After finishing the 2022 campaign with a disappointing 6-11 record, the outlook for the Las Vegas Raiders' upcoming season is just as bleak. DraftKings Sportsbook—and most other betting outlets—have set the Raiders’ win total for 2023 at just 7.5. That’s down by a full win from August of last year.
To make matters worse, DraftKings has the under as the heavy favorite with a -150 payout compared to +130 for the over. No other team in the league has lower odds for the under or higher odds for the over. Also, one of the team’s longest-tenured beat writers/insiders, The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, recently took the under for the Silver and Black in his over/under win total column for all 32 teams, as Tafur’s rationale is explained below.
Under 7.5 (-150)
Last season, I loved the Broncos under, but the wise guys made it -160, which made it hard to recommend as a best bet. There was no value there. Same here. The Raiders roster is worse than it was last year, when it was 6-11 with Josh Jacobs leading the league in rushing. Jacobs is great, but that’s not happening again. The Raiders have a late bye (Week 13), which is great if you are getting ready for a postseason run. But there are a couple of brutal stretches in the schedule — including the first four games — that make that seem far-fetched, even if Jimmy Garoppolo stays healthy.
It’s hard to argue with Tafur’s logic. Las Vegas’ defense will be missing three key players from a year ago; linebacker Denzel Perryman, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and safety Duron Harmon.
Perryman and Harmon accounted for two-thirds of the defense’s interceptions last year, while Ya-Sin served as the top cornerback and ranked second on the team with seven passes defended in 11 games. Granted, Harmon is still available as a free agent if the Raiders’ brass wants to bring him back.
Offensively, going from Derek Carr to Garoppolo feels like a lateral move at best and the front office did nothing to improve a shaky offensive line from a year ago. The addition of wide receiver Jakobi Meyers does give Garoppolo another weapon to throw to, but it seemingly came at the cost of tight end Darren Waller. The Raiders did replace Waller with rookie Michael Mayer, but expecting a rookie to immediately fill in for a former Pro Bowler in year one is a lofty expectation.
Plus, as Tafur mentions, Las Vegas’ schedule is brutal. Pro Football Focus recently stated that the Silver and Black have the sixth-hardest schedule heading into the season and projected their win total at just seven, adding more reason to bet the under.
Who knows, maybe the Raiders end up surprising everyone in the fall but things certainly don’t look promising heading into the summer.
For those curious, Tafur also took the under for the Kansas City Chiefs at 11.5 and the over for the Los Angeles Chargers at 9.5 and the Denver Broncos at 8.5. That would put the Raiders in last place in the AFC West, barring a meteoric collapse from the defending champs.