New Orleans (1-0) at Las Vegas Raiders (1-0)
Moneyline: Saints -225 (FanDuel), Raiders +195 (DraftKings)
Against the Spread: Saints -5.5 -110 (FanDuel), Raiders +5.5 -110 (BetMGM )
Over/Under: Over 48.5 -110 (BetMGM )
History will be made Monday night as Vegas and Allegiant Stadium will host their first NFL game. Derek Carr and his 1-0 Raiders welcome Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints to Sin City as they too will be looking to go 2-0 on the season. Brees and Carr finished first and second in completion percentage, respectively, last season, and both ranked inside the top five in 2018 as well.
It was all about the defense for the Saints in Week 1, though, as the team managed to hold off Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite only getting 17 yards from Michael Thomas. New Orleans will be without its star wide receiver this week as Thomas is sidelined with an ankle injury. Jared Cook and Alvin Kamara led the way for the Saints, combining for 15 targets, with a team-high five grabs apiece. Expect most of the offense to go through those two again with Thomas inactive. Emmanuel Sanders should get a boost in volume as well and he’s fresh off scoring a touchdown in his first game as a Saint.
Brees only completed 18 of his 30 passes last week; without Thomas, New Orleans could turn to the run game. Latavius Murray only had 48 rushing yards in Week 1 but ran the ball 15 times.
Only Derrick Henry ran the ball more than Josh Jacobs last week, with the second-year Raider turning his 25 carries into 97 yards. The back scored three touchdowns on the ground and added another 46 yards on four grabs. His catches are something to keep an eye on, as he only had 20 receptions last season.
There’s a chance the Raiders could be without rookie wideout Henry Ruggs. The rookie wideout returned to practice Saturday but is listed as questionable.
The Raiders put up 34 points in the win in Carolina, but it was against a weak defense. They weren’t all that impressive themselves on defense as they allowed 30 points and over 100 rushing yards on the ground. The Saints are just too strong on both sides of the ball and should have the advantage at the line of scrimmage, as the Raiders will likely be without starting right tackle Trent Brown and backup Sam Young. Left guard Richie Incognito and John Simpson are also questionable. That makes it tough for Jacobs against a defense that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 44 straight games.
Prediction: 28-17, U 48.5
Murray OVER 8.5 Rushing Attempts, +105 (DraftKings)
This number is far too low considering the Saints will be without their top wide receiver. I expect the Saints to run the ball more without Thomas and Murray is fresh off handling the rock 15 times in Week 1. If the Saints happen to go up big it’ll be Murray running the clock out and not Kamara.
Josh Jacobs OVER 17.5 Receiving Yards, -105 (BET MGM)
The Raiders said they wanted to get Jacobs more involved in the passing attack and it’s exactly what they did in Week 1 as the sophomore back hauled in four of his six targets for 46 yards. All three marks were career highs as were his three rushing touchdowns.
Jacobs topped 90 yards on the ground but his 3.7 yards per attempt was underwhelming and the offensive line has major injury concerns. It’s been 44 games since the Saints have allowed a 100-yard rusher, so expect Carr to get Jacobs just as involved through the air. Over 2.5 receptions is also a strong bet.