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AFC West: Week 7 Preview and Point Spreads

Denver, San Diego and Kansas City all have byes this week, so there’s only one game in the AFC West this weekend. Unfortunately, it’s kind of a crummy one:  the Jacksonville Jaguars are travelling to the West Coast to take on the Oakland Raiders. Still, though it may not be an exciting game, you can still bet on it and make a little moolah. Let’s break down the matchup and look at some of the best bets.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+6) at Oakland Raiders, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

This could be an ugly game, but a scrappy one. Both of these teams are 1-4 and coming off tough losses, though Oakland showed a spark last week in a narrow loss to the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. Against the Falcons, the Raiders racked up 474 total yards and 149 rushing yards while picking off three passes from Matt Ryan. That performance definitely showed signs of improvement for the Raiders, but not enough: they still lost 23-20.

“We’ve got to learn how to finish and win those types of games,” first-year Raiders coach Dennis Allen said after that game. “That’s what our job is. This is a production business. It’s about winning and losing, and we weren’t able to get it done yesterday.”

While Oakland can be proud of their effort against the Falcons, the same definitely cannot be said about the Jacksonville Jaguars last game, a 41-3 blowout loss against the Chicago Bears.

“I think the answers are in this building,” said coach Mike Mularkey. “I think they are in that locker room. They are in that staff room back there. They’re in the meeting rooms, on the practice fields, during our preparation. I think the answers are all here, and we’ve just got a find a way to get those to transfer over to games so we can play complete games and play like we’re capable of playing.” The Jaguars, however, are last in the league in total offense, and 25th in defense, producing only three sacks all season, a league low.

Indeed, these two teams are oddly similar, though not in a good way: the Jaguars have scored an average of 13 points a game while allowing 27.6, while the Raiders have scored an average of 17.4 points per game while allowing an astounding average of 29.6 points per game. In short, there is not a lot to like about either one of these teams. Still, I like a few of the lines in this game.

First of all, putting the Jags at +6 seems a little low. Is there any way this game is decided by anything more than a field goal? Most likely not. When you have two teams that are equally incompetent on both sides of the ball, a low-scoring slap fight is likely. I would expect both Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden to have big games, grinding out the clock and limiting scoring opportunities for both teams. If anything, this game feels like it should be a pick ‘em. Oakland is not significantly better than the Jaguars, and this line seems unfairly skewed toward Oakland because of their encouraging performance against the Falcons, while the Jags were made to look silly against the Chicago Bears. However, the Bears can make a lot of teams, even good ones, look bad, and the Falcons may not be as good as everyone thought they were at the beginning of the season, after narrowly squeaking out two wins over pretty bad teams (Carolina and Oakland).

I like Jacksonville at +6 here. I don’t think they lose by more than a field goal. Also, the over/under for this game is 44. Take the over; I can see this being a 31-28 type game.

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