this season, it’s hard to feel confident about any selections.

The 49ers go into the game as slight favourites given the home advantage, but in my mind that’s plain wrong. With the injury uncertainly surrounding the quarterback, Oakland should be priced as odds-on, for me. It’s not like San Francisco have an abundance of talent throughout the team to make the QB position less relevant to the match outcome.

It’s worth noting that since the 2014 season, the 49ers have been favourites on 13 occasions, but have won only five of those games. Raiders to win outright is best priced at 13/10 with Sportingbet, but I imagine that line will fluctuate when the 49ers confirm who will be the starting QB.

However, regardless of who suits up for the them, I would still back the Raiders to get the win given how talented Carr is – I’m confident he’ll prove to be the main difference maker.

With that in mind, seeing as he is only up against an average-at-best defence, he should go over his passing yard line with ease, set at 259.5 for odds of 10/11 on SkyBet.

With Oakland’s defence as bad as it is, it might seem tempting to back the 49ers to put up a lot of points. But they would need to get to the 24-26 mark before you hit even-money, and I just don’t think it’s worth backing them to score three touchdowns and field goal, minimum, just to double your stake.

The value for me all lies with the underdogs, but be careful with stake sizing as collectively, the team is still massively underperforming.

Best Bets

Oakland Raiders @ San Francisco 49ers – Oakland Raiders to win (13/10 Sportingbet)

Oakland Raiders @ San Francisco 49ers – Derek Carr Over 259.5 Passing Yards (10/11 SkyBet)

About Author

As a journalism student consumed by sports on a daily basis, being paid to write about them would be the dream upon graduating (assuming I don’t get scouted last minute to play for Barcelona). I’m Scottish born and proudly support the national team, as well as Chelsea and the Chicago Bears. My family are all massive Rangers fans - regardless of what division they wake up in. I’ve started using statistics and data to make selections, rather than my gut. American Football is what I specialise in, and thankfully for me, it is a massively data-driven sport. Everything from pass completion to weather forecasts are taken into account. My love for numbers comes from my interest in poker. I play regularly online and at casinos, and every decision made requires thought into percentages and odds. Although there is an element of luck, it showed me that grasping an understanding of mathematics could prove to be very profitable.

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