#Betting101: The Curious Case of Jack Del Rio

Jason Lake

Thursday, September 14, 2017 7:47 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017 7:47 PM UTC

The Oakland Raiders play their “home” opener this Sunday against the New York Jets. The Jets may be awful, but they look like the right football pick in this matchup.

In 2003, Jack Del Rio was a rookie head coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He brought an ax and a stump into the dressing room after the Jags started the year 0-3. “Keep chopping wood” was the mantra. Punter Chris Hanson took a swing at the stump, missed, and had to be taken to the hospital to get his foot sewn up. He missed the rest of the season. God bless the NFL.

Del Rio made it all the way to 2011 before Jacksonville gave him the chop. But the Oakland Raiders were happy to make him their head coach in 2015. And while the Raiders finally made it back into the playoffs last year, savvy bettors have taken note of Del Rio’s bizarre home/away splits: 6-10 ATS at the Oakland Coliseum, 13-4 ATS on the road. No wonder they want to move.

Conveniently enough, the Raiders are at “home” this Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS) to take on the consensus worst team in the NFL, the New York Jets. The Raiders are the biggest favorites on the Week 2 NFL odds board at –14, holding steady since the open under light betting. Are we really going to bet on the New York Jets? Really?


Jack El Patron

Not everyone is in agreement on this matchup. FiveThirtyEight projects the Raiders to win 74 percent of the time, for an Elo-based spread of Oakland –7.5. ESPN’s Football Power Index has the Raiders winning 91.3 percent of the time, which works out closer to Oakland –17.5. I thought computers were supposed to be infallible.

We’re still inclined to go with the Jets here. This is a “bargain bin” NFL pick, taking a contrarian stance on everyone’s favorite punching bag while hoping to capture some of that Del Rio magic. The Coliseum is even less of a home for the Raiders now that they’re moving to Las Vegas; we expect they’ll get something of a rude reception on Sunday. Oakland also has some injury problems in the secondary that can’t be ignored. And the total for Sunday’s game is only 43.5 points. If the game’s going to be that low-scoring, there isn’t much room for the Raiders to cover that enormous spread. Let’s do this.

Free NFL Pick: Jets +14 (–105)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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