Professional Sports Handicappers

Thursday 8/22/2019

Raiders +2.5 - 5 units

The Braves did their part last night, the Marlins did not and in the end it was just the wrong side and we take the loss.  Tough 1-2 start to the week but that comes on the heels of a winning week and a winning start to August, we are 6-2 in the NFL Preseason so far and we look to continue that here as we get NFL Preseason Week 3 underway when the Oakland Raiders take on the Green Bay Packers at IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  Winnipeg is closer in proximity to Green Bay than it is to Oakland but this neutral site game will actually take the place of a preseason home game for the Raiders.  Winnipeg is just over the border from the state of Minnesota which means Vikings fans who hate Green Bay so this really should just be a neutral crowd excited to watch some American Football on their home soil.  We start most of our preseason handicaps talking about coaching and that is as relevant as ever here.  It’s tough to judge Matt LaFleur who is 1-1 in the preseason and in just his third preseason game ever but it’s safe to say Jon Gruden cares about these preseason games as he’s 35-17 in preseason games since 2003 and 5-1 since returning to coaching as head coach of this Raiders team.  The Raiders are the team being documented by HBO’s Hard Knocks series this year which has provided an in depth look at the Raiders and it’s just obvious that Gruden cares about the end result of these “meaningless” games.  Week 3 is generally the dress rehearsal where teams play their starters for at least a half but that doesn’t necessarily mean Aaron Rodgers will play for the Packers here.  Coach LaFleur has been quiet about how he’s handling Rodgers in the preseason, he ended up not playing at all last week which came as somewhat of a surprise and it hasn’t been announced how much he will play here.  At this point in his career Rodgers doesn’t need a ton of live game reps before the season so he will probably play tonight, it will probably be brief and it will be onto the Packers backups who are far worse than what the Raiders are working with right now.  On the other sideline there’s Derek Carr, there’s no question about him being the starter this season but this is a pivotal season for Carr who could be out as the Raiders starter going into next season so he needs to play well and that extends to tonight.  Carr will get at least a quarter and probably play into the second quarter but it’s the two guys competing to be his backup that will be the reason the Raiders will win this game.  The Raiders, like the 49ers who we have already cashed with twice in the preseason, have a big time competition for the backup quarterback spot.  Mike Glennon is currently the backup and has played outstanding so there’s likely no way he’s losing that job at this point but Nathan Peterman has played well enough to make the Raiders consider carrying three quarterbacks on the main roster.  Once Rodgers leaves the game for Green Bay, which will be sooner than later, it’s DeShone Kizer and a couple no name guys who will definitely get cut as really none of them are a suitable backup for Rodgers anyway.  Finally, the Raiders have had a couple really bad seasons and they have been really bad for the better part of the past 15 years so beating a storied franchise like the Packers does mean something even if it doesn’t get them anywhere in the standings.  If you add all of that up the Raiders have a coach that has played to win in the preseason his entire career, a big time competition for the backup quarterback spot and a team that should simply be more motivated to win.  On top of all of that the Raiders are 2-0 already this preseason with decisive wins over the Rams and Cardinals and are actually getting points here because the game is being played on a neutral field in closer proximity to Green Bay.   The betting public is applying the usual “Week 3” rule to this one and sees the Packers as a better team than the Raiders so they are happy to lay the points with the Packers here.  We don’t see Rodgers or the Packers being all that into this game, the Raiders will be and they will get the win in Winnipeg tonight and cash yet another Preseason NFL ticket for us here.  Play on Raiders +2.5 for 5 units