Las Vegas Raiders vs. Denver Broncos – NFL, Week 17, 2020

By Dean McHugh in NFL
| December 31, 2020 8:30 am PDT

Both of these teams have already been eliminated from this year’s competition, and whilst the Raiders have absolutely nothing to play for, the Broncos will want to avoid coming last in the AFC West.

The Raiders season fell apart over recent weeks, and they have lost four of their last five games. Although the last couple were narrow losses, it’s hard to see where they will draw inspiration from going into this one.

Much like the Raiders, the Broncos have been very poor as of late as they two have only won one of their last five games.

However, the thing that is certainly in the Broncos favor is the home team on the day has won this fixture the last nine times that it has been played, so home field really is an advantage.

Raiders vs. Broncos Odds

Raiders (-2.5) -110
Broncos (+2.5) -110
Raiders To Win -140
Broncos To Win +120
Over 50.5 Points -110
Under 50.5 Points -110

I’m slightly surprised that the Raiders are the favorites for this one. Yes, they have had a better season than the Broncos, and little could argue that they are a better team, but they have little to play for here. I made this a pick-em match between the two weighing up the Raiders better season against the Broncos incentive and home-field advantage.

Raiders Preview

The Raiders season has tailed off pretty badly, having lost five of their last six matches. This was prior to a run of four wins from five, which looked certain to give them the platform that they needed to qualify for the playoffs.

On the road, the Raiders have been one of the best teams in the AFC, winning five of their seven matchups.

Much like their current form, they have been poor against the spread recently, only winning one of their last five games. However, on the road, they have picked up six wins from their last nine matches.

They also have a perfect record of five from five against the Broncos in recent years. This has also been the case for games played at Empower Field as they have won ten of the last 14 against the spread there.

One thing they can’t be accused of is entertainment, as five of their last six games have gone over the betting total. This is also the case on the road, with five of their last seven also going over.

However, their games against Denver have been a lot more low scoring, and the last five have all gone under the betting total. In fact, the last five in a row played in Denver have all gone under also.

The Raiders have a decent offense, which is posting figures of just under 380 yards per game, resulting in an average of 26 points scored each week.

However, their defense is poor, and they are averaging 29 points against them per game, which is the fourth-highest in the league. They appear to be as equally poor whether they are playing against teams that like to pass the ball or run the ball against them.

They also have the fifth-lowest amount of forced fumbles in the NFL too.

Broncos Preview

The Denver Broncos have struggled for any consistency this season and have lost seven of their last ten fixtures. After a crushing loss against the Bills, they put up a spirited effort against the Chargers, and after trailing 13-0 at half time, they fought back to be level at 16-16 going to the last minute of the game only to lose to a field goal with just 41 seconds on the clock. Here are the game highlights.

The Broncos have a slightly worse record at home than they do on the road, having only picked up two wins from their seven home ties. However, they have lost badly in their two most recent games against the Bills, where they lost by 29, and against the Saints, where they lost by 28!

Against the spread, things haven’t really improved at home as they have lost four of their last six games.

Their matches have also tended to be low scoring, with five of the last seven going under the betting total, which is also the case for their home matches where 15 of their last 22 games have gone the same way.

This is probably due to them having a very poor offense, which has averaged 19 points per game, the fourth-lowest in the league. This is largely down to poor passing as they average just over 200 yards per week. They actually have the worst passing success rate of any NFL team this season, with just 56% of their passes being completed.

However, their rushing game is decent, and they currently average just under 120 yards per game, which does make them competitive in this area.

Defensively things are only slightly better as they currently average 27 points against them per week. Unlike their rushing offense, they don’t deal with rushing teams very well, and they are giving up over 130 per game in this area. They do, however, defend fairly well against passing teams allowing just under 230 yards against them per game.

With them having a fairly standoffish defense, you would imagine that they have a fair amount of interceptions, but that isn’t the case as they have the fifth-lowest count in the league.

They desperately need to make more tackles each week as only the Titans and the Jets have made fewer tackles than them this year.

Raiders vs. Broncos Betting Pick

  • Broncos (+2.5)

It’s hard to know if the Raiders will show up for this one, and given the home team’s dominance of this fixture, I am going to opt for the Broncos with the small lead to take the victory.



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