Las Vegas Raiders NFL Betting Preview: Just Win, Baby?

Posted on: September 9, 2020, 10:12h. 

Last updated on: September 9, 2020, 02:22h.

Under the late owner Al Davis the Raiders were seen as a renegade franchise — one not afraid to push boundaries off the field or rules on the field. After moving from Oakland to Los Angeles and back to Oakland, they were a natural fit to relocate to Las Vegas, a city once seen as taboo by leaders in all professional sports.

Las Vegas Raiders Allegiant Stadium
The Las Vegas Raiders will play in Allegiant Stadium. It seats 65,000 fans but will have none this year because of COVID-19. (Image: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

The Las Vegas Raiders will make their debut on Sunday at Carolina before opening their shiny new Allegiant Stadium in Week 2, a Monday night game against New Orleans.

The Raiders’ “Just Win, Baby” mantra seems comical. They have made only one playoff appearance since reaching the Super Bowl in 2002, and aren’t expected to be major challengers this season.

They range from +4,000 at Westgate SuperBook to +8,000 at BetMGM to win this year’s Super Bowl.

Over/Under: 7.5 Wins

The Raiders used free agency to bolster their defense, and the draft to improve their offense, after posting a third consecutive losing season. In the AFC West, everybody is chasing Kansas City. Even without Philip Rivers, the Chargers are seen as the second-best team. Denver appears to be a team on the rise as well. Thus, the Raiders are +1,200 to win the AFC West just about everywhere, with William Hill (+1,000) an exception.

The Raiders have seen a bit of a Vegas bump, but nothing quite as strong as local teams in other states with sports betting legalized,” an analyst at William Hill told

It’s almost beyond belief that the Raiders have finished 20th or worse in points allowed for 13 consecutive seasons. They haven’t had a defense finish in even the top half of that critical stat since 2002. They tried tackling that issue by signing linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski in free agency and using a first-round pick on cornerback Damon Arnette.

Still, sportsbooks are in agreement, with an over/under win total of 7.5. The bet is -110 on the over and -115 on the under at BetMGM.

Driving the Carr

The big question revolving around the Raiders is whether quarterback Derek Carr is good enough. He was picked for three consecutive Pro Bowls in 2015, 2016, and 2017, but his 12-3 mark in 2016 is his one and only winning campaign in six seasons.

While quarterbacks win games and move the needle at sportsbooks, Carr “is mostly a non-factor from our perspective,” the William Hill analyst told

In Carr’s defense, the trade of Amari Cooper to Dallas in October 2018 left him without a premier weapon. Perhaps that’s been rectified. Las Vegas drafted receiver Henry Ruggs in the first round and receiver Bryan Edwards in the third round. With standout running back Josh Jacobs, superb tight end Darren Waller, and underrated slot receiver Hunter Renfrow, the Raiders might have a formidable group of skill players.

Carr’s MVP odds range from +6,000 at SuperBook and William Hill to +10,000 at DraftKings. Ruggs, one of the fastest players in the NFL, is +1,600 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at BetMGM.

Jon Gruden, who was pulled out of the “Monday Night Football” broadcast booth to coach the team he led to two playoff berths from 1998 through 2001, is 11-21 in two seasons in his second tour of duty. His Coach of the Year odds vary widely, from +2,800 at PointsBet to +6,000 at SuperBook.

Editor’s Note: This is the 28th of 32 NFL team previews and the last of four on the AFC West.