New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders Betting Preview
Last week, the Las Vegas Raiders went east and escaped with a 34-30 win over the Carolina Panthers, barely covering the three-point spread. In New Orleans, quarterback Drew Brees and the 3.5-point favorite Saints spoiled Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers debut with a 34-23 victory despite gaining just 271 yards in total offense.
This week, the Raiders make their first-ever start without the benefit of fans in their brand new stadium in Las Vegas as six-point underdogs to the Saints.
Both teams were outgained by their opponents in Week 1, but the Saints were helped by a Janoris Jenkins touchdown on an interception return of a Brady pass as well as two other turnovers while avoiding any of their own.
The Raiders were fine offensively in their opening victory, but they allowed almost 400 yards of total offense to the Panthers. NFL scores show that included 130 yards rushing for an average of 4.3 yards per carry.
Even though the scores of their first games averaged a total of 60.5 points, the over/under for Monday’s contest is only 49. So there must be some reason for the oddsmakers’ lower total. This is one for bettors looking for expert sports picks to try and figure out.
For Saints fans, Sunday’s win clearly masked some deficiencies on offense, including averaging just 2.4 yards per carry on the ground. They also had only 189 yards through the air on 19 completions on 31 attempts for an average of 6.4 yards per attempt. Brees only averaged 5.3 yards per attempt, so concerns over his age continue to persist.
Top handicappers know the Saints have always performed much better in their home at Mercedes-Benz Superdome than on the road, and for the first time, a visiting team has to deal with the distractions of Las Vegas.
Under third-year head coach Jon Gruden, the Raiders have gone 4-12 and 7-9 while looking ahead to their impending move to Nevada. Gruden has had multiple opportunities to pursue a replacement for Derek Carr, the seventh-year quarterback out of Fresno State, but has stayed with him.
Last week, Carr was 22-30 for 239 yards and had a 23-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor and no interceptions. He also engineered a nine-play, 75-yard drive that consumed over four minutes and culminated in the go-ahead score with 4:08 left in the game.
This week, Carr will face off against the NFL’s leader in virtually every passing category, but Brees is 41 years old and looked every bit of it in Week 1. With fans in attendance, the emotion at Allegiant Stadium would be sky-high, giving the Raiders a serious home-field advantage. However, it’s a television show in a brand new, empty stadium with the only real Raiders advantage being possible piped-in crowd noise.
These teams appear to be closer in talent and performance than the six-point spread at online sportsbooks indicates. The Raiders’ win over a Panthers team that seemed rejuvenated behind quarterback Terry Bridgewater might look a lot better at the end of the season than it did last week.
At some point, the Saints are going to have to recognize that the age of Brees will eventually need to be addressed, and it could cost them some games in the meantime. There is a good chance this will be one of those games.