Raiders in Vegas: Odds It All Goes Awry

Uh oh, Sin City is getting an NFL team.

Earlier this week, the NFL owners voted 31-1 in favor of Mark Davis’ application to relocate his team from Oakland to Las Vegas. While the move will have clear benefits for the franchise — like a brand-new stadium and nearly a billion dollars in public funding — it will also present challenges for the Raiders. Las Vegas is the spot guys go to find a little action in their down time. Led by baby-faced stars like Derek Carr (26), Amari Cooper (22), and Khalil Mack (26), Oakland may want to covertly implant a few tracking chips on their more valuable assets.

The franchise will have some time to hone its prevent (off-field trouble) defense, of course. The move won’t take place until the 2019-2020 season at the earliest. So Carr, Cooper, and Mack will be world-weary vets by then. Also, the oft-arrested and currently suspended Aldon Smith should be off the roster at that point.

Still, there’s no shortage of trouble awaiting under the Strip’s neon lights. Will that lead to a slew of Raider arrests? Will this move to Vegas work out long-term? And, if not, where will the constantly relocating franchise head next? Those are just some of the pressing questions we’re answering today!

Las Vegas Raiders: Odds and Props for Year One

Odds to occur first…

  • a Raider player misses practice: 2/5
  • a Raider player violates the NFL’s gambling policy: 4/1
  • a Raider player is arrested: 10/1

I should clarify. These are the odds of getting caught for these indiscretions. The gambling policy, which prohibits players from participating in activities which “can be perceived as constituting affiliation with or endorsement of gambling or gambling-related activities,” will probably be broken on day one. That’s some broad language. Just ask Tony Romo. But those types of infractions won’t be nearly as conspicuous as when a player inevitably misses practice after, I dunno, partying with Mike Tyson and a tiger?

The arrest odds get better — significantly better — if the oft-arrested and currently suspended Aldon Smith is still technically a Raider when the team moves. I can’t see that being the case. He’ll be on his fifth or sixth DUI by then.

Over/under – date when the first Raider misses a practice: August 1st, 2019

Training camp should begin around July 29th, 2019.

Over/under – number of Raider players and coaches arrested in year one: 1.5

According the the USA Today’s NFL arrests database, no Raiders has been arrested since Kory Sheets was booked for marijuana possession back in 2014.(Aldon Smith was a longtime 49er, remember.) Almost every other NFL team has had a player arrested in the meantime. Nice work, Oakland!

Is their good behavior a product of location? Given what I know about Oakland, and the people who live there, I’m going with no. But Vegas is called Sin City for a reason. There’s a temptress lurking behind every all-you-can eat shrimp buffet.

Odds the first Raider arrest is for …

  • DUI: 5/2
  • Drug possession: 4/1
  • Assault/battery: 4/1
  • Disorderly conduct/public intoxication: 6/1
  • FIELD: 9/2

Over/Under – average attendance for Raider home games in year one: 64,950

Las Vegas Stadium will have a seating capacity of 65,000. If the Raiders can’t sell out all their home games in year one, trouble’s a-brewing.

Over/Under – price of beer at Las Vegas Stadium in year one: $13.50

The Raiders already have the priciest beer in the league at $10.75 a pop. What will that number be three years down the road in a brand-new stadium? Higher, that’s all I know for sure. This isn’t the Atlanta Falcons we’re dealing with here.

Over/under – years the Raiders stay in Vegas: 15.5

Change has been the only constant for the Raiders. This will be the third move for the franchise in roughly 60 years. It started in Oakland (1960), fled for the bright lights of Los Angeles (1982), then came crawling back to Oakland (1995). We don’t know yet if a major sports franchise can work in Vegas, so the O/U falls under their average 20-year residence.

Odds on the next location for the Raiders (after Vegas)

  • Oakland: 7/2
  • Los Angeles: 4/1
  • San Diego: 9/1
  • Toronto: 10/1
  • London: 12/1
  • FIELD: 7/3

Oakland’s the type that will take back an ex; it proved that in ’95. If Vegas isn’t working out in the first five or ten years, the most obvious choice is to hightail it back to the Bay Area again. By that time, the jilted city will be aching for its former lover and may even be willing to move into a bigger, pricier place (i.e. build a new stadium).

You might expect London to have better odds, but it’s going to get an NFL team sooner rather than later. That market will likely be full the next time the Raiders are struck with wanderlust. 

As for La La Land, who knows how long the Rams and Chargers will last there. Twenty years from now, we could all be saying, “how is there no NFL team in that massive Los Angeles market?” Then whatever Davis is running the Raiders will get a not-so-novel idea…

Odds on the next major sports league to have a team in Vegas

  • MLS: 1/9
  • NBA: 12/1
  • MLB: 35/1

The MLS is the odds-on favorite because the league is eager to expand and Vegas is eager to have a team.

The NBA is a lot more likely than the MLB. For starters, the NBA’s popularity is on the rise. Baseball’s is not. Plus, baseball has a much more checkered history with gambling (cough cough Pete Rose). The optics of a move to Vegas would be terrible as long as Charlie Hustle is still banished from the Hall of Fame.

Odds on which NFL Team will move next

  • Jacksonville Jaguars: 3/2
  • Buffalo Bills: 3/1
  • Los Angeles Chargers: 9/1
  • Los Angeles Rams: 15/1
  • Green Bay Packers: 99/1
  • Dallas Cowboys: 500/1
  • New England Patriots: 500/1
  • FIELD: 9/2

Jacksonville is kind of a perfect storm. It’s one of the NFL’s smallest markets; the team has been terrible for a long time; and, because the NFL forced the issue, it already has a following in the league’s preferred expansion city: London.

Photo: by Zennie Abraham (flickr) []


Alexander is the MTS editor-in-chief. Frank, Alex, and Geoff brought him in when they realized that their betting expertise far surpassed their grammatical abilities. He loves overanalyzing college basketball trends. Talking to him during the first weekend of March Madness is like talking to a wall. A very focused wall, but a wall nonetheless.

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