Broncos vs Raiders Week 16 Picks and Predictions: Denver Not a Lock in This Spot

Denver and Las Vegas are fighting for their playoff lives, but with Teddy Bridgewater injured and Drew Lock under center, it's going to be tough to trust the road team in Week 16. Check out our Broncos vs Raiders picks to find out more.

Last Updated: Dec 24, 2021 7:24 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Drew Lock Denver Broncos NFL
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With both teams’ playoff hopes riding on a Week 16 victory, the Las Vegas Raiders will have a big advantage under center as Teddy Bridgewater is unlikely to suit up for the Denver Broncos who enter Sunday’s game as slight underdogs.

Can Drew Lock get over his generous nature and avoid costly turnovers? Can the Raiders cover for the eighth time in 10 attempts against their division rivals? Find out in our free NFL picks and predictions for the Broncos vs. Raiders.

Broncos vs Raiders odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Broncos were -1 on the look-ahead but with the news of Teddy Bridgewater sitting out, the line has swung to Las Vegas -1 with a total of 41.5 after opening at 42.5. These teams met in Week 6 with Denver closing as 5-point home favorites in a game that Las Vegas won 34-24.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Broncos vs Raiders predictions

Predictions made on 12/22/2021 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Broncos vs Raiders game info

Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Date: Sunday, December 26, 2021
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET

Broncos at Raiders betting preview


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Key injuries

Broncos: Teddy Bridgewater QB (Out), Kenny Young LB (Out).

Raiders: Darren Waller TE (Out), Kendal Vickers DE (Out).

Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Broncos are 1-7 ATS in their last eight meetings. Find more NFL betting trends for Broncos vs. Raiders.

Broncos vs Raiders picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

This market was OTB for some time as the status of Teddy Bridgewater was uncertain, but head coach Vic Fangio doesn’t expect him to play, meaning Drew Lock will draw the road start for the Broncos. This line sits at Las Vegas -1 but is trending upwards and with most lines in this range, could likely move to -2.5 after coming off the pick ‘em. 

These two teams played back in Week 6 in a game that Las Vegas won as 5-point road dogs, 34-24. Teddy Bridgewater threw three interceptions and Denver committed four total turnovers. The Raiders also won the yards-per-play battle by +2.7 yards per play. 

The Raiders are coming off a narrow win versus Nick Mullens and the Browns on Monday but beyond Vegas’ two turnovers and a missed field goal, the Raiders had nearly 100 more yards of offense and were +0.6 in yards per play. Nick Chubb had just 4.0 yards per carry versus the Raiders’ No. 11 EPA/rush defense that will likely commit to stopping the run this Sunday and let Lock implode.

In 16 games over the last two seasons (13 starts), Lock has 17 touchdowns to 17 interceptions and led the league in picks a season ago despite playing in just 13 games. Vegas has the fewest interceptions in football but Lock has been more than generous and had a four-interception game in Las Vegas last season in a Week 9 start. The Denver QB lost both his games versus the Raiders last season. 

In the first meeting, Derek Carr absolutely annihilated the Denver secondary as he turned 18 completions into an impressive 341 yards (18.94 yards per completion). Carr loves to spread it around, and in that game, he completed passes of 25 yards or longer to six different receivers and had four completions of 30-plus yards. The Broncos have a Top-10 defense in dropback success rate and EPA/play but sit in the Bottom 10 in average explosive pass rate. Vegas leads the league in completions of over 15 yards and could find success again going deep. 

The Denver backfield of Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams is the strength of this Broncos’ team, but with a mistake-prone QB in Lock under center, it’s tough to trust the Broncos here. Lock had a bad red-zone turnover in relief last week and now faces a defense that blitzes at the lowest rate in football but sits sixth in QB knockdowns. Facing pressure and extra men in coverage could be a disaster for Denver’s likely starter.

If Carr can take care of the football and this Raiders' defense can focus on stopping Williams and Gordon, trusting Lock to win this game is something we’re willing to bet against.

Prediction: Raiders -1 (-110)

The Broncos are tied with the Jaguars for the best Under record in football at 3-11 O/U but a lot of that has had to do with Bridgewater not turning the ball over and taking very few shots downfield. Lock does the opposite of both of those things and saw a game total of 50 in both of his games versus the Raiders last season. Those two games saw a total of 113 points scored.

We’ve seen this total start to move downwards and we’re ready to hit the Over on this low number of 41.5. Lock is a coach’s nightmare as he plays incredibly loose and likes to take more shots downfield than Bridgewater. He also has ball security issues as he proved in the third quarter in last week’s game with a fumble inside the 10-yard line.

Gordon and Williams have become one of the best backfield duos in football as the Broncos are averaging Over 150 yards on the ground over their last games and have totaled five touchdowns from the pair over that stretch. Williams' role is expanding and he is becoming one of the more exciting backs in football and paces the league by a lot in broken tackles with 31 (Joe Mixon is second with 20).

The Vegas passing attack is starting to form an identity without Henry Ruggs as Zay Jones has started to flourish. He sits second on the team in target share over the last three games and is coming off his best game of the year. Hunter Renfrow is becoming one of the best possession receivers in the league, Foster Moreau is filling in admirably for Darren Waller (Questionable), Byran Edwards’ role is expanding on the outside while Josh Jacobs has really picked up his game in the passing attack with 127 receiving yards over his last three games.

Looking at explosive plays, the Raiders allow explosive runs at a Top-10 rate while the Broncos sit 18th in average explosive pass rate allowed. Offensively, the Broncos have the fifth-most rushes of 10-yards or longer while the Raiders lead the league in completions of 15 yards or more.

This may be a do-or-die game for both teams’ playoff hopes but we like the potential for big plays on offense as well as some turnovers that create short fields for the other team. We’re on the Over here.

Prediction: Over 41.5 (-110)

This line could very well hit -2.5 or even -3 as Sunday gets closer. Even head coach Vic Fangio isn’t certain about Lock’s success ahead of the Week 16 matchup. “I hope after a week of practice he’ll be much more comfortable and much more efficient in the whole operation,” Fangio was quoted on Monday. Sounds like Lock has plenty of areas that need improving in his coach's eyes.

The Raiders defense has held them in games of late and is a big reason why they are still in the playoff hunt. Only eight other teams have allowed fewer yards per game than the Raiders over the last three weeks, as the Chiefs managed just 372 yards of offense in their 48-9 beatdown of the Raiders in Week 14 that was fueled by Las Vegas turnovers and special teams errors. 

Bridgewater and his ball security complimented this Denver offense well, but with the erratic Lock under center, trusting Denver in what is basically a pick ‘em is not something we’re willing to risk. 

Pick: Raiders -1 (-110)

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