An oddsmaker in the Raiders' new home really likes the Silver and Black's chances to prove some of his peers wrong.
Ed Salmons, vice president of risk at Westgate sportsbook, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Todd Dewey the Raiders will win seven games "at a minimum" in 2020. Circa and William Hill set Las Vegas' over/under at 7 1/2 (Under -125 and -110, respectively) for next season, while Caesars Entertainment's number is 7 (Over -125).
“They will go as far as the quarterbacks take them this year," Salmons said. "Defense must step up this year, and with [safety Johnathan Abram] back, they can be improved on that side of the ball.”
The Raiders went 7-9 in 2019, but their Pythagorean win total was closer to 5-11 due to a negative-106 point differential. General manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden revamped the defense in free agency and added speed and versatility on offense in last week's NFL draft, selecting wide receivers Henry Ruggs (No. 12 overall), Bryan Edwards (No. 80) and Lynn Bowden (No. 81).
Salmons is high on the Raiders' "really good" rookie class, especially on offense.
“The Raiders really have a lot of weapons going into this year,” Salmons said. “It’s a shame they’re in the AFC West because it’s the toughest division in the NFL. But the team has a ton of speed and will be entertaining to watch. It will be interesting to see how Gruden can sculpt that together. If they can get anything from their quarterback play, (Derek) Carr or (Marcus) Mariota, they should score some serious points from all over the field.”
How the Raiders' rookies acclimate will go a long way towards Las Vegas taking another step forward in the third season of Gruden's second stint in silver and black.
If they hit the ground running, Salmons' belief won't seem so far-fetched.