Here are some areas where the self-proclaimed gambling Illuminati may have messed up with a team that still seems far from a Playoff contender along with two Week 1 picks and a Future Book fade involving Oakland.
Oakland Raiders Preseason Update
The Oakland Raiders (40/1 to win Super Bowl at Bet365) have received a great deal of attention and money at the Futures Book this Summer both Offshore and here in Las Vegas, with both the Sharps and the General Public backing the Silver and Black—who have been rumored to be making a move to here in Las Vegas in the future—in the Super Bowl LI, AFC, AFC West and Regular Season Team Win Total marketplaces.
But the bad news for these bandwagon-chasing lemmings is that they have probably attached their hopes to yet another mediocre Raiders team, despite the presence of some nice skill position players now like WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, RB Latavius Murray and PK Sebastian Janikowski. Expect Oakland to suffer from the same perennial stupidity and inclination to be penalized on the football field, the same average Work Ethic, a below average Head Coach (Jack Del Rio), starting QB (Derek Carr) and way below average Defense (#22 in NFL in 2015, allowed 5,818 Total Yards, 24.9 ppg).
Then toss in the rumors this franchise may be leaving Oakland for Las Vegas, and you actually have a number of very intelligent, in-the-know professional and non-professional gamblers (over-) betting the Raiders to win the Super Bowl, the AFC, the AFC West and their Regular Season Team Win Total Over (8½ -110, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). And I am here to report there is much of that Sheepiness here in Sin City—following in the footsteps of what the other guy is doing and blindly betting a team like the Raiders because of Hype. But then again, these same perceived Wiseguys also fell in love with the Philadelphia Eagles right about this time last year, driving their Super Bowl odds all the way down to as low as 8/1 on Fumes and Hype and BS and the combined weight of Sheep betting on another crappy team. The Eagles finished 7-9 SU in 2015 and just 3-5 at Home, and, of course, didn't make the Postseason. And we laughed.
Anyway, the Raiders (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS in Preseason) lost to the Tennessee Titans in their Home opener at O.Co Coliseum on Saturday night, 27-14, and showed for those paying close attention, that Oakland (22/1 to win AFC, 10Red) has hidden problems at QB with Derek Carr (0-3 ATS as Favorite in Regular Season), Matt McGloin (8-13, 71 yards, INT, 44.1 QBR vs. Titans Saturday) and Rookie (Michigan State) Connor Cook (3-6, 51 yards, INT, 39.6 QBR) on the Raiders QB Depth Chart. If Carr gets injured or hits a slump, Oakland may be in a world of hurt on Offense as backup McGloin looked below average and frustrated in his time in against Tennessee.
The problem here is that people really want 3rd-year Fresno State product Derek Carr (6-3, 215) to be a good QB, but the reality is that he just isn't that great, despite a Pro Bowl appearance last year. Best to actually watch him play when it really matters. Like on his final drive late in the 2nd Quarter on Saturday night against Tennessee, on 4th-and-goal when he missed a wide open Michael Crabtree the End Zone on a very simple short dump pass from the shotgun formation. Plotz. And Carr knew he blew it. Then knowing he was done for the evening, Carr—who admittedly had a good 1st Half, going 12-for-18 for 169 yards and throwing for 2 TDs—took off his cleats and put on his tennis shoes and then laughing jovially with a teammate (probably Crabtree), despite the horrible incompletion and the fact his team was losing at that point in the game (and would never regain the lead) and those missed 6 (or even 3 points if Oakland went for an FG) kept the game from going Over.
This is simply not the stuff Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers is made of. Funny now in Preseason, but not so funny when it happens a month from now. Carr (91.1 QBR, 3,987 Passing yards, 32 TDs in 2015) makes bad throws at the worst times and always appears to be way too happy-go-lucky to be a QB, a little in the Jay Cutler mold in Chicago.
But then again, we're talking about the Oakland Raiders here bruh and just having the same guy at QB as they had last year seems like progress after tinkering with duds like JaMarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Bruce Gradkowski, Terrelle Pryor—now playing Wide Receiver for the Cleveland Browns—and even backup Matt McGloin from 2010 on.
In the crucial Interception EPA (Expected Added Points)—clutch-weighted expected points added (lost) through Interceptions and Returns—metric, Carr ranked 4th (worst) in the league last season with a -22.0, with only the Broncos Peyton Manning (-24.2), the Jaguars Blake Bortles (-24.4) and the Falcons Matt Ryan (-25.3) faring worse in this key metric statistic. So Bortles—who also had a RAW QBR of 46.4 last season, ranked 27th in the NFL—isn't the best at decision-making or protecting the football and no matter how much the Broncos have perceived to drop in the AFC West, at least the troika of Denver QB's have the luxury of getting to work with both a Head Coach (Gary Kubiak) and General Manager (John Elway) who actually once played the position (QB) for them as opposed to the 25-year-old Carr who has a Head Coach who was a Linebacker in college. So expect Carr to stay around where he's at growthwise while Trevor Siemian (Northwestern) and Rookie Paxton Lynch (Memphis) mature a little faster in the Mile High City.
The bottom line here is that Carr (49.2 RAW QBR in 2015, 23rd in NFL) is still really suspect and seems to be a little immature to run a consistently successful NFL Offense, even with Murray, All Pro and Alabama product Cooper and Crabtree at his disposal.
Head Coach, Defense, Team Attitude
While watching the Raiders lose to the Titans on Saturday, many other signs of immaturity could be seen and Head Coach Jack Del Rio (21-18-2 SU in Preseason, 27-19-0 Overs) has to start shouldering some of the blame for the attitudes of some of his players like the DBs celebrating unimportant incomplete passes on 1st and 2nd Down while losing the Preseason game and a Punter who kicked the ball out of the End Zone, yet pointed to the sky as if to say, ”Thank you God for giving me such a strong leg,” although the reality of the touchback cost his team 20 yards in field position, although the Punter didn't care, for it was all “Look at me” time. It's hard to unteach Dumb and Cocky and the Silver and Black are chock full of both. And 2nd-year and 53-year-old Head Coach Del Rio (8-8 ATS)—a product of Hayward High School and a former standout USC LB—may just not have the Vince Lombardi-like attitude to change the behavior of a bunch of young and suddenly rich kids who know how to play the sport of American Football.
This will be a big year for Del Rio but it seems divisional co-mates Denver (Gary Kubiak), Kansas City (Andy Reid) and San Diego (Mike McCoy) may have better tacticians and disciplinarians at their helms on the sideline.
And on Defense, this team may still have major issues and the Raiders First Unit almost allowed 200 yards of Offense to Tennessee in the 1st Quarter alone on Saturday night as the Titans finished with 336 Total yards, went 7-for-12 on 3rd down and benefitted from 11 Raiders Penalties for 88 Yards—always a sore point with this undisciplined franchise.
Oakland Raiders Straight Up and Against The Spread Records Last 12 NFL Seasons
2015—7-9 SU, 8-8 ATS
2014—3-13 SU, 8-8 ATS
2013—4-12 SU, 7-8-1 ATS
2013—4-12 SU, 5-10-1 ATS
2011—8-8 SU, 10-6 ATS
2010—8-8 SU, 8-8 ATS
2009—5-11 SU, 8-8 ATS
2008—5-11 SU, 7-9 ATS
2007—7-9 SU, 8-8 ATS
2006—2-14 SU, 6-10 ATS
2005—4-12 SU, 5-10-1 ATS
2004—5-11 SU, 6-10 ATS
The Oakland Raiders are a pathetic 62-130 SU and 86-103-3 ATS over the L12 seasons
Conclusions, Some Trends, Picks and Is This Franchise Really Moving to Las Vegas?
As you can see from the above list, the Raiders haven't had a single winning Regular Season or won 9 games in the L12 seasons, going a combined 62-130 (32.3%) Straight Up and just 86-103-3 ATS at the betting windows (45.5%), which doesn't make them the ideal NFL betting pick, although this team is certainly in a better place than it was at the beginning of the millennium. At least Oakland (16/1 to win AFC, GTBets) plays exactly 16 games a year, no?
The tendency of the Raiders to play immature and hot-headed just would leave this team, as last year Oakland was the 3rd most penalized team in the NFL with 139 Penalties totaling 1,102 yards. As long as the Raiders have been in the NFL after joining when the AFL merged, this team has been plagued with Penalties and the numbers Saturday night reflect no change in behavior. This is a team now used to beating themselves and peaking out at 8-8. And the Wiseguys have apparently fallen in love with this flea-bitten dog and hope the retirement of Peyton Manning may help get them over the hump. But I'm still not buying the Raiders (+275 to win AFC West at GTBets), even with one of the best PK's in the NFL in the incredibly strong-legged Florida State product Sebastian Janikowski.
Some Trends to support this Raiders (66-142 SU L13 seasons) patheticness of late: Oakland is 35-67-1 ATS (34.3%) at Home since 2003—the worst Record in the NFL—and the Raiders are 0-5 ATS in their L5 Home games, including the L4 last 2015 Regular Season and Saturday's outright Loss as a 3½-point favorite (BetDSI) over the Titans. Oakland opens up at Home at O.co Coliseum in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 18, you can select the sportsbook of your preference for that day by checking the NFL odds offered.
Once a horrible team ATS traveling to the East Coast Time Zone, Oakland has gone 5-1 ATS in in L6 in that situation but remember that New Orleans is in the Central Time Zone (CDT). The Raiders went 1-4 ATS as a Favorite last year, 0-4 ATS in Non-Conference games and 0-2 as a Home Favorite, a role Starting QB Carr has yet to win in (0-3 ATS). This team could very well start 0-4 if everything goes wrong (Raiders Schedule: Week 1: at Saints, Week 2 vs. Falcons, Week 3: at Titans, Week 4: at Ravens, Week 5: vs. Chargers, Week 6: vs. Chiefs, Week 7: at Jaguars, Week 8: at Buccaneers, Week 9: vs. Broncos, Week 10: Bye, Week 11: vs. Texans, Week 12: vs. Panthers, Week 13: vs. Bills, Week 14: at Chiefs, Week 15: at Chargers, Week 16: vs. Colts, and Week 17 (Jan. 1): at Broncos.) Those saying that this is an easy schedule for Oakland will probably need to reevaluate that idea around Halloween.
So whatever the combined reasons the money has come in this Summer on the Raiders, it all seems like dumb money fueled partially by a rumor that club majority Owner Mark Davis is now trying to move the team here to Las Vegas somewhere down the line (and that's still no sure thing). And it's that extra little ½ game here in the Regular Season Team Win Total Market created by all of that sports gamblers and media Hype here in Sin City which drove the number from as low as its original opening number of 7½ (Over -135, CG Technology) to and through 8 at the best sportsbooks to its current 8½ where that ½ may provide the ultimate edge.
NFL Regular Season Week 1 Picks: Saints PK -120 over Raiders, Raiders-Saints Over 51 at 5Dimes
NFL Regular Season Team Win Total Futures Pick: Raiders Under 8½ -110 at Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook
NFL Preseason Picks Record To Date: 5-5-0