Nov 17, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders free safety Curtis Riley (35) during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders vs Panthers Pick

The Raiders are brand new in Las Vegas and the Panthers are brand new in Carolina, with franchise icons Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly gone. The future in Carolina may be bright, but I foresee a dull beginning for QB Teddy Bridgewater and rookie head coach Matt Rhule.

Kuechly was not the only notable defensive player to leave the Panthers this offseason, as stud cornerback James Bradberry departed and was not adequately replaced.  The strength of this Panthers defense will be their defensive line, but they have a tough matchup against an excellent Raiders offensive line. I expect Derek Carr to have a clean pocket, and time to connect with his wide receivers downfield.

Raiders vs Panthers Analysis

The Raiders rushed the ball for a respectable 108 yards per game in 2019.  Look for the Raiders to try and pound the rock as the Panthers allowed an abysmal 143.5 yards per game on the ground, and that was with their future Hall of Fame linebacker still in the middle.

Josh Jacobs is looking to improve upon an impressive rookie season in which he rushed for over 1,100 yards in 13 games.  I love his matchup this week for daily fantasy players.

Panthers over-matched up front?

If this were 2019, Christian McCaffrey’s mouth would be watering looking at his matchup vs the Raiders linebackers. However, the Raiders did an excellent job addressing this position of weakness in the offseason, signing Corey Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. McCaffrey will still have success as a runner, but I do not envision him having very much space as a pass catcher.

Under the best of circumstances, its difficult for rookie head coaches coming from college to succeed in Week 1. Throw in an abbreviated training camp and the fact that the Panthers offensive and defensive coordinators are also rookie coaches making the jump from NCAA, and its pretty difficult to forecast early success.

I’m backing the team with the better O-line and experienced coaching staff, while fading the young inexperienced coaching staff. This is a small number and tempting for the betting crowd who likes small home dogs. But Carolina has lacked any bite as an underdog lately, going 0-7 SU in their past seven games when getting points, according to Trend Dummy’s Week 1 NFL betting trend report.

This line opened at Raiders (-1.5) and has already been bet up to (-3). If you are with me and like the Raiders, I recommend locking in your bet now as there is a strong possibility this line is 3.5 or higher by kickoff.

The pick: Raiders (-3)

Staff Writer
Staff Writer