While professional sports are full of surprises, generally speaking, the National Football League always seems to deliver more astonishments than its North American counterparts. This season, the biggest shock came from the most unexpected place, Oakland, California. Over the last 5 years the Raiders have enjoyed a record of 26-54, so needless to say online NFL betting fans weren’t exactly expecting a turnaround in 2016. But that’s exactly what Oakland has been delivering this season, and in a startling fashion. But even accounting for how superb the Raiders have been this year, most football betting sites are still pegging them as the underdog this Sunday.
NFL Odds – Week 8 – Sunday, October 30th
Oakland Raiders +1 ½ (-115) 49 ½ (-110) +102
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1 ½ (-105) 49 ½ (-110) -122
Disregarding the fact that the Buccaneers are 3-3, the online NFL betting odds have still decided to side with Tampa Bay. But are those odds justified? In my opinion, the Bucs have been way to inconsistent this season to ever label them as a favorite, especially against the Raiders. Week in and week out Oakland has found a way to win their football games, but some critics want to knock the Raiders success, citing that they haven’t been facing the fiercest opposition.
Oakland currently finds themselves at 5-2 as well as tied for the lead within the AFC West. Putting aside how difficult it is to win within the NFL, some fans still aren’t convinced that the Raiders are for real. This could be because some of the teams that the Raiders have beaten aren’t considered elite; the Saints, the Titans, and the Jaguars. But Oakland has also beaten teams like the Ravens or Chargers who are not so easily dismissed. However, if you were to put Oakland’s record aside and examine this team strictly from a statistical point of view, then they would certainly fail to measure up.
Behind Derek Carr’s efforts, the Raiders have managed to display a decent offensive effort. Right now the Raiders have the 11th best total offense in the league, made up of the 13th best passing offense as well as the 13th best rushing offense. But defensively the Raiders are a nightmare. The Raiders total defense is the absolute worst in the NFL and their pass defense also ranks as the 32nd worst in the league. Their rushing offense isn’t much better, coming in at 28th. With those figures in mind, it’s understandable why the online NFL betting odds would be a little hesitant to favor the Raiders. But are the Bucs any better?
Statistically speaking, yes. Tampa Bay’s offense ranks in the top half of the league, and only their passing offense dips below the 15th mark (the Bucs passing offense ranks 16th in the NFL). Defensively it’s pretty much the same story. The Bucs defense ranks in the top half of the league, except for their rushing defense which ranks 20th. But at the end of the day, statistics don’t win football games, players do. This season, Oakland’s players have consistently been finding ways to win every week. So, even though Tampa Bay is better on paper, the Raiders have a legitimate chance of winning this game.