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Matchups Week 2: Raiders vs. Cardinals

Kyler Murray

Las Vegas Raiders (0-1) vs. Arizona Cardinals (0-1)

Spread: Raiders -3.5.

Game Total: 51.5.

Team Totals: (27.5), (24).

Weather: Dome. 

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Raiders -3.5.
  • This line has been all over the place recently moving all the way up to Raiders -6 at some books. Current consensus (Thursday afternoon) is Raiders -5.5.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Raiders -5.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Raiders -5.5.
  • This total opened at 51.5 points.
  • This total has largely settled at 51.5 points, though there have been some 52-point options available in recent days.

Notable Injuries

Raiders: CB Anthony Averett (IR), RB Brandon Bolden (Questionable), C Andre James (Questionable), LB Denzel Perryman (Questionable), S Tre’von Moehrig.

Cardinals: WR Rondale Moore (Questionable), TE Zach Ertz (Questionable), LG Justin Pugh (Questionable), Edge J.J. Watt (Questionable), S Jalen Thompson (Questionable).

The Raiders Offense vs. the Cardinals Defense

The weakness of the Raiders’ offense is their bottom-tier offensive line. Unfortunately for Arizona, their bottom-tier front doesn’t have an obvious path to exploiting that weakness, especially if J.J. Watt misses his second game to start the year.

The Raiders have one of the best collections of pass catchers in the NFL. Newly acquired wide receiver Davante Adams absolutely eviscerated the Chargers in his Raiders debut to the tune of 10-141-1 on 17 targets. Arizona’s bottom-tier cornerbacks group was dismantled by Patrick Mahomes Chiefs on opening day. They are in trouble again against the Raiders in Week 2.

Notes and Observations

  • The Raiders are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Raiders are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Derek Carr was 31st in play-action percentage on opening day.
  • Among quarterbacks with at least 800 snaps last season, Carr was second to last in play-action percentage. New Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels called plays for Mac Jones last season, who was tenth in play-action percentage.
  • Among opening day starters Carr was fourth in air yards per attempt. Last season he was sixth among quarterbacks with at least 800 snaps.
  • It’s only one game, but it appears that, from a macro sense, Josh McDaniels is tailoring his offense to what Carr likes to do. That isn’t all that surprising.
  • The Cardinals surrendered the seventh-most rushing yards and the tenth-most receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • Arizona allowed the 13th-most receiving yards on the 11th-most receptions to wide receivers last week.
  • Arizona gave up the most receiving yards and the most receptions to tight ends in Week 1.
  • Travis Kelce creamed the Cardinals’ secondary for an 8-121-1 line in the opener. Raiders dynamic tight end Darren Waller is on deck for Arizona. 

The Cardinals Offense vs. the Raiders Defense

The Raiders’ elite edge-rushing duo of Maxx Crosby and former Cardinal Chandler Jones presents a significant mismatch in the Raiders’ favor. That said, Kyler Murray is one of the most elusive quarterbacks in history. Murray’s ability to extend plays will help manage this otherwise significant advantage on the outside. It may also force Murray to tuck it and run more than he normally does.

Notes and Observations

  • The Cardinals are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Cardinals are 1-0 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Kyler Murray was 17th in air yards per attempt despite spending virtually all of opening day in a negative game script.
  • Murray was 14th in air yards per attempt last season among quarterbacks with at least 800 snaps.
  • The Raiders’ defense allowed the 17th-most rushing yards and the 11th-most receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • Las Vegas allowed the 20th-most receiving yards on the 19th-most receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • The Raiders allowed the fifth-most receiving yards on the fifth-most receptions to tight ends in Week 1.

This is What You’re Betting On in Raiders vs. Cardinals 

A bet on the Raiders starts as a bet on Derek Carr’s high-ceiling passing attack against Arizona’s bottom-tier cornerbacks group. That stance is backed up by the Raiders’ considerable edge rush advantage. Kyler Murray’s ability to extend plays will help mitigate that edge, but ultimately the Raiders have two game-breaking positional advantages in this contest. That’s the primary reason that the Raiders have gotten steamed and why they are now a more significant favorite than they were earlier in the week. Kyler Murray’s explosive ceiling is the biggest concern I’d have on any Raiders bet. This being the second game of the Josh McDaniels era is my second biggest concern.

A bet on the Cardinals is a bet on Kyler Murray carrying the Cardinals’ offense against a talented Raiders team. It’s also a bet on Arizona’s ability to mitigate the Raiders’ position group mismatches. I can see how the Cardinals’ offense can be effective in this contest despite their line play disadvantage on that side of the ball. I have a much tougher time seeing how the Cardinals’ secondary limits the Raiders’ dangerous passing attack.

Our Chris Farley was interested in the Raiders team total early this week. That stance makes a lot of sense as the Cardinals’ defense can’t truly exploit the Raiders’ weakness (offensive line play) while the Raiders’ offense can blow up the Cardinals’ weakness (cornerbacks). In general, both of these offenses have considerable ceilings, and they both underwhelmed on opening day. So, we’re also getting both of these offenses in potential bounce-back spots. The Raiders’ pass rush advantage is the only significant downside case I can make against any over-related plays unless you’re getting a bad number, which is something we will not advise you to do.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: After digging into this matchup, I expect to take the Raiders in standard winner pools. However, if you’re in a large winner pool with weekly payouts you have to get different from the field in some way, which means you have to take some underdogs to win in those situations. I’ll consider taking Kyler Murray’s Cardinals at least once in that type of winner pool. In confidence pools, I expect to have the Raiders towards the lower middle in my rankings.

Spread Pool: Tournament line setters seemed to anticipate the Raiders becoming a more significant favorite as the week progressed. I’ll most likely pass at current costs.

Survivor: Taking the Raiders here would be a pretty contrarian survivor pool option in a week with several two-score favorites. That’s not for me.

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