NFL’s Raiders Making Las Vegas Debut Versus New Orleans Saints

Posted on: September 21, 2020, 01:02h. 

Last updated on: September 21, 2020, 02:54h.

The Las Vegas Raiders will open their glitzy Allegiant Stadium on Monday in a primetime showcase against the New Orleans Saints. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the $1.84 billion stadium that seats 65,000 fans will be empty. Moreover, the anticipated flood of visiting fans will likely not happen, either.

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

That’s impacting sportsbooks, though perhaps not to a major degree.

We seem to be getting more prop play than normal, which seems to be an effect of that,” Matthew Metcalf, the sportsbook director for Circa Sports, told on Monday. “On the game, it’s a tad too early to tell. But there seems to a mild uptick in action so far.”

Just Win, Baby

The arrival of the NHL in Las Vegas had a dramatic impact on hockey betting. In Clark County, Nev., where Las Vegas is located, hockey betting soared from $157 million during the 2016-17 season to $214 million in 2017-18. That occurred with the arrival of the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights, according to ESPN.

However, football is what fuels sports betting. Thus, the Las Vegas Raiders might not provide a significant uptick on bets over the Oakland Raiders. What would matter is if the Raiders live up to their “Just Win, Baby” mantra.

Local betting interest could increase if they can upset the Saints, who are among the prime Super Bowl contenders.

Long term, I would expect the Raiders’ handle to grow proportionately to their win-loss record,” Metcalf said. “I think the explosion of hockey wagering regarding the Knights has been directly correlated to their success, kind of the way we see an uptick in (Los Angeles) Dodgers and Lakers bets when those teams are winning.”

If life returns to normal next year, the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins will be four of the out-of-division teams that visit Las Vegas. Plus, their AFC West rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Denver Broncos will be making the trek to Vegas. Philadelphia fans, in particular, travel well, which could mean additional action at Vegas sportsbooks.

A couple hours before kickoff, Ed Salmons, the vice president of risk management and oddsmaking at Westgate SuperBook, told “Handle has been brisk today. Part of it is the Raiders playing first home game in Las Vegas and part is the favorites won every game yesterday.”

Saints Are Favored

As for the game, New Orleans is a 5.5-point favorite. According to Patrick Eichner, PointsBet’s director of communications, 78 percent of the spread tickets and 61 percent of the spread money has gone on the Saints to cover as of Monday morning. On the moneyline, more than 80 percent of the tickets and handle has been placed on the Saints. The over/under is 48.5.

The people aren’t impressed with the Raiders kicking off their new home in Vegas tonight,” said Andrew Mannino, the senior sports content analyst at PointsBet, to “We’ve got some lopsided handle on the Saints. I don’t think people are going to be impressed by the Raiders until they show what they can do.

“This is a great test for them – at home against Drew Brees. We’re seeing a ton of action on the over. Bettors are certainly expecting a shootout tonight. We’ve got about 80 percent of the handle on the over in this game, so we’ll be rooting for the Raiders to pull out a close one at home.”

Both teams are coming off season-opening wins. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs had 139 scrimmage yards and three rushing touchdowns in last week’s win at the Carolina Panthers. Brees, the Saints’ record-setting quarterback, threw two touchdown passes last week in a showdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’ll be without prolific receiver Michael Thomas (ankle).

The Las Vegas Raiders were born on Jan. 22. One day later, the franchise found an official gaming partner with MGM Resorts International.