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Oskeim’s Free Pick Winner: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers

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Oskeim Sports provides a detailed betting preview and free pick winner in the Monday Night Football game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers on October 4.

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Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has transformed the Raiders’ stop unit this season. The Raiders rank fifth in early-down rushing success rate (40%) and 10th in early-down passing success rate (48%) according to Sharp Football Stats.

That early-down success is significant in that Las Angeles running back Austin Ekeler is averaging 5.4 yards per carry on 23 first-down carries this season compared to just 3.5 yards per carry on second and third downs. Las Vegas’ front seven has limited opposing running backs to a mere 3.7 yards per carry on first downs this season.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles head coach Brandon Staley’s defense employs two-high safeties that prioritizes stopping the pass by forcing opposing quarterbacks to throw short routes underneath.

The Chargers encourage opponents to run the ball while simultaneously taking away explosive plays in the passing game.  Opposing quarterbacks are averaging just 6.1 yards per attempt on deep passes against Los Angeles this season, the second-best mark in the league. While the Raiders rank third in total EPA on pass plays, Los Angeles held both the Cowboys and Chiefs to under 251 passing yards in back-to-back weeks.

I expect Las Vegas head coach Jon Gruden to keep the ball on the ground more than usual but the Raiders rank last in the league in EPA on rushing plays at -12.9. Carr has thrown downfield more frequently than any quarterback in the NFL this season with 36 deep pass attempts (completed 50%) but he’ll be forced to be much more patient tonight.

Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert is averaging 7.6 yards per pass play, which is league-average and ranks 19th in QBR.  Herbert has struggled under pressure this season, averaging just 6.2 yards per pass attempt with five sacks (Herbert averaged 7.6 yards per pass attempt with a 13-2 TD-INT ratio under duress in his rookie campaign).

The Chargers are ranked 25th in the NFL in scoring touchdowns inside their opponent’s 20-yard line (46.6% TD rate) and have been outgained by opponents on a per-play basis this season, 6.0 yards to 5.9 yards.

Las Vegas cornerback Casey Hayward is conceding only one reception every 41.7 cover snaps (2nd) this season and should have success containing Chargers’ wide receiver Mike Williams, who is averaging 2.66 yards per route run (9th).

Finally, the Chargers are ranked 25th in the NFL in scoring touchdowns inside their opponent’s 20-yard line (46.6% TD rate). Take the UNDER as Oskeim’s Free Pick Winner for Monday, October 4.