Despite not moving to Vegas for a few more years, the Oakland Raiders are already starting to make waves in the NFL betting circles. It’s been reported that more wagers have been placed on the Raiders than any other team, including the New England Patriots, to lift the Lombardi trophy in 2018. Originally the Raiders were sat at 18/1, ahead of many conference rivals, but have now seen their odds slashed to as low as 6-1 in some sportsbooks from the sheer number of bets.
Now the rise in bets won’t be off the back of Oaklands uneventful preseason match against the Cardinals, which they lost 20-10, but more the news and belief that Carr is coming back healthy and Lynch can return to his former self. The Raiders being at 18-1 or 20-1 was absurd considering the standard in which they played last year that saw them legitimate title contenders until Carr went down in week 16. If you were to base it on the teams wild-card performance, like many places may have, then you could say it was accurate.
When teams have over inflated odds like that they are always open for massive fluctuations. Now the season is coming around (thankfully!) people will begin to get their wagers on, and the Raiders was an option too good to miss. With such a large proportion of people betting on them, the overall odds had to decrease to counter act the market share heading their way and bring back some normality. It’s likely that over the coming weeks building up to the regular season we will see their odds return to roughly 10-1 when everything calms down, barring any serious injuries to the Raiders or anybody else.
It may be a surprise that more bets were put on the Raiders than the Patriots, considering New England is widely regarded as the team to beat following their Super Bowl win last season. This is more of a reflection on the high-risk, low-reward odds for New England (4-1) than their actual chances at winning the title. Pittsburgh, widely regarded as the other AFC powerhouse, haven’t seen their odds fluctuate much, and still sit around the 12-1 mark.
Over in the NFC the Packers are still favourites at 9-1, with the Seahawks and Cowboys just behind. Dallas will be an interesting team to watch and see how their odds change with Ezekiel Elliot’s looming suspension for 6-games. Should the odds improve from 12-1 before Elliot’s appeal hearing on August 29th then they could be worth a bet, especially considering the run of game-bans being overturned recently.
When you know, you know, and the Raiders know they have a keeper in Derek Carr. So much so that they have committed 5-years and $125 million in the 26-year-old quarterback, making him the highest paid player in NFL history surpassing Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. As the news progresses we will hear more about the details of the contract, but we recently suggested that much of the salary in the contract would be backloaded in favour of the Nevada state tax once the Raiders relocate in 2020.
Carr is coming off his best NFL season by far, not necessarily statistically (other than passer rating where he set a new career high of 96.7) but as a leader, player and entertainer. The Raiders season had fans on the edge of their seats all year, much through Carr’s fantastic play and cool demeanour under pressure. You have to go all the way back to 2002 since the Raiders last had a franchise quarterback, so it’s understandable that now they have one that they don’t want to let him go. And rightly so, when combined with Amari Cooper and new running back Marshawn Lynch you get one of the best offensive fire powers in the league to match the likes of the Falcons and Patriots.
With the salary cap always increasing and contracts getting bigger and bigger, it’s likely that Carr won’t remain the highest paid player for that long. Aaron Rodgers, who already has a Superbowl title to go along with his two MVP awards and multiple All-Pro and Pro-Bowl honours, is due for a new contract and will likely set the new record once again. Then there is Matt Ryan, who won his first MVP award and took the Falcons to the Superbowl this year, who is also due a new pay day.
If Carr keeps improving and playing the way he is, those two guys can get paid as much as they want- it won’t stop the Raiders winning. Besides, I’m sure there is something he can do in Las Vegas to make some extra cash if he needs…
They say only two things are certain in life; death and taxes, but in this case taxes may work out to favour some of the young Raiders core. In the current location, players have a 13.3% state tax rate from California, which just so happens to be the largest in the country. When the team finally moves to Las Vegas, that entire 13.3% will be dropped due to Nevada not having a state tax.
Think about how much money that could save a player who is on $1million salary per year. Then think about how much that could save someone like Derek Carr, who is rumoured to be in the latter stages of agreeing a deal that pays him $25million per year (the highest in the league). Its no wonder that these contract talks may be taking longer than your average player, seeing as Carr will likely want to backload the majority of his deal for the projected 2020 move date and save himself millions.
Its not just Carr that will be doing this; Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper will likely be signing contracts near the top of their position pay level so will also bear in mind the potential gains of backloading their contracts. In fact, any player on the Raiders roster will be thinking about their contract length and pay if it can give them, in theory, an extra 13.3% of their salary per year once the move happens. Its also an interesting note when considering how the Raiders will fare in free agency once they move Las Vegas, but that talk can be tabled for another few years, sadly.
With the Raiders moving to Las Vegas in a couple of years, all the major talk this offseason has been about gambling. Football betting is growing in popularity in Las Vegas and America, with new markets being created every week. In fact, it’s so popular that some markets are created and opened immediately after Super Bowl 51 finished.
Las Vegas odds makers ranked the Oakland Raiders seventh-placed favourites to win Super Bowl 52 at 18/1, joint with the Steelers, but somehow behind the division rival Broncos, at 17/1, who didn’t even make the playoffs last year. These odds came out immediately following the Patriots Super Bowl victory, so do not take the Raiders signing of Marshawn Lynch or their other strong free agent acquisitions into account. Today, some odds makers have bumped the Raiders to 12/1 and fifth overall, jumping ahead of the Broncos and into third in the AFC.
Guessing which team will win the Super Bowl next year isn’t the only offseason betting market available. You can bet over/under on how many games you think the Raiders will win this year, and it seems the market has opened at the Raiders winning 10 games. That is higher than all its division rivals and good for third highest in the AFC behind the Steelers and Patriots.
Last year the Raiders won 12, but that could have easily been 13 had Derek Carr not been injured and missed the last game of the year. Looking at it on paper, that makes you think the Raiders are likely to go over 10 games considering their record and overall team improvement in the offseason. Sadly, it’s not that easy! Of the 10 wins in the 2016 season, eight came on games that were decided by one score or less. Oakland could have easily lost those games, so who knows what might happen in 2017.
Throughout the season more prop bets will appear and provide plenty of opportunity for betting on the Raiders. Marshawn Lynch for comeback player of the year anyone?
Marshawn Lynch has agreed on a two-year deal to become an Oakland Raider. It comes on the back of weeks of speculation of the running backs return from retirement, and its fair to say he is going to settle right in with the silver and black. The Raiders send the Seahawks a 5th round draft pick, as he retired in Seattle so they still own his player rights, but also get a 6th round pick in return.
Sadly its doubtful that we will see Lynch don the Silver and Black in Las Vegas. The two year deal would mean he is out of contract going into the first season the Raiders are expetced to move away from Oakland. Combine that with the fact Lynch was born in Oakland, went to high school in Oakland and attended college at Cal and you can see that this deal is more about playing for his local team than it is anything else.
The deal looks like a win-win. The Raiders get a power running back the likes they havent seen in years, and all it cost them was moving down one round in the draft. The Seahawks get to move up in the draft for pretty much nothing seeing as Lynch was never going to play for the team.
The move shows that the Raiders reputation continues to improve under GM Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio. There arent many teams that a former player will come out of retirement for! But a young, successful core built on solid coaching foundations will do that for your team, and long may it continue.
The acquistion fills a glaring need for the Raiders and makes them even bigger Super Bowl contenders than they were before. Be ready to chant ‘Beast Mode!’ a lot this coming season.