4 min read

2023 NFL Week 1 Betting Preview: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos

Raiders Broncos preview

Raiders (0-0) at Broncos (0-0)

Spread: Broncos -3.5

Total: 44

Weather: Chance of light rain

The Line Report

This line has moved a lot over the last few months, as it opened as Broncos -3.5. From there, it made a slight jump to Broncos -4, with a few short rises to as high as Broncos -5.5 at some locations. It has since gradually fallen all the way down to its opening line of Broncos -3.5 over the last few days.

The total has fluctuated far less, as it opened at 45 points while gradually falling to its current mark of 44 points.

The Broncos Offense vs. the Raiders Defense

Last season was an absolute disaster for Russell Wilson’s Broncos. We expect a bounce-back of sorts for Wilson, but supporting cast injuries have not helped on that front.

Wide receiver Tim Patrick is out for the year and Jerry Jeudy is questionable with a hamstring injury. If Jeudy is limited or outright misses this contest, rookie Marvin Mims Jr. will join Courtland Sutton in two wide receiver sets. The Raiders allowed the 11th-most receiving yards to wide receivers last season, so it’s a good matchup for all Denver receivers.

Running back Javonte Williams is expected to play a significant role on opening day. That’s a remarkable comeback from his complicated knee injury from last season. Sean Payton added significant talent to the Broncos offensive line with LG Ben Powers and RT Mike McGlinchey. Vegas surrendered the 11th-most rushing yards and the most receiving yards to running backs last year. Given the coaching staff and offensive line upgrades, consider this a plus matchup for both Williams and Samaje Perine.

The Raiders' edge rush led by Maxx Crosby is the one area where Vegas’s defense has a real matchup advantage against Denver.

The Raiders Offense vs. the Broncos Defense

Jimmy Garoppolo takes over at quarterback for the Raiders. Garoppolo has played for Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels in the past so that continuity is a plus. However, we have to question Garoppolo’s production in San Francisco considering what Brock Purdy did last season. Purdy was the last pick in last year’s draft, and the offense improved once Purdy took over for Garoppolo.  

Denver gave up the third-fewest receiving yards to wide receivers last year. Davante Adams was a volume monster who exceeded 100 yards receiving in each of his two games against Denver last season. It’s probably worth waiting to see how Adams meshes with Garoppolo, who has never supported an extreme producer like him before.

Denver had a solid run defense last year, but Josh Jacobs ran for over 100 yards in both contests against Denver. Last season, the Raiders' offense ran through Jacobs and Adams. There’s no real reason to expect much change there.

The one area that Denver struggled in on defense was against tight ends, as they gave up the fifth-most receiving yards to that position. Unfortunately, Darren Waller is in New York which has left a combination of Austin Hooper and rookie Michael Mayer at the top of the depth chart. Hooper is a solid veteran, whose presence suggests that Mayer is going to be eased in early this year.

What To Bet On

If you’re betting on the Broncos you are primarily betting on Wilson returning to form. He has a solid matchup against the Raiders, but being without a healthy Jeudy is a major negative. The addition of Payton is also a major bonus to any pro-Broncos stance. You can also directly bet against Garoppolo in a road game with a new team. The Broncos defense is stingy, and they held Garoppolo’s 49ers to 10 points in Week 3 of last season.

A bet on the Raiders may start as a bet against Wilson. Not only did Wilson look like a different player last year, but there have been steady rumors that there is some friction between him and Payton. While Payton is no doubt a strategic upgrade over Nathaniel Hackett, this is Wilson’s third offensive system in as many years. Your other angle is that Jacobs and Adams had great success against Denver in both matchups last year. If Garoppolo struggles, those two can provide enough offense on their own to keep this one close.

Score Prediction: Broncos 23, Raiders 20

Ryan’s Recent Betting Record

ATS 2021: 49-31

ATS 2022: 48-32

Props 2022: 60-40

Ryan Reynolds is the associate director of fantasy and betting at The 33rd Team. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2014. Ryan has been covering NFL betting markets for five years. Follow Ryan @RyanReynoldsNFL on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.