Prior to realignment in 2002, the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks were division rivals for a quarter century in the old AFC West. They had some heated battles with the Raiders coming out on top in most of them, including a meeting in the AFC Championship Game following the 1983 season. In an effort to rekindle the rivalry, the teams have met every year since 2006 in the final preseason game. It doesn’t make up for all those losses from the early years, but the Seahawks are 10-2 over that span.
This Week 4 preseason matchup is set to go down Thursday, August 30, 2018, at 10 p.m. ET at CenturyLink Field.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
Oakland Raiders +3
Seattle Seahawks -3
Seattle has never had a winless preseason under Pete Carroll, but that could change on Thursday. The Seahawks are 0-3 SU and 1-2 ATS this year, but they’ve dominated the preseason series with Oakland going 10-2 SU and 11-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings. Seattle opened as a 3-point favorite with the total set at 35.5.
With both starting offenses operating efficiently last week, this game will determine the backup job for each club. Derek Carr got his work in, hitting a long pass on his first throw and leading the Raiders to field goal before turning things over to Connor Cook. Playing behind the starting offensive line, Cook had his troubles against the Packers. He finished the nigh 6 of 15 for 72 yards with an interception. He also had another pick called back on a defensive penalty. Cook has flatlined after a strong first game, opening the door for E.J. Manuel.
I’m sure Jon Gruden would love to rest his backup QB, the only problem is he doesn’t know who that is. Manuel had better numbers against the Pack, but also had issues taking care of the football. He completed 8 of 12 for 87 yards and directed the game-winning touchdown drive, but fumbled twice turning the ball over once. Unless Gruden has something up his sleeve, you can expect Cook and Manuel to split the snaps on Thursday.
Seattle is in a similar situation though there may be more separation between Alex McGough and Austin Davis after the last two games. McGough took a bulk of the snaps after Russell Wilson last week and overcame an awful first possession to lead the Seahawks on a scoring drive. His third pass was intercepted, but McGough responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive. His five completions went for 140 yards and he also scrambled for 22 yards.
Davis hasn’t played much in the last two games and his numbers aren’t helping his cause. He has just five passing yards on three completions in those games and his two completions last week resulted in -1 yard. Much like last season, we can expect a half each from McGough and Davis.
Gruden has one of the better preseason records among current coaches with a mark of 32-17. Even though he hasn’t been on the sideline for several seasons, he still values the preseason for what it is. The Raiders are 2-1 SU and ATS this preseason with all three games playing below the closing total.
During his tenure as coach of the Seahawks, Pete Carroll has never gone winless during the preseason. And he’s has had the Raiders number over that stretch. Carroll is 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS against them in his preseason career and he’s won all four meetings in Seattle.
Free ATS Pick
This won’t be your typical preseason finale with both teams looking to clear up the backup quarterback position. That could make for some interesting moments, especially against defenders that may not be around after the weekend. All four QBs need to perform well and there’s a good chance they will, giving plenty of value to the over.
You might as well flip a coin for this one, but if it comes down to the kicking game look for the Seahawks to have an advantage. Sebastian Janikowski is Seattle’s kicker after spending a number of winters with the Raiders. Sure it’s a meaningless preseason game, but don’t tell Seabass that. There will be field goal opportunities and Janikowski will be the difference.
NFL Betting Odds: Seahawks 29, Raiders 23
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