At the press conference at which Jon Gruden was announced as the then-Oakland Raiders’ new and once-again head coach, owner Mark Davis (the son of Al) professed that he had been pursuing Gruden for years, trying to convince him to return.
At the time Gruden had a right to feel pretty secure, as he had a ten-year contract worth $100 million.
But now, BetAnySports patrons have to be wondering what kind of buyout clause Gruden has. Davis has full knowledge of it, of course, but will he consider exercising it after the season if the guys in Silver-and-Black miss out on the playoffs?
In this go-around, Gruden is 25-39 straight-up (27-35-2 against the spread) with the Raiders, now having relocated to the Las Vegas strip and the spiffy new Allegiant Stadium. And he’s been out of the playoffs all four years.
So who knows what the future might hold for Gruden, and for quarterback Derek Carr, who puts up good numbers (over 4100 yards last season), but is not exactly a fixture in the post-season. Might Gruden give former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota a chance to stir things up in the offense, should things start to look dreary?
Exactly what can the Raiders accomplish? In the pro football futures odds posted at BetAnySports, they are not expected to set the world on fire:
Las Vegas Raiders Over 7 Wins -160
Las Vegas Raiders Under 7 Wins +130
In terms of who is here and who isn’t, the Raiders saw their best receiver from last season (Nelson Agholor) take off for New England. But they have a chance to be more dangerous with speedy John Brown, although he never seems to stay healthy.
We would imagine Gruden is going to concentrate his efforts on running the football, which would have to explain why Kenyan Drake was signed to an $11 million contract to join the established Josh Jacobs.
By all accounts, the Raiders had a capable offensive line, doing a pretty decent job of keeping Carr’s jersey clean. But they traded away three members of that line – tackle Trent Brown, guard Gabe Jackson and center Rodney Hudson – were traded, so in some ways it is back to square one. It is obvious that they’re counting an awful lot on first-round pick Alex Leatherwood, who won the Outland Trophy while at Alabama and is expected to slide into the right tackle position, although he’s been a bit slow in adjusting.
There were only a handful of teams that surrendered more yardage per play than the Raiders did last season. And none of those teams went to the playoffs. The bottom line – only Jacksonville and Detroit gave up more than Las Vegas’ 29.9 ppg. So out went coordinator Paul Guenther, who Gruden had snatched away from the Bengals, and in comes Gus Bradley, who used to handle the “Legion of Boom” in Seattle (and had a rough time as head coach in Jacksonville).
In order to evaluate the chances of the Raiders to top their posted number (remember that this is a 17-game season), you probably have to look closely at what they’re facing in the AFC West. It is the opinion here that the Denver Broncos will be improved, particularly on defense, and the Los Angeles Chargers will electrify themselves a bit more with the arrival of head coach Brandon Staley.
Then, of course, there are the Kansas City Chiefs.
Las Vegas has a challenging non-division schedule that includes the likes of Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, Cleveland and Indianapolis. I feel as if there is real danger of regressing on their part.
So it might be harder than you think for them to climb past seven wins. Rather, the UNDER in this futures prop looks like the more judicious way to go. It’s priced at +130 at BetAnySports, where you are always going to find some interesting props and futures to look at, with reduced juice and live betting (through Super Lines and Ultimate Lines) on every NFL game!