Las Vegas may love the idea of the Raiders taking up residence there, but the latest points spread coming out of Sin City has them favored in only seven 2016 games, according to the gaming technology and risk management company CG Technology.
Based on the latest points spread, the Silver and Black are favored to sweep San Diego, again, by 4.5 points at home in Week 5 and by one in Week 16. That's not much of a surprise given the Chargers are still in rebuilding mode.
The Vegas company gives the Chiefs a 4.5-point advantage in Week 14 at Arrowhead and only a pick ‘em at Oakland in Week 6. Frankly, the odds-maker blew that call. Kansas City swept the Raiders last season, and given the improvements and growth of Oakland's roster, 2016 will likely be payback time. I'm not much of a gambler, but I'm betting silver in both.
The Broncos are a 1-point Week 9 favorite in Oakland and the Week 17 odds aren't posted yet. The division rivals split a pair of defensive struggles last season. One team improved its roster (Oakland), while the other took a huge step backwards (Denver). Snowballs have a better chance of survival in Hell than Mark Sanchez beating the Raiders in the Black Hole. Clearly Vegas algorithms don't have a calculation for bad blood.
Other AFC games include Houston, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Indy and Baltimore. The Raiders are only underdogs against the Ravens and a pick against the Jags. The Ravens will be looking for their pound of flesh after the Raiders stunned them 37-33 in Week 2 last season. Unfortunately, Oakland travels East for a 1pm contest and the Raiders have dropped a lot of Eastern Standard Time games in recent years. Baltimore also added deep threat Mike Wallace to the passing game and signed Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle from the Chargers. Both organizations look improved. Could be a nail biter.
Vegas may have gotten it right with the Jaguars game as a "pick 'em." That one remains a head-scratcher. The Florida franchise made wholesale roster changes to its defense, much like Oakland. Until some film comes out, attacking their weaknesses remains a mystery. Jacksonville appears to be a much better team (on paper), but the franchise's last winning season was in 2007. Unlike Oakland, no significant football culture change appears to be occurring.
Against the NFC South, Oakland comes in as a 3.5-pont favorite over Atlanta. The Raiders are underdogs to Carolina. Tampa Bay and New Orleans come in as picks. The Week 12 match-up against the defending NFC Champion Panthers will be a real measurement of how far the Raiders have progressed. Khalil Mack should give Cam Newton more practice jumping on fumbles. Hopefully, the Pro Bowl quarterback will decline to jump on them as he did in the Super Bowl.
Favored in seven games, with four picks, and one contest not vetted, the betting lines appear to be in touch with the Raiders posting a winning season. Just splitting the four pick 'em games gets Oakland to nine wins. However, winning the AFC West may come down to thwarting the Broncos on New Year's Day at Mile High.
Point Spreads for Oakland Raiders weeks 1-16:
Oakland at New Orleans Saints (PK, 50)
Atlanta Falcons at Oakland (-3.5)
Oakland (-2.5) at Tennessee Titans
Oakland at Baltimore Ravens (-2)
San Diego Chargers at Oakland (-4.5)
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland (PK)
Oakland at Jacksonville Jaguars (PK)
Oakland at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PK)
Denver Broncos (-1) at Oakland
Houston Texans at Oakland (-2)
Carolina Panthers (-3) at Oakland
Buffalo Bills at Oakland (-1.5)
Oakland at Kansas City (-4.5)
Oakland (-1) at San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts at Oakland (-1)
Oakland at Denver Broncos (No Line)
See betting lines for all 32 teams here.