IT'S HERE, IT'S FINALLY HERE! The first NFL weekend, baby!
Football not only has a special place in most of our hearts as fans, but it also has a whole day of the week dedicated to it. In the midst of tracking your fantasy player's stats, sweating it out while watching your favorite team make that fourth quarter comeback, or praying that your parlays hit, let's not forget we still have Monday Night Football to look forward to as well. That's where I am going to come into play this year, I want to help you guys continue to ride your winning streak into the week and give you something to be excited for to start your week!
And. Here. We. Go.
Monday Night Football Week 1, with odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook:
Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders
Line: Baltimore (-4)
Before we even even address what's going to happen in between the lines on Monday night, let's talk about the Ravens string of bad luck these past two weeks. Former Ohio State star running back J.K. Dobbins (who many predicted was poised for a breakout year) tore his ACL. The rest of the running back room also caught the injury bug as the change of pace back, Gus Edwards, also tore his ACL and third stringer Justice Hill tore his Achilles tendon. It didn't stop there, star cornerback Marcus Peters tore his ACL just a couple plays after Edwards did in the same practice. (Now, let's all knock on wood three times to get that bad juju off our backs).
Considering the injuries and how recently they were, I think Baltimore may look a little sloppy in the beginning of this game. It will be Lamar Jackson with a bunch of practice squad running backs. Baltimore still has Mark Andrews, Hollywood Brown and Sammy Watkins as solid receiving threats (rookie first round pick Rashod Bateman is on the IR), but every team in the NFL dares the Ravens to beat them by throwing the ball. On the flip side, The Raiders have actually improved their running back room by pairing Josh Jacobs with Kenyan Drake, and they still have Darren Waller, arguably the most dynamic tight end in the league not named Travis Kelce. Playmakers make the world of difference... assuming you didn't blow up your entire offensive line like Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock did this offseason. They have four new starters on their offensive line. They are certainly going to miss having pro bowl Center Rodney Hudson and LT Trent Brown not going to battle for them in the trenches. The aggressive Ravens are going to be able to rush the quarterback early and often. Watch out for new edge rusher and just a man amongst men Justin Houston to pressure Carr on big situational passing downs.
I don't want to touch the spread here because of the all of the Ravens' injuries. You can argue they still have a more talented overall roster even without those guys on IR, but I just cannot convince myself to bet on the Ravens -4 in Las Vegas. If you wanted to bet the spread, I recommend Raiders +4, but I'm going to stay away.
The pick I am going to go with is under 50.5 total points scored in the game. I see this game having a slow start to it, and I think the Ravens could have long possessions to try and shorten the game. Unders are not a flashy pick, and I honestly believe no one enjoys rooting for less points to be scored, but hey, let's make some money people.
Official pick: UNDER 50.5
Follow Jason on Twitter @JayOppler23
Make sure to subscribe to Aaron Torres Online's NFL betting show - Pickin Pigskin Winners, where John Frascella and Wes Easley preview the week ahead every Wednesday.
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