The 2020 NFL season is now days away and if you’re a gambler, this means you’ll be looking at betting odds. As far as the Las Vegas Raiders are concerned, what’s the best bet regarding them?
The Raiders made an array of improvements during this year’s offseason that will bode well in head coach Jon Gruden’s third year. The linebacker group has been rebuilt through free agency with Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton joining its ranks. The secondary has been replenished with talented youngsters that figure to contribute right away. And of course, quarterback Derek Carr now has an explosive and talented supporting cast, his best since 2016.
All improvements notwithstanding, the AFC West is still the Chiefs’ kingdom until they no longer lay claim to it. As far as betting, this means that the battle for second place in the West will be watch-worthy.
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Can The Las Vegas Raiders Walk Away With Second Place?
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone but the key to winning second place will come to quarterback play. Lee Sharpe of Pro Football Focus recently took a look at what the outlook looks like for the Raiders.
“The Raiders have a stronger starting quarterback in Derek CarrÂ (79.9 PFF grade in 2019) than theÂ Denver BroncosÂ have inÂ Drew LockÂ (58.1) and theÂ Los Angeles ChargersÂ have inÂ Tyrod TaylorÂ (a backup the past two seasons) and rookieÂ Justin HerbertÂ (who PFF evaluators are low on despite him being picked with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft).”
As much as Carr detractors bash the signal-caller, it seems by default, the Raiders have the best of the bunch. If you look at Carr’s surrounding cast this season, it’d be hard to argue against this notion. He has a good power running game behind him, a potent offensive line guarding him, and a bevy of receivers, including tight end Darren Waller. The question is this will be enough.
“The offered odds suggest that fourth place is the most likely outcome for the Raiders, but the simulations have them finishing in second place more often than any other team, suggesting value for them at +300.”
As much as Raider Nation chooses to be optimistic, Sharpe pointed out it’s possible the team finishes in fourth place. However, it’s doubtful Gruden’s squad would finish last even if Carr goes down, Marcus Mariota is waiting. For now, it seems putting your money on the Raiders finishing second is a pretty safe bet.
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*Top Photo: Brett Le Blanc Las Vegas Review-Journal