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Raiders vs. Saints Odds and Analysis NFL Week 1

If former head coach Jon Gruden were to be caught betting on NFL, he would put his money on the Oakland Raiders, and not just because of his emotional attachment to the team. But the New Orleans Saints should not necessarily be sweating that. The football betting website odds for their game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on Sunday, September 11th are:

Raiders PK (-105) 51 (-110)
Saints PK (-115) 51 (-110)

Gruden has singled out QB Derek Carr, wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and tight end Clive Walford on offense, as well as center Rodney Hudson, guard Kelechi Osemele, tackle Donald Penn on the O-line. He also praised the running game, especially Latavius Murray. Carr went 350 of 573 (61.1%) for 3987 passing yards and 32 TDs in 2015; Cooper had 72 receptions for 1070 yards and 6 TDs in his rookie year; Crabtree caught the ball on 85 occasions for 923 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns last season; and Walford “is coming on” according to Gruden. Meanwhile, Murray rushed 1066 yards in 266 carries for 6 touchdowns, and had 41 receptions for 232 additional yards. On defense, Gruden said “Khalil Mack (is) one of the best closers in the fourth quarter.”

Certain outlets where fans betting on NFL come to for information do not have the same confidence on the Saints, though. One writer even concocted a half-baked, convoluted scenario in which trading backup QB Luke McCown to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for offensive linemen Ronald Leary would somehow save New Orleans’ 2016 season. Never you mind that for that trade to occur, one again according to this writer, Cowboys backup QB Dak Prescott would have to go the way of the Romo, and Kellen Moore or Jameill Showers be completely disregarded. Here are two words for this writer: Drew freakin’ Brees.

Sure, Brees may be 37 years old and have had shoulder issues and diminishing arm strength, but he’s still throwing – as recently as 2015 – for damn near 5000 yards and 30+ touchdowns, with only 11 interceptions. Furthermore, Brees is arguably the best at manipulating zone defenders with his eyes and subtle body language. He’s like a Svenjolly. He can’t beat safeties solely with his arm anymore, but he can fool them with pumps, shoulder flinches, and making them believe he’s having some sort of seizure. Brees may find a new favorite target in rookie wide receiver ‘Philip’ Michael Thomas, who will replace the released Marques Colton. Thomas had 56 receptions for 781 yards and 9 TDs with Ohio State in 2015. Additionally, Brandin Cooks had a breakthrough year last season with 84 catches and 1138 receiving yards, and seems on the track to becoming a star.

The Saints, however, are – like so many people betting on NFL – gambling at guard by starting offensive tackle Andrus Peat (ah, the peat!) on the right and Senio Kelemete or Tim Lelito on the left side. New Orleans has traditionally put its money on top-notch guards, and need to get back into that mindset now that Brees’s arm is beginning to lose strength.