Current Betting Spread – Saints -4. Total 48.5
We are back for another week on Monday Night Football. This time it’s the Las Vegas Raiders hosting the New Orleans Saints. The most interesting piece to this game is Michael Thomas missing in action. He’s arguably the most valuable non QB in the league and the markets are starting to show this today with the line now moving backwards to 4.
Our guy, Jason Paglia tagged the Raiders as value at +5.5 a few days back and now has clearly gotten the best of it. As I touch on this game, it’s worth noting that we are only one week through a COVID season for these two teams. Limited data points and truly limited edges to be had. Regardless, the 1.5 point edge Jason already got was tremendous from onset. This even looks like it may dip to 3.5.
The Saints will more than likely lean on star running back Alvin Kamara for a healthy workload tonight and may even run Latavious Murray more than usual as Kamara expects to see plenty more work as a receiver tonight. I think this actually will open up more opportunities for Latavius Murray tonight and his rushing props are ones I’m targeting. There is also a game script angle to this that if the Saints play from ahead he’ll see more work. I don’t look at last weeks 15 touches as an accident. Thomas got hurt and Kamara saw more route work to go along with his 12 carries. Murray ran well against a good defensive front in Tampa and I’d expect him in plenty more this week than his 33.8% snap share from week 1. His current prop is 8.5 rush attempts +106 and 33.5 rush yards -112 (both at DraftKngs). Both are good targets with the attempts being a better bet IMO. His yards prop is a few yards higher than last week, but I don’t think this prop is taking into consideration his extra assumed usage with Kamara being used heavier in the pass game. It is also worth noting that the Raiders are by no means a defensive juggernaut and handed the Panthers 30 points and nearly 400 yards of offense averaging 6.0 yards per play in week 1.
On the Raiders side, this offense looked real strong against the Panthers in week 1 averaging 6.1 yards per play and registering as 6th best week 1 with 0.557 points per play. This team behind Josh Jacobs certainly had the ball moving, but against Carolina how much can truly be taken from that game. I actually lowered my value on the Raiders slightly a bit with how bad their defense looked, but again one week so nothing major either way. Tonight, they play a Saints team who has been a semi-funnel defense over the years. A funnel defense in the NFL just indicates a team does one thing really well and the other not so much in relation to run/pass. This Saints bunch was 4th in the NFL against the run in 2019 and 10th vs the pass. Overall a real good defense, but over twice as good vs the run in terms of overall yards per game. They also looked real good vs the run last week. I think they keep Josh Jacobs relatively in check tonight and force Carr to beat them. This could result in Carr having more pass attempts/completions and overall yardage. I like these props over, but I don’t love them as I feel game script need to be there for this to go over. If this game stays real tight throughout, the Raiders may opt to go heavier run, but I think the best strategy is leveraging play action for downfield success. This Saints secondary is vulnerable and if they can threaten the run with play action, Carr should have nice windows to find his guys.
All en all here, this expects to be a good game tonight. How well can Drew Brees move this offense up and down the field without his best weapon and can the Raiders prove they’ve taken the next step in Gruden’s tenure. I have my favorite props listed below and as you know, Jason was on the Raiders +5.5 from a few days ago. Good luck tonight with all your bets folks.
Raiders +5.5 (Jason Paglia)
Latavius Murray OVER 8.5 rush attempts +106 (DraftKings)
Latavius Murray OVER 33.5 rush yards -112 (DraftKings)