Derek Carr Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are home underdogs against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7 "Thursday Night Football," according to the latest betting odds. Pictured: Derek Carr reacts to a play against the Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Oct. 15, 2017 in Oakland, California. Getty Images

“Thursday Night Football” in Week 7 features a critical AFC West matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. Even after losing their first game of the 2017 NFL season, the Chiefs still have a three-game lead over their division rivals.

The latest betting odds have Kansas City favored by 2.5 points on the road, via OddsShark, and the over/under is 47. Here’s a closer look at the Week 7 game, as well as a prediction against the spread:

Why the Chiefs could cover the spread

No longer perfect, the Chiefs are still the best team in football. They are tied for the NFL’s best record, and they have a convincing win over the league’s only other 5-1 team. Kansas City was beaten by a Pittsburgh Steelers' team that has their number and has defeated them three times in the last year.

When the Chiefs haven’t played the Steelers, they’ve gone 17-3 since the start of the 2016 season. That includes two wins over the Raiders, whom Kansas City has owned under Andy Reid. The head coach is 7-1 against Oakland, including three road wins by at least two touchdowns.

Despite all the expectations that surrounded them in the preseason, the Raiders might be the worst team in the AFC West. They sit in last place with four straight losses, largely because of an offense that hasn’t lived up to the hype.

Derek Carr was held to 171 yards and picked off twice in Sunday’s loss against the Los Angeles Chargers. Whether it was related to his back injury or not, the quarterback continued the poor play that’s plagued him since Week 3. Carr hasn’t even thrown for 175 yards since Week 2, unable to get anything going down the field. The quarterback only has four days to correct Oakland’s offensive issues.

Carr is 1-5 against the Chiefs with a 68.1 passer rating, completing just 55 percent of his passes for 4.92 yards per attempt. Kansas City is susceptible against the run, but Marshawn Lynch and Jalen Richard haven’t combined for more than 80 yards on the ground since Week 2. Oakland is averaging 16.2 points per game against the Chiefs with Carr under center, and they could have trouble improving that average Thursday night.

Why the Raiders could cover the spread

There’s a reason why the Raiders were the most popular Super Bowl bet in Las Vegas during the preseason. Oakland might have been favored by a field goal if this game was played a few weeks earlier, and it’s too early to give up on a team, just yet, that won 12 games a year ago.

As talented as Kansas City is on offense, the unit clearly played above its head during the team’s five-game winning streak. Alex Smith finally had a passer rating below 104.9 in Week 6, and he threw for less than 250 yards for just the second time all season. Kareem Hunt is playing like a mortal with averages of 3.7 yards and 2.3 yards per carry in the last two games. There’s a chance he’ll be held in check by an Oakland defense that’s surrendering less than four yards per rushing attempt.

Oakland has arguably had the NFL’s best offensive line in 2017, allowing a league-low 16 hits to the quarterback. Justin Houston and Kansas City’s defensive front failed to put much pressure on Ben Roethlisberger in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, sacking him once. The Chiefs could have a difficult time getting to Carr, as well.

If Carr continues to have time to throw, it’s hard to believe he’ll continue to struggle like he has during Oakland’s losing streak. Maybe he won’t throw for 300 yards and multiple touchdowns, but he should have chances to make some big plays Thursday night. The quarterback began the season by completing 75 percent of his passes for five scores and no interceptions in the first two weeks.

The Raiders need a win in order to stay in the AFC West race. They might be too good to be essentially eliminated from contention in Week 7.


As long as the betting line stays below a field goal, the Chiefs are the smart pick. It isn’t too much to ask for the AFC West’s best team to beat maybe it’s worst team by three points.

Add in Reid’s history against Oakland, as well as the recent struggles of Carr, and Kansas City should maintain the NFL’s best record.

Kansas City over Oakland, 23-17