Raiders vs. Cardinals Prediction
Will the Raiders and the Cardinals have enough firepower tonight to post enough points to go over the total?
Oddsmakers at sports book Bovada.lv list the Cardinals as a 3-point favorite Saturday night as they host the Raiders, while the over-under is set at 40. The spread has remained with Arizona as a 3-point fave since it opened, while the over-under has risen slightly from 39.5.
OAKLAND RAIDERS: It was an unfortunate set of circumstances last year when the Raiders qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2002, but in doing so lost standout quarterback Derek Carr to a broken leg that kept him out for the 27-14 playoff loss at the Texans. Carr is healthy again, but head coach Jack Del Rio was uncertain earlier this week if he would play versus the Cardinals. If he does, it will probably only be for a series or two. Former first round draft pick EJ Manuel is the backup, while second-year pro Connor Cook is the third-stringer. Cook received valuable experience last year in the playoff loss, although it was clear he was not ready for the spotlight. This will be a more comfortable setting for Cook to lead the Raiders offense when called upon. Running back Marshawn Lynch, fresh out of a one-year retirement, probably won’t see much if any action. But the Raiders have a couple intriguing running backs behind him with experience in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
ARIZONA CARDINALS: The Cardinals seemingly continue to draft defensive pieces that will help immediately, continuing this year with first round pick Haason Redick and second round selection Budda Baker. Expect both players to see action in this game, joining a crowded Arizona defense full of playmakers at almost every position. Depth in its defense will show here, slowing down a Raiders offense that will play primarily backups and players on the outside looking in when roster cutdowns happen. As for the Cardinals offense, reports say that quarterback Carson Palmer has thrown in only one practice leading into this game. In last week’s 20-18 Hall of Fame Game loss to the Cowboys, Palmer did not play and backup Blaine Gabbert completed 11-of-14 passes for 185 yards. Third-stringer Trevor Knight had less success, going only 5-of-14 through the air for 68 yards. Neither quarterback threw a touchdown or an interception. Four different running backs drew carries, with both Andre Ellington and Kerwynn Williams scoring TDs. Twelve different receivers caught passes, which might be similar to how the ball is distributed this week.
OUR PREDICTION: Most preseason games have totals in the upper 30s, but this game is set at 40. It seems a bit high and if Carr and/or Palmer don’t play, that leaves the trust once again in the hands of backups. The Cardinals have a better overall defense, but if the Raiders only have to prepare for Gabbert and Knight it levels the playing field. Don’t overthink this and instead play the safe bet of this game failing to reach the total.
SATURDAY NFL PRESEASON PREDICTION: UNDER 40