The Las Vegas era of the Raiders opens not in Sin City but in Charlotte on Sunday against a rebuilding Panthers team. That NFL spread opened as a pick'em but now finds Jon Gruden's team as a 3-point favorite. The Raiders were road favorites just once in each of the past two seasons and have failed to cover four straight as one overall.
The first pro football game that counts in the City of Las Vegas will be on Sept. 21 when the Raiders welcome the New Orleans Saints in a Monday night matchup at the sparkling new Allegiant Stadium.The Raiders had sold out their entire first season, but there will be no fans allowed to attend in 2020.
The Silver and Black will host four prime-time games, which is a franchise record. For the first time since 2015, the Raiders will not play host to an international game -- they weren't scheduled to this season regardless but there will be no international games in 2020 due to the coronavirus.
Las Vegas has six games scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET, which is never ideal for a team in the Pacific Time Zone, but the Raiders do get three of their final four at home. The team does have two sets of back-to-back road games and Gruden could opt to keep his club somewhere on the East Coast in between visiting Atlanta in Week 12 and the New York Jets in Week 13.
The Raiders improved from 4-12 in Gruden's first season to 7-9 in 2019. The turmoil of Antonio Brown and HBO's "Hard Knocks" in training camp didn't affect them once the season started. Los Angeles beat Denver 24-16 as a three-point underdog to open the season and started 6-4 (5-3 ATS).
But the momentum waned, and they lost five of their last six, covering in the last two. The Derek Carr-led offense helped the Over go 6-1 in a seven-game stretch starting in Week 3, but it went Over once in the final seven.
The Raiders bolstered the defense in free agency and the draft and added three receivers, including 12th overall pick Henry Ruggs for Carr to work with as Gruden continues to build the team in his image.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS BETTING PROFILE
2019 record: 7-9 (third, AFC West)
2019 against the spread: 8-8 ATS
2019 ATS margin: -3.9
2019 Over-Under: 7-9 O-U
2020 strength of schedule: 21st-toughest; Raiders opponents combined for a .496 winning percentage last year (127-129).
WILLIAM HILL 2020 LAS VEGAS RAIDERS FUTURES ODDS
Win total: 7.5 (both -110)
To make playoffs: No -330, yes +260
Division: +850 to win AFC West
Conference: +2000 to win AFC
Super Bowl: +6000 to win SB 55
MVP: QB Derek Carr +6000, RB Josh Jacobs +10000
Offensive ROY: WR Henry Ruggs +1400
Defensive ROY: CB Damon Arnette +10000
To lead NFL in rushing: Jacobs +1400
SportsLine Model's projection: 7.1 wins (Pick is Under)
Week 1 at Carolina, 1 PM ET: The Panthers are 5-1 SU and ATS all-time against the Raiders.
Week 2 vs. New Orleans, 8:15 PM ET (Monday): The Saints are 4-1 SU and ATS in the past five dating to 1997.
Week 3 at New England, 1 PM ET: The Patriots are 8-3 SU and 9-2 ATS in the past 11 meetings, including three playoff games.
Week 4 vs. Buffalo, 4:25 PM ET: The Raiders have won six in a row (4-2 ATS) at home against the Bills.
Week 5 at Kansas City, 1 PM ET: KC has won seven straight (6-1 ATS) at home against the Raiders.
Week 6 BYE: The Raiders are 0-2 under Gruden after a bye week (in his second stint).
Week 7 vs. Tampa Bay, 8:20 PM ET: The Over has hit in the past five meetings, with the Raiders 4-1 ATS in them.
Week 8 at Cleveland, 1 PM ET: The Raiders have covered the past two in the series after failing to do so in previous eight.
Week 9 at LA Chargers, 4:05 PM ET: The Chargers are 12-5 SU and 10-7 ATS in the past 17 at home vs. the Raiders.
Week 10 vs. Denver, 4:05 PM ET: The Raiders are 4-0 SU and ATS in the last four at home after going 0-5 SU and ATS in the previous five.
Week 11 vs. Kansas City, 8:20 PM ET: Chiefs are 13-7 SU and ATS in the past 20 games as the visiting team.
Week 12 at Atlanta, 1 PM ET: The Raiders have won four straight (3-1) ATS vs. Falcons, and the Under is 3-1.
Week 13 at NY Jets, 1 PM ET: The Raiders were embarrassed 34-3 at the Jets last season as 3.5-point favorites.
Week 14 vs. Indianapolis, 4:05 PM ET: The Over-Under is 4-1 in the past five following Raiders' 31-24 road win in 2019.
Week 15 vs. LA Chargers, 8:20 PM ET (Thursday): The Raiders are 7-3 ATS (6-4 SU) in the past 10 at home against the AFC West.
Week 16 vs. Miami, TBD ET (Saturday or Sunday): The Raiders have failed to cover their past five against the AFC East.
Week 17 at Denver, 4:25 PM ET: The Broncos are 7-3 SU at home and 6-4 ATS, but the Raiders have covered the past two.
EXPERT PICK FROM NO. 1 NFL EXPERT MIKE TIERNEY: Under 7.5 wins (-110).
A change of scenery does not necessarily translate to more victories. This relocated franchise has reached .500 better once in the past eight seasons. While some needs were addressed, the secondary and receiver groups are lacking, and Carr continues to disappoint. A new stadium and town might provide some momentum but not enough to fully cancel out a 1-5 slide at the close of 2019. The losing could resume early, given that the Saints, Patriots, Chiefs and Bucs loom through the Raiders' first six weeks.
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