Raiders

Raiders

The oddsmakers in the Raiders' new home aren't high on their chances to make the NFL playoffs.

Las Vegas-based Caesars Sportsbook listed the Silver and Black at +320 odds (bet $100 to win $320), making the Raiders the AFC West's longest shot to make the NFL playoffs in the 2020 season. The Raiders, conversely, are the biggest favorites in the division to miss the playoffs with -400 odds (bet $400 to win $100).

Caesars gave the Raiders and Denver Broncos joint-worst odds to win the AFC West (10-1), and Las Vegas also has the lowest OVER/UNDER in the division with seven wins. The Raiders, strangely, are tied for the AFC's sixth-best odds to make the Super Bowl (30-1).

Yes, you read that right. The Raiders have better odds to make the Super Bowl than three teams in their own division who have better odds to make the playoffs.

Standing in the Raiders' (and Broncos' and Los Angeles Chargers') way of making the playoffs are the Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champions. But there are now three wild-card spots up for grabs as opposed to two, following the NFL playoffs' expansion last month.

Eight wins are what the Raiders need to hit their OVER, and it would've got them into the playoffs last season had the new format been in place then. So, do the Raiders have eight wins on their 2020 schedule?

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The Raiders went 4-4 in 2019 against five of their 2020 opponents (Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers, Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets). The Silver and Black's defense will be much-improved in 2020 following a flurry of free-agent activity, so the Raiders probably will beat the Jets (they're the Jets, after all) next season. The Colts are much better, too, so let's give the Raiders a 4-4 record against those same opponents next season.

What about the rest of their opponents? The New Orleans Saints still are Super Bowl contenders, while the Buffalo Bills have an opening in the AFC East after they acquired Stefon Diggs and Tom Brady left the New England Patriots. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be better after signing Brady, while the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins won't be surefire wins once they each draft a top quarterback next week.

The Patriots also are on the Raiders' schedule, but I'll believe they've truly dropped off -- even after losing Brady -- when I see it (and I still might not believe it). The Raiders also will play the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns next season, who went a combined 18-30 last season.

So can the Raiders find (at least) four wins among those remaining opponents? They're set to play the Falcons, Panthers and Browns on the road next season, but home dates with the Bucs, Bengals, Dolphins and Saints during their first season in Las Vegas could level the proverbial playing field.

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Two home wins against rookie QBs and two road victories over last season's NFC South cellar-dwellers and/or the Browns (they're the Browns, after all) would get the Raiders to eight, assuming they maintain a 4-4 record against their 2019 opponents. That seems doable given their offseason improvements, but it's no guarantee, considering the Raiders' expected win-loss record -- per Pro Football Reference -- in 2019 was about 5-11.

If you think the Raiders added (at least) three wins in value over 2019, you can get a nice return on betting the Silver and Black to make the playoffs whenever the next season is played.