If you like points, the Week 1 game between rising AFC power Oakland and host New Orleans, which is always one of the NFL’s top offensive teams with a healthy Drew Brees, is likely for you. The total of 51 on NFL odds is the highest on the board for the first Sunday of 2016.
Here’s a Look at the Oakland vs New Orleans Week 1 Expert Pick, Odds & TV Info
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) September 7, 2016
Oakland at New Orleans Historic Betting Trends
On Nov. 18, 2012 in Oakland, the Saints won 38-17. Brees threw for 219 yards and three touchdowns, two to Lance Moore.
Why Bet on Oakland?
The Raiders have the chance to be dynamic on offense. Last year, Derek Carr passed for career-highs in yards (3,987), TDs (32) & rating (91.1). He was the QB in franchise history with 3,500+ pass yards & 30+ pass TDs in season. Running back Latavius Murray rushed for career-best 1,066 yards & 6 TDs. Receiver Amari Cooper led all rookies in 2015 with 72 catches & 1,070 rec. yards, both franchise rookie records. And fellow WR Michael Crabtree led Oakland with 85 catches (922 yards) & 9 rec. TDs, both tied for his career high.
There was one minor surprise in Oakland’s first depth chart. First-round draft pick Karl Joseph had been starting at strong safety during the preseason. But with Joseph still rehabbing the torn ACL he suffered at West Virginia last fall, and with veteran Nate Allen’s stronger preseason — he had an interception in the exhibition opener at the Cardinals and returned it 27 yards while Joseph often appeared unsure of himself as a rookie — the Raiders listed Allen with the first-string defense. Allen, a second-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010, signed with Oakland as a free agent last year and was the Raiders starting strong safety to begin the 2015 season but suffered a knee injury in the opener.
Defensive tackle Dan Williams is now listed as the starter, paired with defensive tackle Justin Ellis in the middle of the defensive line. With Williams’ elevation, combined with Mario Edwards Jr.’s assignment to the reserve/injured list, rookie defensive lineman Jihad Ward is now listed as a starting defensive end in tandem with Khalil Mack.
Menelik Watson earns the nod at right tackle after battling it out with fellow tackle Austin Howard throughout training camp and the preseason. Howard is now listed as the second string right tackle.
Why Bet on New Orleans?
The Saints enter the 2016 regular season with the 16-year veteran Brees in command of the offense after passing for a league-leading 4,870 yards in 2015. Brees’ passing yards in 2015 marked the seventh time he has surpassed the 4,500-yard barrier in a season during his career. Also returning for the Saints’ pass attack is third-year man WR Brandin Cooks, who notched his first-career 1,000-yard season in 2015. Completing the Saints’ trio is RB Mark Ingram, coming off a 2015 campaign where he racked up 769 rushing yards, six touchdowns and average 4.6 yards per carry.
The Saints’ defensive coordinator is former Raiders head coach Dennis Allen. That New Orleans defense was terrible last year — Allen took over in November for a fired Rob Ryan so Allen enters his first full season in his current position. The defense finished 2015 ranked 31st in the league in rushing yards per game allowed (129.8), passing yards per game allowed (284.0) and total yards per game allowed (413.8). The Saints have placed defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (fibula) on injured reserve. The 12th overall pick in April’s draft, Rankins fractured his fibula in mid-August. The I.R. designation means Rankins is out until at least Week 9.
The Saints also have new kicker. They have moved onto their 11th kicker in 11 years under coach Sean Payton after signing undrafted rookie Wil Lutz on Tuesday. The plan is for Lutz to replace veteran Kai Forbath, who was released by the Saints. Lutz made 2 of 3 field goal attempts during the preseason with the Ravens (the miss coming from 53 yards).
My Expert Pick
I’m going over this total. Give me Oakland on NFL lines.