Updated December 23, 2019 - 6:03 pm
Fittingly, on the eve of moving to Las Vegas, the Raiders need to hit a four-team parlay to make the playoffs.
Oakland, as Review-Journal columnist Brent Musburger pointed out in Saturday’s paper, needed to hit a five-teamer in Week 16 to keep its playoff hopes alive.
The Raiders did just that, pulling off the biggest upset on the parlay themselves in a 24-17 win over the Chargers as 7½-point road underdogs.
To hit the four-teamer this week, Oakland needs to beat Denver as a 3½-point road underdog. It also needs the Texans to beat the Titans as 4½-point home underdogs, the Ravens to beat the Steelers as 2-point home underdogs and the Colts to beat the Jaguars as 4-point road favorites.
Las Vegas oddsmakers had to adjust the Texans-Titans and Ravens-Steelers lines because Tennessee and Pittsburgh are playing for their playoff lives while Houston and Baltimore already have clinched their postseason seeds (though the Texans could move up from No. 4 to No. 3 if they win and the Chiefs lose to the Chargers).
The Ravens, who own the AFC’s No. 1 seed, opened as 2½-point favorites over the Steelers. But the line flipped when it was reported Monday that quarterback Lamar Jackson and several other starters (Mark Ingram, Marshal Yanda, Earl Thomas, Brandon Williams) will be inactive for the game.
“The line was shaded for the fact that they might’ve played into the second quarter,” said Jeff Sherman, Westgate vice president of risk. “But with them being announced out, we made the line with them out.”
The Titans, who can clinch a playoff berth with a win, opened as 5½-point favorites over the Texans before the line dipped to 4½.
“We made that expecting that (Houston QB) Deshaun Watson wasn’t going to play,” Sherman said. “Now (Texans coach Bill O’Brien) said he was going to play his guys. But we’re not putting much credence in that. It sounds like they’ll start, but they probably won’t play much.
“We almost have to make these (Week 17) lines like preseason games.”
There are tight races for first place with a week to go in all four high-end football handicapping contests in Las Vegas.
An entry with the alias It Ain’t Breezy has a 1½-point lead in the $1,500-entry Westgate SuperContest with a 55-23-2 ATS record (70.5 percent) after going 9-0-1 the past two weeks. First prize is $1.46 million.
Booty Blockers entered Monday with a 2-point lead in the $1,000-entry Circa Sports Million Pro Football Contest with a 54-23-3 ATS mark (70.1). Second-place entry Ace2019 had the Packers (+5½) on Monday night and a chance to cut the gap to one point. First prize is $1 million.
Team MM has a 1-point lead in the $1,000-entry Ultimate Football Challenge at the Golden Nugget with a 70-39-3 ATS record (64.2). First prize is $105,000.
A contestant using the alias Walter Payton entered Monday with a 1-point lead in the $5,000-entry, winner-take-all SuperContest Gold with a 48-30-1 ATS mark (61.5). The leader had the Packers (+5½) on Monday and a chance to extend his lead to two points. The grand prize is $585,000.
More Betting: Follow at reviewjournal.com/betting.