According to sportsbooks, it’s been a long 14 years since the Oakland Raiders attended a Super Bowl. In that span the Raiders have failed to qualify for a single postseason. This year, the sportsbooks weren’t predicting a playoff finish for Oakland. However, the Raiders took the entire NFL by surprise and pillaged their way to a 12-4 record, their best finish since the 2000 season. Behind one of the best passing offenses in the league Oakland earned themselves a reputation of a team not to be trifled with.
Nevertheless, that foreboding reputation and elite passing attack hinged on the shoulders of one man, Derek Carr. Unfortunately for sportsbook fans who favor the Raiders, after suffering a broken fibula Carr will no longer be able to represent the Raiders this postseason.
Without Carr in the mix the Raiders are nowhere near as dangerous. That much is obvious, but this past weekend we got a good look at just how frail Oakland truly is without their fearless passer. In Week 17 the Raiders faced off against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos defiantly defeated the Raiders 24-6, ultimately proving what many Oakland fans feared; without Carr the Raiders don’t really have any true playoff aspirations.
But in the end Oakland caught a break by facing a team in the first round of the playoffs who also has been having issues at the quarterback position, albeit for a completely different reason. Let’s see which ailing team the football betting lines will favor this upcoming weekend.
NFL Odds – AFC Wild Card – Saturday, January 7th (Full Limits Available on Game Day)
Oakland Raiders +3½ (-120) 36½ (-110) +155
Houston Texans -3½ (EV) 36½ (-110) -175
Interestingly enough, the sportsbooks are siding with the Texans this Saturday. However, considering the ongoing issues Houston is having at quarterback, a Texans victory isn’t clear-cut. Houston was heavily criticized for the $72 million contract they offered Brock Osweiler this past offseason to convince him to move to Texas. In the Texans’ defense, Houston had been extremely competitive over the last couple of years and it was the consensus that all they needed to compete in the Super Bowl was a quarterback.
But Osweiler was not that quarterback. In fact, the offseason addition was so disappointing that the Texans had to bench him a couple of weeks ago in their contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In Week 17 the Texans faced the Titans and Osweiler ended up making an appearance late in the game only because Tom Savage, the man filling in for the benched Osweiler, had sustained an injury. That’s certainly not helping Osweiler’s confidence.
Osweiler was never an elite quarterback, and now that his confidence is in the dirt the Raiders have a real opportunity to capitalize on and earn their franchise’s first playoff win since their Super Bowl appearance over a decade ago. Granted, the Raiders will need a strong showing from their running game and an even better showing from their defense. And even if the Raiders manage to scrape by a win, it’s extremely unlikely that they’d be able to get past the Wild Card round. After all, the sportsbooks don’t even think they can get past Houston.