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Los Angeles Rams vs. Oakland Raiders Point Spread - Pick

Los Angeles Rams (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
Week 1 NFL
Date/Time: Monday Night Football at 10:20PM EST
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Betting Odds: LAR -4/OAK +4
Over/Under Total: 49.5

The Los Angeles Rams take on the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football in week one action, as each team kicks off their 2018 regular season. Newness springs optimism, as both teams open the 2018 season with hope. For the Raiders, they are hoping the return of long-lost head coach John Gruden can reverse the negative inertia they established after a letdown 2017 season that followed a 12-win campaign in '16. The Rams, mired in mediocrity for years, finally came out of their shell, forging an 11-5 mark in winning the NFC West and having the top offense in the league—a major surprise. They added a ton of huge components to the mix and look to have a "win-now" attitude. Who can get off to a fast start with this week one matchup?

On one hand, the Raiders are scheduled to leave in two seasons and you have to wonder if the Oakland faithful will be fully into it, as they prepare to leave for the second time. But with Gruden returning and the love for the Raiders hard to shake, one should expect a passionate crowd at the Coliseum on MNF. The Rams are the more-fancied team this season, but this is a tricky spot for them. It's not a long road-trip, but it's an out-of-conference matchup against a team that should be pumped up.

Still, one has to admire the Rams and what they did last season. It hadn't been clicking for a number of years. Jared Goff looked to have the look of a bust and nothing was really working, other than a pretty good defense. For Sean McVay to come in there, immediately get Goff on the right track, and transform the Rams into a potent offense was amazing in many ways. The aerial attack took off, Gurley got off, and before long, the Rams were cruising.

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In the offseason, the Rams added a ton of big pieces. Brandin Cooks joins a growing aerial attack that features good receivers like overlooked Robert Woods, rising Cooper Kupp, and others. On defense, they re-signed monstrous DT Luke Donald, who along with newly-acquired Ndamukong Suh should provide a very formidable front. The secondary gets a boost with big-name corners Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. This is already a division-winning team and all those pieces could really put them over the moon.

For the Raiders, the excitement over their roster isn't as robust. At the end of the day, most of the enthusiasm is based on a guy who will never get on the field. Maybe Gruden can get the Raiders to look like the 2016 bunch and not the ragtag 2017 crew that couldn't do much right. You can't rule out that Gruden might get the most out of this roster and make some unforeseen things happen.

It's just that on the surface, bringing a coach back who has been out of the game for a decade wouldn't seem to be a cure-all that would resonate into a team-turnaround. At the end of the day, you need the horses. The Raiders have been prone to these types of moves the last few seasons, first in getting hometown guy Marshawn Lynch and then in luring Gruden back to the fold. They are moves that might resonate more in terms of star-power than actual merit. Offseason moves have left the receiving crew starring Calvin Ridley and not much else. Over the last few seasons, we would think if only Khalil Mack had some pieces around him on defense… And now, Mack is gone too.

But before we carry on about how great the Rams are going to be, let's remember that a lot of teams using that glory-thirsty approach see things fall flatter than what onlookers would suspect. Sometimes you can't just throw a lot of good-looking ingredients together and hope the end-result will taste good. With Talib, Suh, and Peters, there seems to be some attitude-guys in the mix. And why is a seemingly excellent 24-year old receiver like Cooks already on his third team? In other words, it's unclear if all these moves will resonate as well as some think.

It's a nice pairing of coaches for this game. You have the old veteran Gruden returning to face a coach who was still a kid when he left. Both teams are open a bit for interpretation heading into the season. Sure, the Rams are on the rise, with their true ceiling in light of all the offseason moves really unknown. And the Gruden factor is something that is hard to quantify heading into a new season. Both teams are easy to overrate, as people are just assuming the changes will automatically manifest in a positive way. And that could be the case. But maybe a little caution should be exercised. I do anticipate a bumping Coliseum this week in this MNF spot. Derek Carr will be better this season, as well. I see the Raiders doing enough in week one to keep this respectable. I'm going with the Silver and Black. I'll take the home dog.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Oakland Raiders plus 4 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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