Vegas Odds & NFL Predictions: Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders (September 10th, 2018)
Oakland Hosts LA Rams in Jon Gruden’s Return to Coaching
Emotions are bound to be high and mixed as Jon Gruden makes his return to coaching the Oakland Raiders. On the one hand this could very well be the last season for the Raiders in Oakland and if not it is the start of the second to last season.
And the team could not have gotten off to a more controversial start after dealing away their best player, Kahlil Mack, on the eve of the season.
Mack of course had sat out the entire preseason in hopes of securing a payday as the highest paid player in football. The Raiders refused to acquiesce and so instead they traded him to the Bears for two first round draft picks.
That might help the future team in Vegas, but it certainly hurts this bunch that already struggled on defense last year with Mack in the lineup.
The Raiders also released or traded two wide receivers in the preseason that they were originally counting on to support Derek Carr and Amari Cooper in the passing game. Martavis Bryant and Ryan Switzer are now gone. Jordy Nelson is still in and the rest of the wide receiver depth consists of Dwayne Harris, Seth Roberts and Keon Hatcher.
Gruden was hired in part to help resurrect Carr’s game after he struggled last season. Part of the strategy was to bring in seasoned veterans to reset the culture and the team got older in the process as Nelson, LB Derrick Johnson and RB Doug Martin were added.
The Los Angeles Rams are entering the season as a Super Bowl contender. The team already took a major leap forward in coach Sean McVay’s first season as coach, going from having the worst to the best offense in the league.
To ensure the team did not rest on its laurels, GM Les Snead added WR Brandin Cooks to the mix and let Sammy Watkins walk. Meanwhile the defense got some major veteran upgrades with the additions of CBs Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib along with DL Ndamukong Suh. One major loss is LB Alec Ogletree.
This is possibly the best team on paper in the league.
The LA Rams are -4.5 point favorites and the over/under is 47.5 points. I realize that the energy at the Oakland Coliseum will be electric, but it’s hard to see the Raiders keeping up with the Rams. The Pick: Rams 42-21.