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.
The $1.9 billion, 65,000 seat stadium the Raiders are due to move into in 2020 could be even better than first expected with news that fans will be able to bet on their mobile phones whilst at the stadium. The lease proposed last week, that was unanimously approved, prohibits any wagering or gambling to take place at stadium kiosks or stalls, but nowhere was there anything prohibiting doing so on mobile phones. Las Vegas sportsbooks have offered mobile sportsbook apps for years, so this is an expected step.
The NFL has always had an issue with gambling, and the league could still try and block the betting on mobile phone apps. Roger Goodell and the NFL are yet to outline their policy on the matter, but if history is anything to go by then it will most likely be the un-popular opinion, which in this case would likely see the apps banned.
How the sportsbook apps themselves would be banned specifically within the stadium is an interesting topic. The use of such apps in Nevada is perfectly legal, and Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo told ESPN “The Nevada Gaming Commission is the policy maker for the state of Nevada and gaming, and they have not approached us in any shape, way or form”.
So how would the NFL block it being used in the stadium, but then perfectly legal once you are outside it? Geo-targeting does exist where certain locations are blocked from accessing specific content, but the accuracy of said methods would be key in this scenario.
The Las Veags Stadium authority has unanimously approved the conditional lease agreement from the Raiders. The move comes as no surprise, but it avoids any potential delays in the teams relocation efforts. The LA Rams and Chargers recently were dealt the news that record rain fall has delayed their stadium being ready by an extra year, so its nice to see some positive relocation news for a few weeks.
Had the lease not passed this week, the next opportunity would not have been until October. Team president Marc Badain previously warned that had it not passed at this opportunity then the Raiders too may have been looking at an extra year delay on their relocation.
The lease means the 2020 opening is still the plan, with the stadium still looking good for a 62-acre plot just west of the Mandalay Bay Resort at the south end of Vegas. If you want to see more about the stadium location, then visit our dedicated page here.
The news and vote may have gone under the radar to most Raiders fans, but its just good to know its out the way. The lease agreement will be presented to league owners later on this year, and then we are hopefully looking at smooth sailing from here on out!