My schedule for Qoxhi Picks doesn’t often allow me to attend a National Football League game. When the games are being played, I’m in my office updating stats, scores and spreads. In the last five years, I have only attended two NFL contests. A Saturday night game with tickets given to me by a longtime friend and client, my brother and I attended a San Francisco 49ers contest played against the San Diego Chargers the first year the Niners played at Levi’s Stadium, 2014. Six weeks ago, I took my son and grandson to Oakland to watch the Raiders host the San Diego Chargers on a Thursday night.
While last Sunday ended with a thud for Raiders fans attending the last game the Silver and Black will play in Oakland, a 20-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, that Thursday night win six weeks ago was electric. No where in the stands was the hint that this was the last primetime game Raiders fans would be able to enjoy with their team in Oakland. Instead, the crowd was enthusiastic from the ceremonies on the field, which included a live recreation of big plays from past Raiders glory days, to a game for the ages.
The contest was close throughout, but Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers was constantly hounded by the relentless Oakland defense and surrendered key interceptions that led to a dramatic last minute winning touchdown by the Raiders.
If one was climbing Mount Everest, they just reached the peak.
Know what happens after one reaches the apex of their quest? They start down. No other choice.
Since that monumental win over the Chargers on that Thursday night in Oakland, the Raiders failed the next week to cover the point spread while hosting the Cincinnati Bengals, and have lost four straight games both straight-up and against the line the past four Sundays.
This week, the Raiders meet the team that they last enjoyed big success against, the Chargers, in a game the National Football League had originally scheduled as part of Saturday’s triple header. Instead, they have moved this contest to the Sunday schedule, and found three other games the league has decided offer more interest for a wider audience.
No game offers more interest for me than the Raiders/Chargers Sunday matchup.
The Raiders problems since they beat the Chargers, not covering a spread in five weeks, and now going up against the team that was on the other side of the line for their last heroic effort, offers an ideal spot for the home team?
What are the odds the Raiders put up another big effort against the Chargers?
What are the odds the Chargers will come up flat against the Raiders after they both lost to them six weeks ago and got blown out on their home field last week by the Minnesota Vikings?
The books know the advantage the Chargers have here, but based on public opinion they can’t really set a point spread in alignment with the likely result. If they did, it would be something like the Chargers by 17 points.
Now, you know if the linemakers set this point spread with the Raiders getting 17 points, there would be a stampede to the sportsbooks to get down on Oakland.
I would be willing to lay those 17 points with Rivers this week, so do you know how great it looks to only be giving 6½ points with the Chargers?
Good enough to not wait, but to take that line now.
Qoxhi Picks: Los Angeles Chargers (-6½) over Oakland Raiders