Arizona Cardinals (0-1) at Las Vegas Raiders (0-1)
Coming into the season, I thought the Cardinals were one of the most overrated teams in the league, but their week one blowout loss to the Chiefs seems to have soured the public’s opinion on them, as this line shifted from favoring the Raiders by just 2.5 points on the early line last week to now favoring them by 5.5 points this week, a significant shift given that close to 25% of games are decided by 3-5 points. That’s despite the fact that the Raiders lost last week in Los Angeles against the Chargers.
The Chargers are one of the better teams in the league and the Raiders won both the first down rate (4.87%) and yards per play (+0.25) battle, only losing by 5 because they lost the turnover battle by 3, which is not nearly as predictive week-to-week as first downs and yards per play, but we’ve lost almost all line value with the Raiders in this game since the early line last week, especially since the Raiders will be missing a trio of key players for the first time this season in this game, with talented safety Trevon Moehrig, top linebacker Denzel Perryman, and starting center Andre James all out with injuries. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are expected to get top interior defender JJ Watt back from injury. My calculated line is Las Vegas -6, so we’re still getting some line value going against the Cardinals, but not nearly enough to be at all confident in the banged up Raiders.
Las Vegas Raiders 33 Arizona Cardinals 27
Pick against the spread: Las Vegas -5.5