The Denver Broncos have won and covered three straight against the Oakland Raiders, but they are fighting an underdog tide that swept away favorites in Week 3 of the NFL season.
The Broncos were still favored by 16 points late Sunday, but money has been coming in on the Raiders -- perhaps from bettors weary of watching underdogs like Cleveland and Indianapolis steal their lunch money. The line was -14 early Monday at some sportsbooks.
"Throw in a few intriguing trends that hint at an upset and bettors are paying attention to the Monday Night spread," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com.
Double-digit dogs are now 4-1 against the spread on the season. And Oakland, for all their ineptitude over the years, has always been tough -- at least at the bettiing window -- when they visit Denver (6-1 ATS over the past seven seasons).
As roadies within the division, Oakland is enjoying a 10-1 ATS run in recent years. Only Oakland's abysmal Monday Night record (2-8 ATS in their past 10 games) and OddsShark.com's NFL picks computer -- which predicts a 42-27 final -- trend against the Raiders.
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos were sensational on offense in 2012 and they look even better in 2013. Manning has already passed for 769 yards and nine touchdowns with no interceptions in just two games, racking up 45 points per game with back-to-back blowout wins over the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants.
Manning's Broncos crushed the Raiders twice last season with two double-digit wins, and will try to do the same Monday night.
After gutting their roster of high-priced talent this offseason, many expected the Oakland Raiders to be among the worst teams in the NFL. They may still end up that way, but so far they have looked competitive, covering the spread in a 21-17 road loss to Indianapolis and beating the Jacksonville Jaguars outright 19-9 in Week 2.
Terrelle Pryor has performed well for the Raiders at quarterback and the defense has looked substantially better than it did in 2012, when it allowed 27.7 points per game. Of course, the improved Raiders' defense hasn't faced an offense like the Broncos' yet.
Dating back to last season, the Denver Broncos are 13-0 SU and 11-2 ATS over their last 13 regular season games. The OVER is 8-2-1 over their last 11 games, including a current stretch of 5-0-1. The total for Monday night's game is currently set at 49.5 -- a total that Denver has almost covered on its own over the first two weeks of the season.
The Denver Broncos have shown no signs of slowing down since Week 6 of 2012 and the Raiders are 0-8 SU and 2-6 ATS in their last eight games as an underdog. In a division rivalry game on national television, it is difficult to give 15.5 points to a side, especially one that has looked solid so far this season.
But it might be even more difficult to pick against Peyton Manning in prime time.
Prediction: 42-27 Broncos [ NFL computer picks from Odds Shark ]