The Oakland Raiders are a trendy pick to unseat the New England Patriots following a surprising 12-win 2016 campaign. It makes sense to an extent given that Oakland boasts one of the best young teams in the NFL.
In Las Vegas, the future home of the Raiders, this is magnified a bit more. Optimism about professional football in the desert metropolis has paved the way for the Raiders themselves to draw the most bets to win the Super Bowl.
“This offseason, more bets have been placed on the Raiders to win the Super Bowl than on any other team at sportsbooks around town,” ESPN reported Wednesday.
In some cases, the Raiders are now 6-to-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl. This comes after they opened up with 20-to-1 odds. Even then, the New England Patriots remain odds-on favorites to repeat as champs with 3-to-1 odds.
The Raiders themselves becoming a fashionable pick makes sense. Derek Carr is well on his way to becoming an elite-level quarterback after signing the richest contract in league history during the offseason. Oakland also boasts one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and two 1,000-yard receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
On the other side of the ball, pass rusher Khalil Mack is coming off a 2016 season that saw him earn Defensive Player of the Year honors.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with the Las Vegas angle,” Westgate assistant manager Ed Salmons said. “Last year, the Raiders played really high-scoring games, and they started covering spreads. That is just the dynamic of a public team.”
That’s the running theory in Vegas. It’s not just Raiders fans heading to Sin City to place bets on their team. Instead, there seems to be a widespread belief that this squad could very well dethrone the Patriots. Whether that happens remains to be seen.