Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell places very little emphasis in exhibition play as evidenced by his 3-10 SU and 5-8 ATS record. The technical analysis only gets better for Oakland bettors as NFL teams coming off a preseason loss are 70-42-1 ATS in week 2 of the preseason when matched up against an opponent off a straight-up win. Meanwhile, the Lions are a money-burning 2-14 ATS as road underdogs with a winning record when matched up against an opponent off a loss. Motivation is always an important factor in the preseason, and teams coming off a win are generally more content than squads still looking to secure their first victory of the year.
Reports from Oakland’s camp is that the Raiders looked good during their two joint practices with the Cowboys. More importantly, players benefited from being in game-type atmospheres as opposed to going through the motions in training camp. “It was a lot of great work. Personally, it was my first time being able to work with another team, even though it’s a team I’m pretty familiar with over the past several years,” said veteran offensive lineman Kevin Boothe. “It breaks up camp definitely, and it allows you to get after somebody different. It puts you in a game-type atmosphere for a couple of days. It was good. It was exciting. It’s competition so everybody loves that.”
Oakland head coach Dennis Allen was also impressed with what he saw during the join practices. “A good couple of days of work against the Cowboys,” Allen said. “I think that helped our football team a lot. It was a competitive environment. I think anytime you get an opportunity to get in a competitive environment against a good football team, it makes your team better. We got in a lot of good work.” Coach Allen also suggested that thew joint practices lit a fire under his team and increased “the sense of urgency.”
While Oakland starting quarterback Matt Schaub struggled in the preseason opener (3-for-7 for 21 yards), local reports state that he continues to look very good in practice. From the Manteca Bulletin: “Matt Schaub has impressed his new coaches and teammates with the Oakland Raiders with his sharp performance during training camp practices as he looks to turn the page from a disastrous finish to his career in Houston.” The good news for Schaub is that he’s supported by an excellent backfield consisting of Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew, both of whom who have received praise from the coaching staff throughout training camp.
Second-year standout Latavius Murray has also been the recipient of praise from the coaching staff, which means that we should see an intense competition between the remaining three backs on the roster – Kory Sheets, George Atkinson III and Jeremy Stewart. And, as I have said in the past, the existence of healthy competition within key positions is extremely important when handicapping preseason games. Finally, Oakland applies to a very good 31-7-1 ATS bounce-back situation of mine that was 4-0 ATS last season. Take the Raiders on the money-line as my free sports pick and invest with confidence.
Free Sports Pick: Oakland Raiders (ML)
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