Updated May 23, 2022 - 11:47 am
In two seasons together at Fresno State, Derek Carr and Davante Adams comprised the most explosive quarterback-wide receiver combo in college football.
Over a two-year span in 2012 and 2013, Carr led the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing yards (9,187) and passing touchdowns (87), and Adams led the FBS in receptions (233), receiving yards (3,031) and touchdown catches (38).
Reunited on the Raiders, there are great expectations for them to replicate their success. Professional sports bettor Jeff Whitelaw expects the two to excel and help the Raiders surpass their season win total of 8½ after finishing 10-7 last season.
“Coupling Adams, who is arguably the best receiver in football, with Carr, the Raiders will definitely be improved, as will the rest of the division,” he said. “What they did at Fresno was incredible. They already have chemistry, a bond and friendship.
“The Raiders have a terrific offense. If they can stay healthy, I really think they’re solid.”
Whitelaw also praised the addition of Chandler Jones, a perfect complement to fellow Pro Bowl pass rusher Maxx Crosby, and expects first-year coach Josh McDaniels to succeed in Las Vegas.
“He didn’t do well in his first stint in Denver, but he’s older and has got a little bit more experience. This time, it’ll be a better fit for him,” Whitelaw said. “He’s got more weapons to utilize his offensive genius.”
Westgate SuperBook NFL oddsmaker Ed Salmons bet three win totals, and he and Whitelaw have one common pick: New Orleans over.
Saints over 8
Salmons played the Saints over 7½, and Whitelaw bet them over 8 after they went 9-8 last season.
Salmons said New Orleans is underrated after coach Sean Payton left and the team dealt with key injuries last season to quarterback Jameis Winston and wideout Michael Thomas.
“They just signed Jarvis Landry and drafted (Ohio State’s Chris) Olave. They really went after their needs in the draft,” Salmons said. “Their whole offense last year was just (running back Alvin) Kamara. This year, they have a chance to be a modern type offense.
“Their defense has always been good, and the division is pretty bad with two awful teams in Carolina and Atlanta. The Saints will still be a decent team.”
Whitelaw also noted that NFC teams have an extra home game this season, nine to the AFC’s eight.
“New Orleans is a strong home team,” he said. “That will definitely come into play.”
Eagles over 9
Salmons played Philadelphia over 8½, and the number is up to 9. The Eagles, who went 9-8 last season, have the NFL’s easiest schedule based on their opponents’ win totals.
“The Eagles go from one of the harder schedules to the easiest. I’m kind of big on that. I believe that’s a good indicator,” he said. “The schedule’s easier, and the team seemingly has improved, getting (wideout) A.J. Brown and (defensive tackle) Jordan Davis from Georgia.”
Salmons also expects third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts and second-year coach Nick Sirianni to improve and NFC East rival Dallas to regress.
“I don’t think there’s a big separation between Philadelphia and Dallas,” he said.
Bengals under 9½
Salmons expects Cincinnati to suffer from a Super Bowl hangover after losing the NFL title game to the Rams.
“The team that loses in the Super Bowl always seems to struggle the next year,” he said. “That fits Cincinnati this year. Their schedule’s difficult, and the division is tough. I think Cincinnati will regress.”
Cowboys under 10½
Bears under 6½
Whitelaw played unders on Dallas and Chicago.
“The Bears under is one of my favorite plays,” he said. “I think the Bears will be one of the worst teams in the NFL.”
Whitelaw also expects the Cowboys to regress after losing four key players from last season’s 12-5 team in Amari Cooper, Cedrick Wilson, Randy Gregory and Connor Williams.
“All three teams in that division have improved slightly, and Dallas has gotten slightly worse,” he said.
Whitelaw also made five other bets: Patriots over 8½, Vikings over 8½, Cardinals over 9, Colts over 9½ and 49ers over 10.
Indianapolis has the third-easiest schedule.
“I like them over a lot,” Whitelaw said. “Now that they’ve got Matt Ryan, they’ve got an elite quarterback to go along with everything else that’s good with their defense, running game and offensive line.”
NFL win totals
At Westgate SuperBook
Team — total (over/under)
Bills — 11½ (-130/+110)
Buccaneers — 11½ (Even/-120)
Chiefs — 11 (+120/-140)
Packers — 11 (-110/-110)
Rams — 10½ (-110/-110)
Cowboys — 10½ (+110/-130)
49ers — 10 (-140/+120)
Colts — 10 (-110/-110)
Ravens — 10 (-110/-110)
Broncos — 10 (-110/-110)
Chargers — 10 (-110/-110)
Bengals — 9½ (-110/-110)
Browns — 9½ (-140/+120)
Titans — 9½ (Even/-120)
Eagles — 9 (-140/+120)
Dolphins — 9 (+110/-130)
Cardinals — 9 (Even/-120)
Vikings — 9 (-120/Even)
Raiders — 8½ (-110/-110)
Patriots — 8½ (-130/+110)
Saints — 8½ (Even/-120)
Steelers — 7½ (+110/-130)
Commanders — 7½ (-140/+120)
Giants — 7 (+110/-130)
Jaguars — 6½ (+110/-130)
Bears — 6½ (-120/Even)
Seahawks — 6 (Even/-120)
Jets — 6 (-110/-110)
Panthers — 6 (Even/-120)
Lions — 6 (-130/+110)
Falcons — 5 (Even/-120)
Texans — 4½ (-110/-110)