Earlier this week, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders took another step toward completion as workers took down the scaffolding around Allegiant Stadium. The $2 billion facility, which seats 65,000 fans and will also be home to the UNLV Rebels, is right on schedule.
The Raiders now become the 2nd major pro franchise to call Vegas home. The first, the NHL's Golden Knights, were a smashing success and quickly became beloved by the city after reaching the Stanley Cup finals in their inaugural season in 2017.
Can the Raiders take Vegas by storm like the Knights have?
Last season was a tale of two halves for the Raiders. They were featured in HBO's Hard Knocks and then had the Antonio Brown fiasco to deal with. Nevertheless, the Raiders put aside the distractions and started the year an impressive 6-4. But then the wheels fell off and they went 1-5, finishing with a 7-9 record.
Head coach Jon Gruden enters his 3rd season in his second go-around with the Silver and Black. He has slowly improved, going 4-12 in 2018 and 7-9 last season. Can Gruden's Grinders take another step forward and get to 8-8 or better this year?
The Raiders' win total is set at 7.5 across the market with most books juicing up the under. Why are sportsbooks forcing bettors to pay a higher price on the under? Because that's the side they have liability on. Since public bettors typically bet "overs" on win totals, this under juice is notable and likely a sign that sharps have targeted the Raiders to go 7-9 or worse this season.
At Circa Sports, the Raiders win total is 7.5 with -125 juice on the under (+ 105 on the over). FanDuel is 7.5 with -115 under juice (-105 on the over). PointsBet is at 7.5 with even -110 juice on both sides. Interestingly, DraftKings is posting a win total a half game lower (7 with -121 over juice, under + 100).
The Raiders have the 12th-easiest schedule this upcoming season. Their opponents went 127-129 in 2019 (.496).
Here is their 2020 schedule
Week 1: at Panthers
Week 2: vs Saints
Week 3: at Patriots
Week 4: vs Bills
Week 5: at Chiefs
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: vs Bucs
Week 8: at Browns
Week 9: at Chargers
Week 10: vs Broncos
Week 11: vs Chiefs
Week 12: at Falcons
Week 13: at Jets
Week 14: vs Colts
Week 15: vs Chargers
Week 16: vs Dolphins
Week 17: at Broncos
The Raiders have been one of the most active teams in free agency this offseason. They signed TE Jason Witten and added QB Marcus Mariota to back up and push starter Derek Carr, while also adding linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkowski, defensive tackle Maliek Collins, edge rusher Carl Nassib, cornerback Eli Apple and safety Jeff Heath to boost the defense.
In the draft, Vegas added a pair of first-round picks: wide receiver Henry Ruggs of Alabama and cornerback Damon Arnette of Ohio State.
The Raiders are unlikely to make the playoffs. At FanDuel, "yes" on making the playoffs is a + 250 dog while "no" is a -320 favorite. The Raiders are + 1200 to win the AFC West, which is the worst odds in the division. The Chiefs are a -390 favorite with the Chargers + 700 and the Broncos + 1100.
If you think the Raiders can pull off a miracle they are + 3000 to win the AFC and + 6000 to win the Super Bowl.