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Sharp money moves line on Raiders-Broncos game

Updated October 15, 2021 - 2:48 pm

When the news broke Monday night that Jon Gruden had abruptly resigned as Raiders coach, sharp bettors at the South Point sportsbook promptly backed the Broncos -3 in Sunday’s AFC West game in Denver.

The consensus line quickly moved to 3½ at Las Vegas books, and on Friday it inched up to 4 everywhere except at Station Casinos, where it stayed at -3½ -119, and the South Point, where it remained -3½ -110.

“When they bet me, I’ll move it. But not until then,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said. “We definitely need the Raiders at this point and probably will even more so by kickoff. But I’m not going to move it until they bet me.”

Caesars Sportsbook also reported sharp money on the Broncos, who opened as 2½-point favorites on the look-ahead line.

The ticket count at Station is in favor of the Raiders’ opponent for the first time this season.

“It’s not a huge difference, but 52 percent of the tickets are on the Broncos, and we’ve seen that number go up,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “That can change by kickoff, but the early indications are that it’s going in Denver’s direction.”

Esposito said the action on the Broncos isn’t only a byproduct of the sudden coaching change on the Raiders from Gruden to interim coach Rich Bisaccia.

“It’s a combination of things. The coaching change, they’ve lost two straight games, they’re playing in a place they haven’t played well in historically, and they’re playing a good defensive team for the third straight week,” Esposito said. “But they’re still a playoff team if the playoffs started today. They’re only a game behind the Chargers, and a win here puts them at 4-2.

“They could very easily be tied for the AFC West lead by the end of Sunday.”

The total has dropped from an opener of 45 to a consensus of 44 and to as low as 43 at Circa Sports.

“That’s a product of the Raiders scoring 14 points or less in back-to-back games,” Esposito said. “And because of Denver’s defense and style of play.”

The Broncos have a 1-4 under record and the Raiders a 2-3 under mark after they were the NFL’s best over team last season with a 12-3-1 over-under record.

The Broncos (3-2, 3-2 ATS) won and covered their first three games against the Giants, Jaguars and Jets before losing 23-7 to the Ravens and 27-19 last week to the Steelers.

The Raiders (3-2, 2-3 ATS) won their first three games over the Ravens, Steelers and Dolphins before losing 28-14 to the Chargers and 20-9 last week at home to the Bears.

Las Vegas has covered six of the last seven meetings but failed to cover the most recent matchup, a 32-31 season-ending win at Denver in January as 3-point favorites.

“It will be interesting to see if this becomes a trend to bet against the Raiders,” Esposito said. “Or it’s an isolated incident right now because of the coaching change.”

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

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