One week after opening as the biggest underdog in the league, the Raiders — despite losing — have already transformed themselves in the minds of odds makers, leading to Oakland opening as the fourth-biggest Sunday favorite in week two.
On Sportsbook.com, the Raiders have opened as a 6-point favorite at home against Jacksonville. Of course, it is the Jaguars they're playing, but that doesn't make this entire story moot.
Among players in Yahoo Fantasy's Survival Football leagues last week, the Colts were the site's most popular pick. By a longshot. Of users participating, 47.8% of players picked Indianapolis in Week 1 — a full 31.4% higher than the second-most popular pick, New England.
Now, to be fair, all of those players survived week one, but it's safe to say it was a more nerve-racking Sunday morning than any of them could have expected.
So now, just days later, why does it matter that Oakland has emerged as a six-point favorite against the Jaguars at home? In reality, it's meaningless. A point spread is a nice confidence booster — a sign that experts now think much higher of the Raiders (or much lower of the Jaguars) — but this league is still all about winning football games. And that can't be done in sports books.
So, take it with a grain of salt, but for a team desperate for confidence and good news after a heartbreaking near-upset on Sunday, faith from experts is welcomed.
Now, about that whole winning thing...