To put it plainly, we’re not very optimistic about the 2023 Las Vegas Raiders. Below, we’ll analyze the team and discuss a number of betting angles to consider.
Analyzing Raiders, Betting Options
Before we dive into the various ways we can bet against a team we’re bearish on, let’s take a look at the Raiders’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Coach Josh McDaniels is capable of opponent-specific game plans.
- Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers appeared in three of the last four NFC Championship games.
- Josh Jacobs is coming off a career year.
- Davante Adams was Top 5 in most relevant wide receiver metrics last year.
- Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones and seventh-overall pick Tyree Wilson form one of the league’s best edge groups.
- Longtime Raiders quarterback Derek Carr left the team after one year with McDaniels.
- The Raiders have a below-average offensive line.
- Garoppolo has never played behind a below-average offensive line.
- Garoppolo has only played one full season (2019) in his nine-year career.
- Garoppolo already has injury uncertainty.
- Brian Hoyer is the Raiders’ backup quarterback.
- While Jacobs had a career year, he also had a league-leading 393 touches last season.
- Adams turns 31 in December.
- Adams already has made a few negative comments about the team this offseason.
- The Raiders have a thin skill group after Jacobs and Adams.
- Las Vegas has an average-at-best defensive tackle group.
- The Raiders are below-average at linebacker.
- Las Vegas has a bottom-five secondary.
- The Raiders have the seventh-toughest schedule in the league.
- Las Vegas could realistically go winless in division games.
- The Raiders open the season on the road in three of their first four games, which are all against teams with projected 8.5 or greater win totals.
The Raiders have a few significant positives, but they enter the season with many concerns and obstacles.
Raiders’ Win Total
From 6.5 to 7.5
The Raiders’ win total opened at 7.5 games on DraftKings, with a -150 or worse price on that number since its release. Las Vegas’ win total is 6.5 at even money on FanDuel.
We liked the Raiders under 7.5 after that number was released, but we were less than thrilled with the -150 price tag. If forced to choose, we would still take the under at 6.5 wins at even money. However, this situation compelled us to look at alternative win total figures.
Handling Alternative Win Total Odds
When thinking about teams that will significantly outperform their preseason win total, bettors should prioritize clear, predictable development at impact positions (including coaching).
For instance, the 2022 Jacksonville Jaguars, with a new coaching staff; roster additions such as Christian Kirk and Travon Walker; and projectable development for Trevor Lawrence all pointed toward a team that could significantly outperform expectations. While the Jaguars endured a rocky 2-7 start to the season, they rebounded to win the division at 9-8.
On the contrary, when looking at teams that can significantly underperform, coaching deficiencies and a lack of talent at impact positions could indicate a team ripe to lose most of their games. For example, last year’s Chicago Bears highlight a situation that made sense to bet alternate win total unders.
Despite an ascending quarterback in Justin Fields, the team’s lack of offseason additions signaled a team planning for the future instead of trying to win now. Their wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line (post–Khalil Mack trade) and cornerback rooms were also near the bottom of the league, pointing toward a low floor. Halfway through the year, the Bears even traded away their defense’s two best players, shipping Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles and Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens.
Raiders’ Alternative Win Total Options
The Raiders fit into this conversation because their offseason, highlighted by signing the possibly already-injured Garoppolo as their quarterback, creates a dangerous floor. The Raiders made a lateral move at pass catcher, trading away Darren Waller and signing former New England Patriot Jakobi Meyers.
The team failed to address its offensive line, nor did it add any significant secondary pieces besides safety Marcus Epps. While the Raiders’ drafted top-10 pick Tyree Wilson and tight end Michael Mayer, it’s unlikely either will have an immediate impact.
The bottom line is the Raiders’ roster lags behind the rest of their division. Last year, they evaded last place due to the Denver Broncos’ coaching incompetence. But with the hiring of Sean Payton, Denver’s floor now sits far higher. The Los Angeles Chargers remain tiers ahead of the Raiders, and the Kansas City Chiefs exist in a separate universe.
Las Vegas is underdogs in all six divisional games using DraftKings’ lookahead lines, including +1 against the spread when the Broncos come to town. The Raiders are never favored by more than two points in a game. This suggests that even at home against weak competition, the Raiders aren’t likely to win any game more than 60 percent of the time.
If one of their few impact players (Adams, Crosby, Garoppolo) get injured, their floor could reasonably be a two- or three-win season.
The Raiders can also be bet at -115 under 2.5 divisional wins on Caesars, +100 to finish fourth in their division at DraftKings and +175 under 5.5 wins at DraftKings. You always have to factor in cost of capital for futures bets that won’t be resolved for months. With that in mind, those are three appealing options.
Last Winless Team Market
The Raiders are +1800 on DraftKings to be the last winless team. Las Vegas has a difficult early schedule where they could start 0-4. If that happens, the train could get off the tracks early for this season.
Fewest Regular Season Wins Market
The Cardinals are the front runners here at +200 on DraftKings. With Kyler Murray likely to miss significant time this season, Arizona should be the standalone favorite in this market. The Raiders are tied for sixth with +1200 odds on most sportsbooks and a +1300 offering on Caesars as of this writing.
Among the other contenders in this race, the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers play in the two worst divisions in football. When you look at each of their rosters, you could argue they’re in the same tier as the Raiders.
The Los Angeles Rams have a core of Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald. The Washington Commanders have one of the most questionable quarterback situations in the league, but they have the best overall roster among this cluster of teams.
The Raiders are an injury or two away from being a two- or three-win team this season. Racz got this at +1600, but we both view the Raiders’ current offerings in this market as doable.
Other Markets to Keep an Eye On
Most season-long props haven’t opened yet. When they do, if we’re bearish on the Raiders or any other team, there’s a chance we’ll be interested in a few unders in these markets.
McDaniels as the first head coach to get fired is another option to have on your radar. While financial constraints may prohibit the Raiders from making this kind of move, there’s a clear path to early struggles that could jump-start a season-long avalanche for Vegas.
If McDaniels’ odds to be the first coach fired largely mimic the fewest wins market, we’ll be looking into a wager there once that market is released.