The highest profile game of the week is always saved for Monday night (USA time of course, AEST this is 10:20AM Tuesday morning) and to start the year off its the Baltimore Ravens v Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders are coming off a season where they finished exactly .500 (8 wins, 8 losses) but that was actually a bit better than what was expected of them with their roster, the Ravens are coming off their first playoff win with Lamar at QB, but were quickly pushed aside in the second round against a Bills team many are predicting to reach the AFC title game again. Last year these teams offensively were very similar in output & efficiency, however on defence they were chalk and cheese with the Ravens ranking 2nd in defence, compared to the paltry 29th of the Raiders.
Coming into this season, the Ravens are essentially unchanged and exposed to what we know they are, but in pre season they suffered two season ending injuries to their starting running backs. That is an enormous blow to a team that has a Quarterback who is very questionable throwing the ball. The Raiders however are going to improve again on the back of their young and improving list, and through the draft they focused all around protection on both ends of the ball using their first pick on a O linesman, and the next three on defenders. For that reason, early in the season before the toll on younger bodies mounts, they should do enough to cover the number of +4.5.
Back the Las Vegas Raiders +4.5 at $1.90 for 1.5 units