Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs were 1 of 12 teams to make the playoffs, eventually, become champions by defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. This season will be a little different. For the first time in history, there will be 32 teams competing for 14 spots, instead of the usual 12.
That’s not to say oddsmakers are not up to the challenge to handicap this new playoff format. As we approach the start of the season, and rosters take shape, the playoff odds picture becomes clearer. The Raiders, unfortunately, are currently at long odds to even make the playoffs.
According to our NFL Betting Guide, the Raiders have just a 24.8% chance to make the postseason. That puts them at the bottom of the AFC West division.
Kansas City Chiefs -1800 (92.7%)
Los Angeles Chargers +120 (37.7%)
Denver Broncos +170 (32.1%)
Las Vegas Raiders +220 (24.8%)
Considering the Chargers finished 5-11 last season, were swept by the Raiders, and are still favored above them doesn’t look promising. Worse still, the Broncos who still have not sorted out their quarterback issues and finished last season with an identical 7-9 record to the Raiders, are also picked ahead of the Raiders.
And if that wasn’t enough, only 4 AFC teams are at longer odds than Las Vegas.
New York Jets +340 (19.7%)
Miami Dolphins +375 (16.6%)
Cincinnati Bengals +600 (13.9%)
Jacksonville Jaguars +700 (11.2%)
Overall Raiders Outlook
Last season the Raiders ranked 10th in offensive yards per game. Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs ran for 1,150 yards while averaging 4.8 yards-per-carry and tight end Darren Waller Finish 90 receptions for 1,145 yards in a break-out season. Moving the ball wasn’t a problem, however, scoring was. The Raiders ranked 24th overall in offensive points per game.
Derek Carr put up respectable numbers this past season, however the team still brought in Marcus Mariota who they expect to challenge for the starting position. Wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was drafted out of Alabama and will join Hunter Renfrow, Tyrell Williams, and free-agent Nelson Agholor in what looks to be a very average receiving corps.
On the other side of the ball, the Raiders did upgrade their defense during the offseason by signing former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Cory Littleton and Chicago Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. Littleton is among the best cover linebackers in the NFL and Kwiatkoski should help solidify the defensive front against the run similarly to the way he did in Chicago.
The Raiders ranked second to last in team defense last season so there is almost nowhere to go but up. However, in what is likely to be a pass-happy AFC West it’s probably not going to be enough.