On May 14, The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting. Sure, places like the future home state (Nevada) of the Raiders have had this for decades, but now you don’t have to make that trip or bet with some offshore betting site. Many states have already begun to take advantage of this billion dollar industry.
Thru the “Dumbest Team in America” remarks by then head coach Bill Callahan to the JaMarcus Russell years and over a decade of losing seasons, the Raiders aren’t long shots to win, at least to betting experts. Sure, they didn’t live up to expectations last season, but the beauty of the NFL is you never know who may step up and walk away with that Lombardi Trophy. Just ask long-suffering Philadelphia Eagles fans.
In 2016, according to Bovada.com, the Raiders opened up the year as 66:1 favorites to win it all. Then free agency saw players like Kelechi Osemele, Bruce Irvin, and Sean Smith join the East Bay while the team also re-signed Donald Penn. After the NFL Draft, those odds dropped down to 25:1.
For those who were excited throughout the season for the success of the team, the betting, of course, saw the Raiders fortunes take a turn for the worse. Those who were inching closer to cashing in on the longshot the Raiders (Yes, I was one of them) saw their bets come tumbling down as Derek Carr broke his leg in a Week 16 matchup versus the Colts.
Enter 2017 and those odds were down to 12:1 after the NFL Draft. Why not? The word on Carr was that he was looking healthy and the addition of Marshawn Lynch gave him insurance in the backfield. Coming off a 12:4 season, it sure looked like the Raiders were the team to finally dethrone the hated New England Patriots. Well, 16 games later, a disappointing 6-10 season and head coach Jack Del Rio being fired after the season finale, gamblers took a hit and Raider Nation was left wondering, “Where do we go from here?”
Then Jon Gruden is given a 10-year contract and all of a sudden, every Raiders fan is re-energized. Post draft, the Raiders are a decent 35:1 odds to win it all. Sure, there are questions. Does Chucky still have it? Can Carr bounce back and get back to his 2016 MVP form? Is Lynch still capable of leading the league in broken tackles? More importantly, will the secondary actually stop anybody? The beauty of sports betting is anything can happen. After all, isn’t money won much sweeter than money earned?