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Raiders Could be a Problematic Bet After a Troubling Offseason

The Rams and Raiders round out the Week 1 NFL schedule on Monday night with one of the more enticing opening matchups of the season. Coming off a summer which saw them make headline news – more than a few times – the Raiders enter 2018 in rocky waters with the $100-million man Jon Gruden at the helm and their latest trade that saw Khalil Mack shipped to Chicago raising a lot of eyebrows.

LA, on the other hand, looks like a legit Super Bowl contender after an offseason that saw the club add Brandin Cooks and Ndamukong Suh to a roster that was already loaded with blue chippers.

Sean McVay and the Rams will enter Oakland as justified road favorites with the 2017 NFC West champs holding the advantage at just about every position on the field.

SHARK BITES
  • The Raiders moved from +3 to +5 after trading Khalil Mack for draft picks.
  • Since 2001, the Rams are 0-9 ATS and 2-7 SU as road favorites.
  • The Raiders are 3-12 SU in their last 15 Week 1 games.

Rams vs Raiders Game Center

One of the worst teams against the spread last season (5-9-2 ATS), the Raiders were one of the more disappointing teams of 2017 and expectations for the Silver and Black are incredibly low heading into the new season given the train wreck they experienced in the offseason.

On an opposite trajectory, the Rams had a middling 9-8 ATS record last season (5-3 on the road) but failed to cover in three straight to end the campaign. Their +850 odds to win the Super Bowl at Bovada are second best in the NFL – behind only the Patriots and tied with the Eagles. This is as big a mismatch as you’ll find on the opening schedule.

Rams Should Shred Raiders Defense

Ranked 26th against the pass in 2017 – with opposing quarterbacks averaging a 101.8 rating against them – the Raiders should only regress in that department after losing one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

Adding Brandin Cooks to a group that helped the Rams score more points than any other team last year (29.9 per game) is just scary for opposing defenses and third-year quarterback Jared Goff could be primed for a campaign in which he contends for MVP.

While Goff didn’t set the world on fire in 2017, his numbers were good across the board (100.5 QB rating). Todd Gurley stole a lot of his QB’s thunder, scoring 19 total touchdowns and accumulating over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. With a legit No. 1 option in Cooks to rely on this year, though, Goff’s numbers should explode.

This could get really ugly for the Raiders and it might be wise to consider an OVER play on the Rams team total.

Is Jon Gruden Out of Touch?

Receiving exactly $10 million from the Raiders for every year he was out of the coaching game, Jon Gruden has been on the shelf for a while and I’m worried for the Spider 2 Y Banana god. The NFL is barely the same sport it was 10 years ago when Gruden coached his last game and there’s a good chance it takes him a few games – or seasons – to adjust.

Losing his final four games as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (and the very last against the Raiders), it’s been a long time since Chucky has experienced an NFL win and he’ll be going head-to-head against one of the best coaches in pro sports in Week 1.

The Bucs also went 1-4 against the spread in Gruden’s final five games in charge in Tampa. In my opinion, that’s not very good.

Rams vs Raiders Picks

I’ve already given you one lean with the Rams team OVER but I also really like LA to cover this spread as well. Oakland has far too many hurdles to clear to be successful this season and in this game and I see the Rams dominating every aspect with their better offense, better defense, better special teams and better coaching.