MNF: Week 2 Saints-Raiders Betting Preview
The Monday night game for Week 2 brings us the inaugural affair from brand new Allegiant Stadium in Sin City as the New Orleans Saints travel to take on the Las Vegas Raiders. Both teams are riding high off a Week 1 victory and will look to double down on their hot start on Monday night.
On the offensive side of the football, the Saints will be looking for Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith to step up at the wide receiver position as they will be without arguably the NFL’s best wide receiver in Michael Thomas (ankle) for the first time since his rookie season in 2016. I would also expect Sean Payton to have some gadget plays drawn up for Taysum Hill, who always seems to figure relevant in these prime time games.
The most interesting matchup in this game for me will be on the other side of the ball, where a run-heavy Raiders offense will be tested against a Saints defense that has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 44 consecutive games. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs will be looking to buck that trend and is coming off a three-score and 139 total yards in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers.
The Raiders air attack could also be a man down as rookie speedster Henry Ruggs projects to be a game-time decision with a knee injury suffered in Week 1. Ruggs practiced in a limited fashion on Saturday, so the Raiders will hope to have him out there for a passing unit that ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in 2019.
I am always one to look to jump on a home dog on Monday night in normal circumstances. With no fans in the stands, we should place slightly less weight on the value of the number for Las Vegas here. Early in the season, we want to continue to target those teams with continuity in their organization and on the field, and there are not many teams that have more of that than Drew Brees and the Saints.
Without Thomas at wideout, I expect Sean Payton to keep things simple for Brees and rely heavily on Alvin Kamara and the running game. On the flip side, there are lots of things to like about the up and coming Raiders team, but at this stage of the season, it will be a slow grind against Dennis Allen’s defense that comes in at full strength.
The Picks: Saints -5.5, Under 48.5