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Sharp bettors cause line move on Raiders-Cowboys preseason finale

Now that the Baltimore Ravens’ NFL-record 24-game preseason win streak has ended, the Raiders are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the league’s longest streak at six games.

The Raiders can break that tie with a win at Dallas on Saturday night in their preseason finale and are consensus 5-point road favorites over the Cowboys to do so.

“They’re certainly getting some respect in the market,” Westgate SuperBook director John Murray said.

The Raiders were 4½-point favorites at Circa Sports on Friday morning before sharp action on the Silver and Black caused the line to climb to 5½ on Friday afternoon.

The Raiders are not only 6-0 in the preseason under coach Josh McDaniels, but 6-0 against the spread as well, according to Wager Talk’s Ralph Michaels.

They’ve put up 68 points this preseason, whipping the 49ers 34-7 in the opener before beating the Rams 34-17 last week behind Aidan O’Connell, the highest-rated quarterback in the preseason with a 125.2 rating.

The rookie from Purdue has completed 26 of 36 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

“They’re sitting as a 5½-point favorite right now with no starters playing. That tells you what people think of O’Connell,” Circa sportsbook risk manager Dylan Sullivan said.

Bettors were all over Baltimore in the preseason in recent years as they racked up win after win. But they haven’t jumped on the Raiders’ preseason bandwagon just yet.

In fact, Sullivan and Murray said they were unaware of the six-game win streak and that they haven’t seen extra action come in on the Raiders because of it.

“I don’t think anyone really picked up on that, honestly,” Sullivan said. “Nothing really stands out like it did on the Ravens, who had a little inflation on every (preseason) game the last couple of years. We’re not exactly seeing the same thing with the Raiders.”

Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said most bettors are simply backing the Raiders because they’re the local team, not because of the streak.

“When their games are being played, we’re always going to see more Raiders money,” he said. “They happen to play Saturday night against the Cowboys at 5 p.m. With two of the most storied franchises in the NFL playing, you’re going to see a lot of money on that side.

“It’s really similar to the Knights and Aces. They just draw fans and bettors because they’re our local team.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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Las Vegas handicapper Bruce Marshall is an analyst at VegasInsider.com. Each week, he provides the Review-Journal with NFL tech notes and trends.