There were very few positive moments in the Lions' loss to the Ravens in week seven, but the overall outlook of their season is still high. With their biggest threat in the division losing their quarterback for the season, the Lions can only further improve their playoff future tonight when they play host to the 3-4 Las Vegas Raiders. Since they did get blown out last weekend, I’ll break down why I think Detroit will start fast at home tonight and which player prop market I’ll be targeting as well.
The Raiders had a two-game winning streak snapped by a Chicago Bears team with a backup quarterback at the helm last weekend, and the outlook on their season is only looking more grim. While Las Vegas will get Jimmy Garoppolo back at quarterback tonight, the offense as a whole has not operated much better with him under center, as the team has not put up an offensive EPA better than (2.79) since week one.
In the five games he’s played this season, Garoppolo has a 7:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio and an 82.6 quarterback rating. While those numbers certainly won’t get the job done, it doesn’t help that the Raiders have been unable to formulate any type of run game this season, even with their back quarterbacks playing.
After rushing for just 39 yards on 14 attempts against a lackluster Bears defense last week, the Raiders are now 32nd in rush yards per game and rush yards per attempt. It won’t be any easier to establish a balanced offense this week either, since Las Vegas will be playing a likely highly motivated Lions defense coming off their worst performance of the season.
In their 38-8 loss to Baltimore last weekend, the Lions' defense finished with a (-26.48) EPA. It was not much better for Jared Goff and the offense either, as they ended up with a season-worst (-6.40) EPA, which is the first time they have had a negative EPA on offense this season.
The good news for Detroit’s offense is they are back at home tonight, and that is where they have done the most damage this season. Goff’s quarterback rating goes from 88 on the road to 113.3 at home, which has Detroit ranked 6th in the league in points per game at home with an average of 31.
The Lions' first-half spread is currently set at (-4.5)(-105) on FanDuel, and I’ll be backing them for my first play in this matchup. Detroit is 5-2 ATS in the first half this season, while the Raiders are 2-5 ATS. Las Vegas is also 0-4 ATS in the first half on the road, and I don’t think they’ll be able to keep pace with the Lions from the first series of the game.
The Raiders have only finished with a positive EPA on defense once this season. Now they need to play a Lions team averaging 18.3 points per game in the first half at home and ranks 4th in total yards per game. In their loss last weekend, rookie Jahmyr Gibbs had a breakout game, and he’s got a great matchup to continue that success tonight against a Raiders defense ranked 25th in rush yards per game.
In his first game back, Jimmy G will face a Lions defense that is 9th in opponent completion percentage and can focus almost all of their energy on stopping the Raiders passing game since they know Vegas can’t beat them on the ground. Between the Lions 7th ranked QB pressure percentage and the Raiders' overall struggles at offense, I don’t see Vegas having a lot of success out of the gate.
One of the only Raiders offensive players I can see having a ton of success tonight is tight-end Michael Mayer. I’ll be taking Mayer to have over 2.5 receptions at (+114), as he has an opportunity to exploit a Lions defense that has struggled to stop tight ends. Detroit has allowed the 8th most receptions and yards to tight ends this season, and since week six, Mayer has started to get more attention in the Raiders passing game.
Over the past two weeks, Mayer has a 13% target share and 10.3% first read share, per FantasyPros. Quite frankly, I think he could’ve followed his big performance against the Patriots with a solid game last weekend if Brian Hoyer wasn’t under center, so with Garoppolo back under center tonight, I think Mayer will see more action.
Detroit Lions 1H (-4.5)(-105) on FanDuel
Michael Mayer Over 2.5 Receptions (+114) on DraftKings