• Raiders Odds to Win Super Bowl 2021: +6,000
• Raiders Win Total: Over 7.5 (-105), Under 7.5 (-115)
• Raiders Odds to Win Division: +1,200
• Raiders Odds to Win Conference: +3,000
New Town, New Look, New Fortunes for the Raiders?
Are you still having trouble mentally digesting the thought of the Raiders in Las Vegas? Yeah, so are we. We’re also having trouble rationalizing how this move is going to make much of an impact on the team’s immediate prospects of success.
We’re not going to discuss how or why the shift to Vegas might affect the Raiders’ fortunes. However, roster moves, and quite of few of them, will play a huge role in this team’s future fortunes, regardless of where they call home.
Las Vegas had five picks combined in the first and third rounds. They also stayed busy in the free agent market. Vegas might have turned more weaknesses around than any other team in the NFL. Let’s look at the new-look, new-town Las Vegas Raiders prospects heading into 2020.
Las Vegas Raiders Odds to Win Super Bowl LV
Las Vegas falls far down the board of teams with any realistic expectation of winning next February’s Super Bowl. The Raiders match fellow AFC West rival Denver at +6,000. Here are four preseason projections for Las Vegas ahead of next season.
We’re not going to try to make a case for Jon Gruden to win his second NFL Title as a coach, at least not in 2021. However, there are some very interesting angles on how improved Las Vegas may be when they open in their new home.
While the odds are cut in half to win the AFC Title, at +3,000 they still make the Silver & Black an obvious long shot. Even the thought of dethroning the Kansas City Chiefs as division champ seems like a serious stretch of the imagination. But, what about looking at the odds of sneaking in the playoffs?
Even the idea of betting the Raiders are a surprise in the win/loss department isn’t beyond realistic. Let’s analyze a couple of odds where the Raiders might produce a dark horse scenario and why.
Raiders Odds Analysis
Okay, unless you really want to take a shot at a long shot, thinking +3,000 and +6,000 to win the AFC Championship and progress on to win the Super Bowl are big winners, you might want to look at some other odds.
Same situation might apply to the Raiders’ chances of winning the west. They fall at +1,200, just a notch below the Broncos. Remember, they’d have to beat out the defending Super Bowl champs to pay out on that wager.
But, what about the +250 number that the Raiders make the AFC playoffs? For 30 straight years, no less than four new teams have earned a playoff spot in the NFL. The Raiders would qualify for that category.
Now, comparing last season’s winning percentage to grade schedule strength is a mild stretch. However, no matter how you pinpoint schedule difficulty, the Raiders have one of the top-10 easiest slates heading into the new year.
One of those teams is AFC West rival the Chargers. Two others are projected AFC doormats, Cincinnati and Jacksonville. That puts only the Steelers and Browns as having potentially weaker paths to a playoff spot.
We’re figuring the best odds for Las Vegas making the playoffs to be of the wildcard variety as well. Vegas as a wildcard is a winner at +250. Not the darkest horse in the race.
To make that a viable bet is going to take at least eight victories. Raiders hit an over/under for win total at 7.5. At -110 to win eight games, the +250 to earn an AFC playoff spot with at least eight victories might prove an insightful combination. Let’s look at the people on the Vegas roster who might turn these into winner’s odds.
Las Vegas Offseason and Draft
The Raiders added speed, depth and skill at the wide receiver position. When we say added speed, we somewhat under emphasis how much speed. Las Vegas reeled in the fastest player in the 2020 draft class.
Henry Ruggs III is the fastest player to start his pro football career with the Raider franchise. He’s that fast. While the Raiders improved their pass coverage with their second, first-round pick, they went back to the pass catcher well two more times in the third-round.
Hunter Renfrow’s 49 receptions were the best WR numbers last year. Expect Renfrow to be challenged for targets. In fact, after Darren Waller’s 90 grabs from the tight end spot, two of the next four best options for Derek Carr were running backs.
In their final year in Oakland, the Raiders had the 9th best passing offense and 13th best rushing offense. One would think the problem to focus on would be the defense. With first-round pick Damon Arnette from Ohio State, they bolstered the secondary.
With a third, third-round pick, Las Vegas added another piece to what was a woefully lax secondary. Tanner Muse will provide instant depth, and may challenge for a starting spot. A third defensive back was added in the fourth-round as well.
Raiders Strengths and Weaknesses
There will be a learning curve to overcome in the secondary, but Las Vegas added talent. They have tremendous depth now at wide receiver as well. Gruden has his coveted speed man in Ruggs, plus the Raiders added free agent cornerback Prince Amukamara.
Weaknesses in the secondary and at wide receiver are now strengths. One big question in Las Vegas may be how the deal with, or deal away Derek Carr. That might pose a conflict heading into camp with Marcus Mariota now on roster.
One has to think the self-proclaimed QB guru Gruden must have something up his sleeve with the former second overall draft pick. At what point might Las Vegas end the Derek Carr era and move forward in a new direction?
This would have to give the Raiders at least some flexibility at quarterback, a rare strength in the NFL. A lot of people want to point fingers at the Raiders’ defense as a weakness. Not so fast. Vegas tied for the fourth best defense in yards per rush.
However, they tied for last place in net yards per pass attempt. One would have to hope that the additions to the secondary are going to improve that ranking dramatically. The Raiders were also exploited in the red zone on pass defense as well.
We’d have to figure the oddsmakers are bending the odds with some thought this is still a blatant weakness. Las Vegas also added linebacker Cory Littleton, a player who could help turn a weakness into a strength.
Las Vegas Raiders Prediction
We’re getting a strange vibration out of Vegas, and not the backbeat from an Elvis impersonator convention. It’s the idea the Raiders could turn some heads in 2020. No one is saying that Las Vegas will trump the odds and win the Super Bowl at +3,000 to 1.
However, Jon Gruden has made some interesting changes to this team. There are four winnable games inside their own division, plus they have the ninth easiest schedule overall. This will be Gruden’s third season at the Raider’s helm, for what it’s worth.
Many feel they overachieved to get seven wins last season, but there is another camp that senses Gruden’s winning attitude may be wearing off in the locker room. If that is the case, despite turning back the clock to a youth movement, the new digs in Las Vegas could create enough enthusiasm to make this a very tricky team.
Las Vegas is holding their cards close to their chest about the quarterback surplus they may have. They could build for the future by trading Carr, or ride the season with him to see what happens.
Whatever they do, we think a 7.5 win total is a very appealing sleeper bet. If they surpass that total, no one will be surprised if Las Vegas makes a playoff appearance in their first season in their new home.
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