Well, the best news for Raiders fans is that the season is finally over. 2017 was a huge disappointment for a team that showed so much hope and harbored real Super Bowl aspirations. A combination of poor defensive play and below average play calling means it wasn’t to be the Silver and Black’s year but, despite these troubles, there is plenty to look forward to; namely, we are one season closer to seeing the Raiders moving to Las Vegas.
Prior to the season starting, some bookmakers had the Raiders’ odds of winning the Super Bowl as short as 6/1. This was more a reflection of the sheer number of wagers placed on the team, rather than their actual chances of winning the Super Bowl, and the belief they were a strong ‘outsiders choice’ to go all the way. It seemed completely fair to expect them to bounce back after the 2016 season was basically cut short by a devastating injury to quarterback Derek Carr, but alas it wasn’t to be.
Looking forward to next season and the Raiders are 30/1 to win the 2019 Super Bowl, according to Las Vegas Sportsbook. This sees them ranked 17th favourite in the NFL, at the same odds as division rivals Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, while the Denver Broncos sit further back at 40/1. Perhaps the major surprise on the list is fellow Californians the San Francisco 49ers, who sit at 20/1, thanks purely to the 5-0 stretch the team ran at the end of the year with new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm.
The Raiders have plenty to be excited about after the announcement that Jon Gruden is returning as head coach. The coach, nicknamed ‘Chucky’ due to his fiery personality, had a successful stretch with the team in the early 2000s before he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he won a Super Bowl in 2003 against the Raiders. Gruden likely would have won a Super Bowl with the Raiders a year earlier had it not been for a certain ‘tuck’ rule that still angers Raiders fans 15-years later.
Expect to see the Raiders odds begin to shorten as the season approaches, as 30/1 is far too long for a team that was among the NFL’s best merely one season ago. If the draft goes well and the team can secure one or two big names in free agency, then the Raiders odds should drop to around 20/1, leaving them equal with some of the other main AFC names. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the 2019 NFL Conference Champions odds to see the likelihood of having a Raiders vs 49ers Super Bowl, which would take place in Atlanta despite the teams being only 33 miles apart.