The New England Patriots make their 2014 home debut Sunday as they face the Oakland Raiders. The Patriots enter the game as anywhere from a 14-point to a 15-point favorite, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The spread is the biggest in the NFL this week. The OddsShark Computer predicts a 34.5-16.5 victory for New England
The Patriots’ injury report includes several key players listed as limited. That list includes Shane Vereen (shoulder), Julian Edelman (back) and Rob Gronkowski (knee). All three are expected to play and simply continue Bill Belichick’s injury report maneuvering.
The Raiders welcomed Maurice Jones-Drew back to practice for the first time since Week 1 after hand surgery, and he appears set to take part in a running back platoon. Rod Streater, on the other hand, sat out a second straight practice with a hip flexor. Oakland has not commented on his injury, but he will either sit or be limited on Sunday.
According to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, there have not been many significant line swings in the early games. Bills-Chargers opened as a pick ‘em, but has moved to Bills -2.5. San Diego’s loss of Ryan Mathews, coupled with the excitement behind the Bills’ strong start, might have something to do with that.
There are two big divisional matchups, as Green Bay takes on Detroit while Cleveland and Baltimore do battle. Both feature a pair of teams with iffy records against the spread in recent weeks. Green Bay is 2-8-2 ATS in their last 12 games, while Detroit is 1-5 ATS in their last six games. Baltimore is 2-5 ATS in their last seven games, while Cleveland is 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games. Of course, one of those wins was last week against the New Orleans Saints.
The most interesting game of the late schedule is Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks. The Broncos opened as 3.5-point underdogs, and the line now sits at Seattle -5. What is most notable is that Denver is an underdog for the first time since 2012. According to the OddsShark NFL Database, the Broncos were favored in their last 32 games.
Sunday wraps up with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers on “Sunday Night Football,” and the Panthers are 3-point favorites. Carolina is 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 games, while Pittsburgh is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games. However, the Steelers are 7-14 ATS in its last 21 road games, while the Panthers are 7-1-1 ATS in its last nine home games.
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