The fact that Antonio Brown is making waves off the field in Oakland should surprise absolutely no one. There’s a reason why the Steelers were happy to get rid of one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL. The Pittsburgh locker room had grown weary of Brown’s antics. Now it’s time for the Raiders to learn that hard lesson.
Brown’s decision to get into a heated exchange with Raiders’ GM Mike Mayock has earned him a suspension. We don’t know exactly how many games he’s slated to miss, but this incident still should change how you feel about Oakland’s prospects for the season. As always, there’s value to be mined whenever a big incident changes a star player’s availability.
There’s no reason you should have been wagering on the Raiders to do anything successful this season. If you foolishly chose to back them to win the division or make the playoffs then there’s nothing we can really do to help you. Actually, we can encourage you to consult Oddschecker.com before you light your hard-earned cash on fire in the future. Otherwise, you can consider those bets a sunk cost.
The opportunity here lies in banging the Raiders’ under. Interestingly, the win total of 6.5 really hasn’t moved in response to Brown’s suspension. There’s some solid logic to that line of thinking. If you’re inclined to believe Brown will only miss one or two games before returning to action, it’s reasonable to think the suspension won’t really change the trajectory of the 2019 season for Jon Gruden and company.
Unfortunately for Raiders fans, that’s way too much optimism for realistic sports bettors to stomach. It’s much more likely that Brown missing a game or two now is going to run his relationship with multiple people inside Oakland’s franchise. That means he’s going to struggle to find motivation to play at his best this season.
That could end up being a nightmare for Gruden and his coaching staff. Even with a happy and healthy Brown in the fold, there are serious questions about whether or not this offense has enough talent to move the ball consistently. At best, Derek Carr is an adequate starting quarterback. He will need above average weapons around him to craft a top-10 offense.
After Brown, the bet hope the Raiders have at wide receiver is free agent acquisition Tyrell Williams. We like his athleticism, but nothing about his time with the Chargers screams potential stardom. Again, we’re talking about a guy who might develop into a slightly above-average starter if everything goes right. If things go wrong, we could be talking about a major free agency bust.
The Raiders are also relying on a rookie to get their moribund ground game going. Josh Jacobs has talent, but trusting a first year player to be your primary running back is always a risk. I like Jacobs’ talent quite a bit, but it’s going to be tough for him to hold up as an above average player for a full 16-game NFL schedule.
If you are under the delusion that Oakland’s defense might be able to power them to seven or more wins, you need to think again. There is more talent on that side of the ball for Gruden to work with this year, but this team was historically bad at rushing the passer in 2018. They have a long way to go before they can sniff the middle of the pack in terms of quarterback sacks and/or pressures.
Add it all up and there’s a risk for real disaster for Oakland this year. When you are considering your over/under bets, it’s all about identifying what you believe the range of potential outcomes is for the team in question. Yes, it’s possible the Raiders could scratch out a 7-9 or even 8-8 record if everything goes right.
However, it’s must more likely they’ll finish 4-12 or 5-11. The combustible nature of Brown only adds to the idea that you should be laying money down on Oakland’s under. Placing your under bet at 6.5 is an easy decision. You can even consider pushing the total lower with a higher payout if you want to take a comfortable swing at a bigger payout.