Free NFL Picks: Raiders Getting Ready to Chop Arizona In Preseason Debut

Jason Lake

Thursday, August 11, 2016 6:41 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 6:41 PM UTC

Jack Del Rio is passionate about football. His Oakland Raiders should be a decent NFL pick this Friday against Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals – but it won't be easy.

Maybe this will be the year the Arizona Cardinals finally win the Super Bowl. They're second-tier contenders at +1200 on the NFL odds list at Bovada, but Football Outsiders gives Arizona a 69.3-percent chance of making the playoffs – second only to the Seattle Seahawks at 72.2 percent. As always, staying healthy will be key for the Cardinals.

The Oakland Raiders (+2500) would probably be content to post their first winning season since 2002. But they improved considerably last year under new head coach Jack Del Rio, and they go into Friday's preseason debut against Arizona (10:00 p.m. ET, NFLN) as 3-point road dogs. Should be a competitive matchup. There's also a 37-point total up on the board.

Be Careful With That Axe, Eugene
First on our checklist: the preseason records for the two head coaches in question.

Bruce Arians, Cardinals: 7-4-1 ATS, 6-6 OVER
Jack Del Rio, Raiders: 21-17-2 ATS, 22-18 OVER

Interesting. Arians was the starting quarterback at Virginia Tech back in the early 70s; Del Rio was an All-American linebacker at USC before spending 11 years in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl in 1994. Yet it's Del Rio who has the positive OVER record in preseason play. That might have to do with his “Keep Choppin' Wood” philosophy. Del Rio likes to win these games, and he plans on using his starters during the first quarter of Friday's game, maybe even longer.

Arians has plenty of that old-school mentality, too, but he won't be unloading the clip in Week 1 of the preseason. There are a number of injured starters in the Cards lineup, mostly on defense, and WR John Brown has already been ruled out with a concussion. However, Arians has complained about the effort some of his younger players have put forth in camp, and says he might not let them play against Oakland unless they shape up.

Beyond the Matts
Moving right along, here are the QB depth charts for Arizona and Oakland, as per Rotoworld:

Cardinals: Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Matt Barkley, Jake Coker
Raiders: Derek Carr, Matt McGloin, Connor Cook

Arians told reporters on Monday that Palmer will start Friday's game, but Barkley will be doing most of the work, with Coker playing the fourth quarter and Stanton playing “a little bit.” Barkley hasn't always put up good preseason numbers, though. Coker is an interesting pick-up, going undrafted this year after leading the Alabama Crimson Tide to the National Championship.

McGloin (110.6 passer rating last year), on the other hand, has been strong in exhibition play since joining the Raiders in 2013. Cook was a fourth-round pick this year out of Michigan State, and has looked pretty good in training camp so far. This is one of the tougher NFL picks we'll have to make in the preseason, but we're going with the Raiders this time, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

Free NFL Pick: Raiders +3
Best Line Offered: at William Hill

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