It’s a rare occurrence when the Raiders and Cardinals square off, but it’s always special given the geography of these nearby rivals. It has made it even better in recent years that both squads have gotten much better, and this season both will surely be gunning for trips to the post-season.
The Raiders enjoyed a stellar 2016 campaign, before losing Derek Carr weeks before the playoffs and they bowed out early. Carr is healthy again and the Raiders look primed to do some damage this season. They coaxed ‘Beast Mode’ Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and it will be interesting to see how he fares in his first game action in a while. Beyond Carr under centre, Oakland is blessed to have a couple of capable throwers with some solid experience in Connor Cook & E.J. Manuel. The duo have a real battle going on right now for that backup position, and Saturday night should provide further insight on who has the leg up.
For the Cardinals this is actually their second pre-season game already of 2017. Last week they took on the Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio – losing narrowly. Very few starters featured in that contest for Arizona, and now as they return home expect a few more to play on Saturday night against the Raiders. It’s worth noting that Dallas & Arizona will both play five pre-season games, while all the other NFL squads just play four. Bruce Arians will surely need to spread around playing time to not wear down his veteran group.
It’s the Raiders and Cardinals on a Saturday night from the desert! Read on below for full game analysis and an official betting selection to line your pockets for the weekend. Who says money can’t be made in the pre-season?
Raiders vs. Cardinals Betting Odds:
Oakland Raiders +3 (-115)
@ Arizona Cardinals -3 (-105)
Over 40 (-110)
Under 40 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Raiders vs. Cardinals Pick:
Both teams enter 2017 with question marks swirling. The Raiders and Cardinals certainly have high hopes for the coming season, but with lots of new faces and injury concerns, many fans and pundits alike are wondering if these Super Bowl aspirations are just pipe dreams?
Regardless, we won’t be able to tell from a single pre-season game, but it will be intriguing to see how Carson Palmer looks, and if Lynch does get some carries – how will the bruising back run after a long layoff and now behind a new offensive line.
Sometimes in the pre-season, finding out coaching gameplans can be the biggest factor in capping. Luckily for us, it seems pretty clear for this Saturday night contest. Oakland will be resting most, if not all of their elite players and starters. Arizona, at home, and with a game already under their belts, will finally be releasing the shackles from their top flight players and looking to establish some sort of rhythm with their first-teamers. Arians came out and said Wednesday afternoon that QB Carson Palmer and his starters will go for about 15 plays or the first quarter. Following Palmer will be established backups Drew Stanton, and Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert looked excellent for what that’s worth last week against Dallas. And yes, I am certain that is the first time Blaine Gabbert has been mentioned with the worth ‘excellent’ in a sentence. Fourth-stringer Trevor Knight won’t be playing.
For the Raiders, without Carr suiting up – a lot of the burden will fall between backups Connor Cook and E.J. Manuel as they fight to establish their roles. Both have experience, but when compared to the depth the Cards will offer on Saturday night, the Raiders just don’t match up here.
After perusing the depth charts and looking at the playing time plans both coaches have established, the clear edge here goes to the hometown Arizona Cardinals. The starters are getting a quarter, which is a lot more than most other NFL teams at this point in training camp, and plus they’ve already been in game action from last week. Look for the Cardinals’ trio of experienced quarterbacks to establish a rhythm and put some points on the board on Saturday evening. At just a field goal spread, Arizona seems like the value play in Week 1.
PICK = Cardinals -3 (-105)