Can Derek Carr lead the Raiders to an 8-8 season or better? Photo by U.S. Air Force/Louis Briscese (Wikimedia).
- The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off a 7-9 season and face a win total of 7.5
- The Raiders bolstered their roster with all sorts of quality veterans and young prospects in the NFL Draft
- Derek Carr is likely to be the deciding factor as to whether the Raiders succeed or fail in 2020
There is some optimism surrounding the Las Vegas Raiders as they move into their new city and stadium. However, taking a look at the math with SBD’s NFL Win Prob numbers, which were created and crunched by Matt McEwan, it looks like ‘Under’ is the best bet. Is under 7.5 a good investment here?
Las Vegas Raiders Regular Season Win Total Odds
|Games||Odds at FanDuel Sportsbook|
Odds taken Aug. 5th
Raiders Regular Season Total Sits At 7.5; Lookahead Lines Suggest Under
The Raiders regular season win total is set at 7.5 with the juice on the under at -115. However, McEwan examined the Raiders lookahead spreads for all of their games this season, translated them to implied probabilities and summed them up, and the numbers suggest ‘Under’ is the right play.
Of course, keep in mind that a lot will change from week to week in the season but when handicapping these types of futures, you want to take into account any edge you can find. This number provides one perspective.
Raiders Had Productive Offseason
By most accounts, the Raiders had a pretty good offseason as they went through and plugged a number of key holes on the roster. They picked up linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkowski in free agency to bolster the middle of their defense, added some beef up front with tackle Maliek Collins and picked up Prince Amukamara and Jeff Heath in the secondary.
On offense, the Raiders signed Marcus Mariota, who could possibly take over under center if Derek Carr continues to be uneven, and the team added wideouts Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, and running back Lynn Bowden Jr. in the NFL Draft, which gives this unit a lot of speed.
The biggest takeaway for me is that the Raiders added a lot of depth to their roster. This was a team that was short on talent last season and we saw that as some injuries piled up. For example, the secondary was very thin last year after rookie safety Jonathan Abram was lost in Week 1. It got worse after they traded away corner Gareon Conley midseason.
Now take a look at their secondary: Abram is back, they have veterans like Amukamara, Lamarcus Joyner, Damarious Randall and Trayvon Mullen in the starting rotation, then they have rookies Damon Arnette (first round) and Amik Robertson (fourth round) in a backup role with Heath. We’re seeing more of this depth across the roster.
Offense Has to Be Explosive
The Raiders defense should be better but it’s really the offense that has to butter the bread here if this team is to hit the ‘Over’. There are some quality parts like an elite offensive line and a good running game, but now the passing game has to take off. Similar to the secondary, they’ve bolstered the arsenal, so there are no more excuses for Carr.
Even if Ruggs III and Edwards are slow to make their mark, Tyrell Williams is back with Darren Waller, who is a special tight end. Nelson Agholor, Jason Witten and Zay Jones add solid veterans into the mix, and Hunter Renfrow is entering his second season. If all goes well, this unit could be among the league’s best. However, Carr can’t hold them back.
Carr is often hesitant to go down the field and he’s now 29 years old, so it’s hard to expect him to take another leap forward. The numbers look good in some regards – he completed 70.4% of his passes last season and had a QB rating of 100.8 – but the offense was easy to defend because he didn’t throw downfield a lot (14th in passes of 20+ yards).
Is it possible that he didn’t have the weapons? Maybe. We’ll find out early enough this year. But Carr’s struggles hurt the morale of this team. If he doesn’t improve early in the season, he’s going to be on the bench by Week 8 and Mariota will get a shot.
2020 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker
What’s the Best Bet?
To me, the Raiders are a team that will get better this season on the field but not necessarily in terms of wins and losses. This is still a young roster that’s growing. Eight wins seems steep for a team that registered only seven wins last season with all of them coming by one score or less. That’s a lot of close wins.
In a tough division where I think the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers have also improved, I see the Raiders finishing with no more than seven wins this year – even if they show well in terms of development and competitiveness. Go with the ‘Under’.
For over 15 years, Dave has been working in mainstream media and sports betting. He hosted a station on Sirius Satellite Radio for four years, and is currently a senior writer for AskMen. He’s interviewed hundreds of hundreds of high-profile sports stars like Shaquille O’Neal and Floyd Mayweather.