Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints Preview
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
When: Sunday, September 11, 2016, 1:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: FOX
Writer’s Pick: Oakland Raiders (+1)
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Betting on the Oakland Raiders (+1)
That acquisition definitely placed a huge smile on Derek Carr’s face. The rising quarterback star should be in for another great year with a more secured offensive line protecting him at all times. He nearly passed for 4,000 yards along with 32 touchdowns last season, which was tied for seventh-most in the league. Carr is also priced at +6,000 to win the MVP award this year.
The Raiders, despite all of the positivity surrounding them, still enter as the +1 underdog in Week 1 against the Saints. Both clubs finished with a similar record a season ago, but the latter boasted a better offense that ranked No. 1 overall in passing yards, second in total yards and eighth in scoring.
When it comes to defense though, New Orleans is beyond terrible, especially in passing defense. With that in mind, Carr is likely going to keep looking for his top targets in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree this weekend.
Cooper led Oakland with 14.9 yards per catch in just his rookie season. Crabtree, meanwhile, had a team-high of 85 receptions for 922 yards and nine scores in his first year as a Raider.
The Raiders are 4-6 SU and 6-4 ATS in their previous 10 road games. They are also the favorite (+200) to win the AFC West division this season.
Betting on the New Orleans Saints (-1)
The Saints can score in bunches at almost any moment with Drew Brees, who is priced at +3,000 to be the league MVP this season, behind center. He led all quarterbacks last year with 4,870 passing yards and had a total of 32 touchdowns under his name.
The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer could be primed for another age-defying campaign with a relatively deep set of targets in Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and rookie Michael Thomas, who are all ready to help him ignite the team’s explosive passing game.
Cooks had a sensational 2015, catching a team-best of 84 receptions for 1,138 yards along with nine touchdowns. Snead, on the other hand, was right behind him, compiling 69 catches for 984 yards and three scores.
Well, as much as how solid things appear offensively for the Saints, they remain shaky defensively. They ranked 32nd in scoring defense and 31st in total defense last season. The team made efforts to solve these glaring holes in the off-season with solid additions like S Roman Harper, DT Nick Fairley and ILB James Laurinaitis. All three will provide some stability and much-needed experience.
Those defensive changes won’t fix everything immediately, however. The Saints have to take it one step at a time. Their season-opening opponents—the Raiders—will be a pretty good measuring stick and chance to see how much they’ve improved on this side of the field.
New Orleans is 4-6 SU and 4-5-1 ATS in its last 10 home games.
Raiders (+1) win this one, 27-24.
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