Los Angeles at Oakland: Free Monday Night Football Pick
Week 1 of the NFL regular season comes to a close in a late 10:20 p.m. start out on the West Coast in an inter-conference matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the Oakland Raiders on ESPN.
The Rams went from four straight-up wins in 2016 to an 11-5 record and NFC West Division title in Sean McVay’s first season as head coach. Los Angeles is now a very popular pick to go all the way to the Super Bowl this time around according to the NFL betting futures at BetAnySports. It is 5-2 against the spread in its last seven road games and the total has gone OVER in seven of its last eight games on the road.
One of the main reasons for such high expectations is Jared Goff at quarterback and Todd Gurley running the ball. In his first full season as the team’s starter, Goff threw for 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns while Gurley racked up 1,305 rushing yards and 13 more scores in his third year in the league. Los Angeles is also solid on the other side of the ball when it comes to points allowed.
The Raiders went from 12 SU wins in 2016 to a 6-10 record last year and it cost Jack Del Rio his job as head coach. Tapping a familiar source, Oakland turned to Jon Gruden in his second stint at the helm. The last time he coached the team, it won 22 games in two seasons, but that was back in 2000 and 2001. It will be interesting to see if he can recapture that magic in 2018.
With Derek Carr at quarterback and a host of talent in the receiving corps, Oakland will rely heavily on its passing game against the Rams. The recent loss of Khalil Mack on the other side of the ball will not help a defense that was ranked in the bottom third of the league in yards and points allowed in 2017.
The pressure is on the Rams in this game given the high expectations for this team, but I am betting that Gruden has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep this close enough for the Raiders to cover as home underdogs.