We. Have. Made. It.
The NFL season is finally upon us, with the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos kicking off in Denver at 1:25 p.m. on Sunday and in light of that I’ve decided the best way to preview the 2023 Raiders season was with my five favorite preseason bets. When I sat down to write, everything was on the table — win totals, player props, even the Week 1 lines if I wanted them at BetOnline.AG — and after crunching the numbers, watching the tape, and gauging my gut I’ve picked out some guaranteed winners. So, without further ado, my five favorite bets…
Josh Jacobs OVER 1,050.5 yards rushing (-120)
My favorite bets on the board were all revolving around the Raiders running back — who made it onto the roster in time for Week 1. The only real question here with Jacobs is his health, but having played 60 games over the past four seasons (and knowing his contract is up at the end of the year), I feel pretty good about how the numbers shake out. Last season, Jacobs led the NFL in rushing with 1,653 yards so to lose this bet would require a decrease of more than 600 yards in 2023. Given the contract situation (the Raiders aren’t committed to him long-term, so they can run him into the ground if they want) and the fact that backup Zamir White was underwhelming in the preseason, I think this is pretty comfortable over for me. Heck, I looked at his odds to lead the league in rushing again (+1500) and might sprinkle a bit there as well.
Jimmy Garoppolo UNDER 3,250.5 yards passing (-125)
Above I said that I feel good betting on Jacobs’ health, but the same cannot be said for Jimmy Garoppolo. He has only gone over this number of passing yards twice in his career, and both of those seasons saw him play in 15+ games. Given the almost 32-year-old’s health history, that doesn’t feel like a super safe bet, and so I like the under here. It also doesn’t hurt that the Raiders might stink — in which case rookie Aidan O’Connell could find his way onto the field with or without a major injury.
Maxx Crosby OVER 11.5 sacks (-120)
On the defensive side of the ball, I’ll give you a two-for-one bet here with Crosby and Jones. For Crosby, this is a number he has only hit once before (last season) — and that required perfect health for 17 games. That said, I think the tenacious edge rusher gets a bit more help from his defensive backfield this season — meaning he converts a handful of his league-high pressures into sacks, clearing the 12+ number easily.
On the other side of the line, however, I’m not buying that Chandler Jones will be dramatically better this season — in fact, I think it’s only a matter of time before first-round pick Tyree Wilson takes his edge rusher spot on obvious passing downs, especially with the current situation.
Davante Adams 100+ yards in 8+ games (+100)
Even though I’m taking the under on Jimmy G’s passing yards, it’s not because I don’t think the offense will be productive — I just don’t know who is going to be throwing passes. For Adams, a guy who has missed just 13 games in nine seasons, the consistency of his production year-to-year has been astonishing. He has now gone over 1,300 yards in four of the last five seasons, and has eclipsed 100 catches in three straight. This bet, however, is more on a game-to-game basis — but it’s because of his consistency that I like the odds here. Adams went over 100 exactly eight times last season — and had a ninth game where he was at 95 yards receiving. In year two with Josh McDaniels, I think there’s an emphasis on getting Adams the ball a lot — which means a lot of 100+ yard games.
Raiders UNDER 6.5 wins (-140)
The final bet here isn’t one most people will want to see, but if you read my final bold prediction piece from the preseason, you’re not surprised. I think 2023 is going to be a tough year for the Raiders — in part because of how the schedule breaks down for them. I struggle to find games they’re going to be favored in, and so when I look at the 6.5 number it seems way too high for me. Heck, would anyone be surprised if 12 weeks into the season the Raiders decide losing football games is in their best interest? I wouldn’t be shocked personally, which is why I like the under. I actually predicted three wins this season, and so there are even some alternate lines out there if you want to get aggressive — +500 if you want to go under 3.5 wins, +250 if you go under 4.5 wins and +120 if you go under 5.5 wins.
As for my prediction in Week 1? Be on the lookout for my weekly preview piece, posting every Friday with my thoughts on the upcoming game and my favorite picks from the weekend.