Raiders Week 1 Preview: Jimmy Garoppolo Debuts Against Sean Payton’s Broncos
Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders
Aug 13, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) reacts before the game against the San Francisco 49ers Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Things couldn’t have gone worse for the Denver Broncos and new quarterback Russell Wilson last season, but with new head coach Sean Payton comes not only a chance to reset — but some real expectations. In many ways, it’s the opposite of how things seem for the Las Vegas Raiders and second-year coach Josh McDaniels. While Denver has the optimism of newness, the Raiders are fighting the disappointment of 2022 while keeping the new coach who oversaw it.

Then again, come Sunday none of this really matters, does it? Once the 2023 season kicks off, all is forgotten and what’s right in front of us gets magnified — good, bad or ugly.

At 1:25 p.m. PST, the Raiders will be in Denver, a ball will get kicked off, and all of our questions will start to get answered — starting with a big one: How is this game going to go?

Each week I’ll be in this space previewing the game ahead through the prism of bets I like, lines I’m jumping on, and ones I’m staying away from via BetOnline.AG.

So, starting with Week 1 let’s dive in…

Josh McDaniels, Raiders
Jul 31, 2023; Henderson, NV, USA; Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniel during training camp at the Intermountain Health Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders 1st Quarter Moneyline (+475)

Hey, some optimism!?! Sure — give me the Raiders to win the first quarter because they’ve got the benefit of continuity that could help them start clicking right out of the gates. Not only that but keep in mind that in order for the Raiders to be able to blow as many leads as they did, they needed to acquire them first! Oh, and over the last three weeks of last season, the Raiders were sixth in the league in first-quarter points.

Aidan O'Connell, Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders
Aug 13, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) and quarterback Aidan O’Connell (4) watch from the sidelines against the San Francisco 49ers in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Total Touchdowns OVER 2.5 (+135)

One of the pieces of Jimmy Garoppolo’s game that is a clear upgrade over Derek Carr is his efficiency within the red zone. Combine that with Josh Jacobs’ ability to fight through arm tackles and earn an extra yard pretty consistently, and I think the Raiders will be able to score on Sunday. Three touchdowns? Plus 155?! Let’s get it.

Josh Jacobs, Raiders
Matthew Stockman-Getty Images

Josh Jacobs UNDER 105.5 rushing yards (-120)

I like Jacobs to have another big year this season, but after missing all of training camp, I struggle to see how he hits the ground running in Week 1. Instead, I think he’s on a pitch count of sorts (15ish touches), which makes 91 yards of total offense feel like a long shot. So, yes: over on his season-long props [link], but under in Week 1.

Davante Adams, Raiders
Dec 4, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) walks off the field after the Raiders defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 27-20 at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Davante Adams OVER 70.5 receiving yards (-115)

I know he’ll be matched up against Pat Surtain II — one of the best corners in the league — but I tend to believe good offense beats good defense, and Adams remains one of the best receivers in the league. Last season against the Broncos, Adams went for 101 yards (Week 4) and 141 yards (Week 10) and while I think Garoppolo replacing Derek Carr is ultimately a downgrade for Adams, getting to 71 yards shouldn’t be an issue.

Raiders, Broncos
Nov 20, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Empower Field at Mile High holds a moment of silence in support of Club Q in Colorado Springs before the start of the game between the Las Vegas Raiders against the Denver Broncos. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos -3.5 (-170)

At the time of writing, the line has come down a half-point which makes me like Denver even more. I know I’ve got a lot of offensive optimism for the Raiders above, but I just don’t think that on the road they can be consistent enough for four quarters at altitude. Sean Payton is immediately one of the best coaches in the league, so the adjustments he is going to make should lead to plenty of second-half points and yet another end-of-game-what-could-have-been for Josh McDaniels and Co.