The NFL will hit the field in Mexico City when the Raiders (7–2) face the Texans (6–3) in Week 11’s Monday night matchup at Estadio Azteca.
The Raiders, who will technically serve as the “home team”, are listed as six-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, and that may be a good thing considering how they have played in Oakland so far this season.
Oakland is just 2–2 straight up and 1–3 against the spread at home in 2016, compared to a perfect 5–0 SU and ATS away from home. The Raiders may be calling Estadio Azteca home briefly, but they hope to continue playing like they have on the road all year.
In fact, the team plans to arrive in Mexico City as late as possible on Sunday in order to try to avoid being fatigued. The elevation of Estadio Azteca is more than 2,000 feet higher than that of Mile High in Denver, making it a potential factor.
On the other hand, the Texans probably wish they were the ceremonial home team, since they have gone 1–3 straight up and against the spread on the road this season. They are coming off a 24–21 victory against the Jaguars as 2.5-point road underdogs last week, which snapped their three-game skid away from home—those three previous losses were decided by an average of 21 points. Houston is 5–0 straight up and 4-0-1 against the spread at home.
These teams have not met since 2014, when the Texans won 30–14 at Oakland as three-point road favorites, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The Raiders are just 3–6 straight up and against the spread in the past nine meetings, dating back to 2004. The over has cashed in three of the last four games between the teams and is 5-2-2 in the previous nine meetings.
This matchup will likely come down to the quarterbacks and the defensive lines chasing them. Oakland had some extra time to prepare for Houston off its bye week and saw Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler throw for a season-low 99 yards in the win at Jacksonville.
Osweiler has been a disappointment since signing with Houston in the off-season, while Raiders QB Derek Carr is being mentioned among leading NFL MVP candidates with 2,505 yards, 17 touchdowns and three interceptions so far.