No longer are the Oakland Raiders disrespected ‘dogs. Jack Del Rio coached the team to a surprising turnaround last season, and now he’s coaching a team facing a role reversal, not to mention a looming relocation to Las Vegas.
The Raiders will open as favorites in 10 of 15 regular-season games when CG Technology posts lines on NFL Weeks 1 through 16 on Thursday.
Oakland, which went 7-9 in 2015, finished 12-4 last year as Del Rio rolled the dice in the right spots in several tight games. Del Rio was a gambling man, using gutsy 2-point conversion and fourth-down calls to turn the season in a positive direction.
The Raiders won five games by three points or fewer, went 7-2 away from home (including a win in Mexico City), finished the regular season 10-6 against the spread and topped their win total of 8½ by the end of November. Expectations are raised in 2017.
CG Technology oddsmakers made the Raiders small road favorites in games at Tennessee, Washington, Buffalo and Philadelphia. But an argument can be made the wrong team is favored in two of those games.
The most surprising line? The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are 1½-point favorites over the Raiders in Mexico City on Nov. 19. On a neutral field, the Patriots probably should be favored by 3½ points or more.
Oakland is an 8-point home favorite over the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 15. Both meetings between the AFC West rivals were decided by three points last year. The Raiders-Chargers game in Los Angeles is off the board because it’s in Week 17, and the season’s final week is too unpredictable for early lines to be posted.
The Dallas Cowboys visit Oakland on Dec. 17. The CG Technology opening line is pick’em.
Facing a schedule that includes 10 games against teams that finished above .500 last season, the Raiders are small road underdogs against Denver, Miami and Kansas City.
Derek Carr, who passed for 28 touchdowns last season, is recovering ahead of schedule after suffering a broken right leg in late December. Oakland closed a deal with Seattle on Wednesday to bring former Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and into the Raiders’ backfield.
The Raiders are expected to add to their defense on Thursday, when they hold the 24th pick of the first round in the NFL Draft.
Oakland Raiders opening lines
(Posted by CG Technology sports books)
Week 1: Raiders (-1) at Tennessee
Week 2: N.Y. Jets at Raiders (-8.5)
Week 3: Raiders (-1) at Washington
Week 4: Raiders at Denver (-2)
Week 5: Baltimore at Raiders (-4.5)
Week 6: L.A. Chargers at Raiders (-8)
Week 7: Kansas City at Raiders (-3)
Week 8: Raiders (-1.5) at Buffalo
Week 9: Raiders at Miami (-1)
Week 11: New England (-1.5) vs. Raiders-x
Week 12: Denver at Raiders (-3)
Week 13: N.Y. Giants at Raiders (-3)
Week 14: Raiders at Kansas City (-3)
Week 15: Dallas at Raiders (Pick)
Week 16: Raiders (-1) at Philadelphia
Week 17: Raiders at L.A. Chargers (no line)
x-Raiders are host team in Mexico City