In July, the NFL made tickets available for this Monday’s showdown between the (7-3) Oakland Raiders and (6-3) Houston Texans, two teams who are respectively leading their divisions (8.30pm ET on ESPN).
They sold out in minutes due to this being the league’s first game in Mexico City since the Arizona Cardinals took on the San Francisco 49ers at Azteca in 2005. Now, nearly 11 years to the date, Azteca will once again host the NFL, this time for teams who are battling for playoff positioning.
Oakland will be represented as the home team, of which they are 2-2 on the season. However, given this is a true road matchup at a neutral site, it is safe to say that Oakland’s blemish free 5-0 road record might be the key statistic for this preview to bear in mind when deciding its betting predictions and picks. Especially since the Raiders have a road win against the AFC North leading (5-4) Baltimore Ravens, who are certainly a tough team to play at home.
Against the Texans, the unlikely 1st place team in the AFC South, the Raiders will face a tough challenge. It is one coming off their meeting with the Texans’ divisional foes, the Denver Broncos, which Oakland won 30-20. They had a bye since that huge win and will be looking to pick up right where they left off this Monday, as one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season.
This is in large part thanks to Derek Carr (pictured), who has really come into his own as a top starting quarterback on what looks to be a playoff guaranteed team. Carr is certainly in the MVP conversation and ranks seventh in the NFL in passing yards (2,505), and ninth in both rating (99.1) and touchdowns (17). He also only has three interceptions on the year.
Carr’s success can be attributed to his own development and career numbers, but also due to what has become the NFL’s leading wide receiver duo in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, who are combining for eight touchdowns and 1,439 receiving yards.
Defensively however, Carr and his receivers are not getting much help. Oakland give up on average 24.8 points per game and is ranked 28th in DVOA, which is a metric that measures defensive efficiency against the average. To put it into perspective, Oakland is 7-2 in spite of their defense, much like how the Texans are 6-3 in spite of their inept quarterback, Brock Osweiler.
On the year, Osweiler is the worst in the league in terms of average yards per pass at 5.61. Last week, in a game the Texans just barely won against the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars, Osweiler had just 99 yards. That yardage from a starting quarterback is not exactly what you expect to see from a winning signal caller. If you’re wondering how Houston managed to win that game, look no further than running back Lamar Miller.
Miller is seventh overall in the NFL in total yards, with 720 on the season. He will be facing a Raiders defense which struggles in this department, allowing opponents to carry for 4.7 yards per rush, which is tied for the second worst such average in the NFL. However as far as the passing game goes, Oakland’s is a defense that continues to improve. It is one that will make Osweiler completely a non-factor and in stopping the pass, may be able to limit Miller’s ability on the ground as well.
Our Preview’s Houston Texans vs Oakland Raiders Betting Predictions & Picks
Oakland enters this game as between 5.5pt and 6.5pt favorites in the online betting from the USA sportsbooks. At first look that seems stiff given how the team has played at home. However, as this preview has said, this is not a home game in the traditional sense. If anything it’s more a road contest for the Raiders and as this season has proved, this is a team that has excelled away from the confines of Oakland Coliseum.
It is for that reason that playing in Mexico, in Azteca, which holds so many memorable moments for American soccer and beyond, that the Raiders should stand by their favored margin. Here are our betting predictions and picks:
- Take Oakland -5.5pts to cover the spread @ -112 betting odds with BetOnline Sportsbook. You can get -6.5pts @ -105 with Bovada, while Bookmaker.eu go -6pts @ -108.
- As for the total points to be scored in this game, take the under 46pts @ -110 with any of Bovada, Bookmaker.eu or BetOnline sportsbooks. Both teams have struggled with scoring at various points this season. Against one another, that could continue as both Carr and Osweiler look to lead their teams to victory and one step closer to securing their spot in the 2016-17 NFL postseason.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.