The best bet as Chargers and Raiders kick off Week 15 tonight

Create: 2020-12-17
Update: 2020-12-17
Score: 5
Safe: Yes

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Thursday, December 17, 2020
Well, hello there! Happy Thursday! We're approaching the end of the week, and that's excellent news. The NFL's Week 15 starts tonight with the Raiders and Chargers, and I have a pick for it that we'll get to it soon enough. Then, on Friday, conference championship weekend begins in college football, and we have a full slate of games Saturday as well as a couple of NFL games. And, you know, then comes Sunday.
In other words, we've got wall-to-wall football for the next few days, and it won't stop on Sunday. Bowl season starts next week as well, meaning we've hit one of the most wonderful times of the year.
If you love football, you've reached Football Valhalla. Congratulations, you've earned it.
The first thing that you should do now that you're here is catch up on your reading. It's fundamental, you know.
  • Russia won't be able to use its name or flag during the next two Olympics. Let's all brainstorm some things we can call it instead.
  • Now that the NCAA has given a blanket waiver to basketball transfers this year, which players and teams will benefit the most?
  • This year's Alabama team might be the best one yet.
  • Drew Brees' recovery has "a ways to go."
OK, let's make some money
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Chargers at Raiders, 8:20 p.m. | TV: Fox
The Pick: Under 52.5 (-110)
: If you've been following all season, you know a few things about me and what I look for. Heck, you don't even have to have been reading all season, just this week. On Monday night, I took the under between Baltimore and Cleveland because it was a divisional rematch. It blew up in my face, but the principle remains. When divisional opponents play for the second time in a season, the games tend to be lower-scoring.
It seems sharp money would agree with the assessment as well. This line opened at 55 but has since dropped to 53. I still see value here. The total is as high as it is because the Raiders have a good offense and an awful defense -- an awful defense missing a few key players tonight. But when you're already one of the worst in the league (28th in DVOA), there's only so much worse you can get! On the flip side, this Chargers offense has taken a dip in recent weeks. On the season, it's averaging 1.93 points per drive (23rd in NFL), but that number has dropped to 1.06 in the last three games. Even the Jets are managing 1.25 points per drive this year!
Key Trend: The Under is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's Projection Model has revealed its top prop bet picks for Raiders vs. Chargers on Thursday Night Football.
💰 College Basketball Picks
No. 9 Creighton at St. Johns, 7 p.m. | TV: FS1
The Pick: St. Johns +7.5 (-110) -- 
Creighton is a good team, but it's a good team that's overrated a bit. It's at No. 9 in the AP Poll, but if we look at KenPom rankings, it's at 17. KenPom rankings are based on performance. There's no "deserve" factor that is much more prevalent in human polls. Creighton has one of the best offenses in the country, but that's partially due to a weak schedule. They've lost their two most significant challenges against Kansas and Marquette. Those two teams happen to be the only top 100 teams the Jays have faced, according to KenPom.
St. Johns isn't as good as either of them, but it's much better than the teams Creighton has beaten. At home, I think players like Julian Champagnie and Isaih Moore will be able to use their size and length to their advantage and keep the Storm within the number.
Key Trend: St. Johns is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 as a home dog.
San Francisco at Oregon, 8 p.m. | TV: Pac-12 Network
The Pick: Oregon -7.5 (-110) -- 
San Francisco first grabbed attention this season when it beat Virginia, 61-60. It was a huge win, but it was one that came with both teams playing their third game in three days, and it had only been scheduled the day before. The Dons have also lost to UMass-Lowell, Rhode Island and Cal earlier this week. Tonight they're facing an Oregon team that has won four straight since losing its season-opener to a Missouri team that's been a lot better than most expected it to be this season. This is a mismatch as far as I can tell, and the Ducks should win and cover with comfort.
Key Trend: Oregon is 19-7 ATS in its last 26 home games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Hammerin' Hank Goldberg, who is 11-4 with his last 15 picks involving the Raiders, has released his prediction for Thursday's game between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Your MVP or Captain
Justin Herbert -- It feels like Herbert has run into a bit of a rookie wall, as his performances have begun to tail off in recent weeks. In the last three weeks, he's thrown three touchdowns to go with five interceptions. Still, in the first meeting against the Raiders, he threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 24 yards. Your MVP tonight needs to be Herbert or Derek Carr (try to have both in your lineups), but I think Herbert's the higher-scoring of the two more often than not.
Hunter Renfrow -- Renfrow is usually a solid value option for single-game slates involving the Raiders. He's seen an uptick in usage the last three weeks, with 22 targets, 16 receptions and 158 yards. He doesn't offer much of a ceiling since he's not a touchdown scorer, but he gets enough targets that he's a safe bet to meet his price point.
Full lineup advice
SportsLine's team of DFS insiders has you covered for daily fantasy sports. Mike McClure has won almost $2 million playing DFS, and Jacob Gibbs was ranked as one of the nation's most accurate Fantasy experts last year. Plus, use SportsLine's all-new DFS Optimizer to get optimal NFL DFS picks from 10,000 simulations.
 🏈 Thursday Night Props
  • Justin Herbert Over 9.5 rushing yards (-110)
  • Bryan Edwards Over 10.5 receiving yards (-110)
  • Austin Ekeler Under 5.5 receptions (+110)
  • Raiders D/ST to score a touchdown (+550)
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