The New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders enter Sunday’s clash each with a pair of performances under their belts that show they are up to the task against strong competition.
With QB Derek Carr bouncing back from some off-season questions, the Raiders (2-0) have scored 34 points in each of their first two games.
New England, on the other hand, has a new QB in Cam Newton. Newton has played well, and it appears the Patriots will be contenders just like they were throughout the Tom Brady era.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
The Patriots fell two yards short of pulling off an upset as 4-point underdogs at Seattle last week. On the final play of the game, QB Cam Newton took the snap on the Seattle 1-yard line but was tackled for a 1-yard loss to give the homesteading Seahawks a 35-30 victory.
The Raiders scored early in the second half and never trailed after halftime en route to a 34-24 home win over the New Orleans Saints, who closed as 4-point favorites.
What’s the spread
As of Friday afternoon, the Patriots are 5.5-point favorites at DraftKings and FanDuel. Both web sites listed New England as 6.5-point favorites on Monday.
New England is a -240 favorite on the money line at FanDuel and at DraftKings. The buyback for the Raiders is +198 at FanDuel and +205 at DraftKings.
DraftKings opened the total at 46.5 points on Monday afternoon, but that has been bet up to 47 as of Friday afternoon. FanDuel opened the total at 47.5 points and that’s where it sat on Friday afternoon, though it did get bet up to 48.5 before coming back down.
The team-specific trends favor Las Vegas, but the head-to-head trends are conflicted. It should be noted that the teams have not met since 2017 and that they have only played one another every three years since 2002 for five total meetings.
The Patriots are 0-5-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last six games overall against a team with a winning record and 0-3-1 ATS in their last four home games against a team with a winning record. New England is also 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games as a home favorite.
On the other hand, the Raiders have covered in four consecutive games, and they are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win. Las Vegas is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games as an underdog.
The road team in this series has covered the spread in the last four meetings, but the Raiders are 1-4 ATS in the series’ last five games.
The Patriots’ defense got flattened last week in Seattle, and you can be sure head coach Bill Belichick has spent much of practice this week correcting everything that went wrong. New England’s defense is one of the elite units and it should get a boost in returning to its home field.
For that reason, it is worth a look at betting under on Raiders QB Derek Carr’s passing yardage total of 244.5 at DraftKings. Carr completed 73% of his passes for 239 yards against Carolina’s lackluster defense in week 1. Without Ruggs available as a speed option at wide receiver, the Raiders lack their best downfield threat.
Raiders rookie WR Henry Ruggs III (knee/hamstring) is out Sunday, as are starting RT Trent Brown (calf), OG Richie Incognito (Achilles-IR) and starting LB Nick Kwiatkoski (pectoral).
Las Vegas did get some good news on Friday when starting RB Josh Jacobs (hip) and TE Darren Waller (knee) returned to practice. They are listed as questionable on the injury report but are expected to play.
Patriots center David Andrews had surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand, and he will try to snap the ball with his other hand while he recovers. He is questionable for Sunday.
This is a tough spot for the Raiders. In week 1 they flew across the country to play the Carolina Panthers. In week 2 they had a big win in their home opener. This week they have to fly back across the country to face a Patriots team hungry to bounce back after suffering a narrow loss at Seattle.
The Raiders have been good, but have they still have a few steps to take before they reach the same level as the Patriots.
New England no longer employs Tom Brady, but Cam Newton has proven to be fit enough to lead the team to victories. Last week was not a win or a cover, but the fact that the Patriots’ offense was good enough to get within two yards of beating superstar Seattle QB Russell Wilson on his home field speaks volumes about that unit’s capability.
The Patriots will get back on track in a big way Sunday. We recommend a play on the Patriots -5.5 and anything up to -6.5.