Keep Winning, Baby: Undefeated Raiders Favored For First Time This NFL Season

Written By Marc Meltzer on September 24, 2021

The Las Vegas Raiders are off to a hot start to the season thanks in part to an MVP-like performance from quarterback Derek Carr. While Carr is playing out of his mind, two other AFC players of the week have helped propel the Raiders to a 2-0 record out of the gate.

Defensive end Maxx Crosby earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week after the first game of the season against the Baltimore Ravens. And last week, kicker Daniel Carlson was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after the Raiders victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Raiders return to Allegiant Stadium for a 1 p.m. matchup against the Miami Dolphins, who limp into Las Vegas this weekend. Their starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, has been ruled out for the game due to fractured ribs. Jacoby Brissett will get the start against the Raiders.

The injury hasn’t changed the betting odds much. According to BetMGM, the Raiders are -4 favorites, and the over/under total is 45.5.

Raiders QB Derek Carr flying into NFL MVP conversation

Derek Carr led the Raiders to a 33-27 overtime victory in the first game of the season, against the visiting Ravens on Monday Night Football. Carr hit wide receiver Zay Jones with a 31-yard strike to end the game in overtime. Altogether, Carr threw for 435 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

He followed up the home victory with 382 yards on the road in a 26-17 win against the Steelers. In that game, Carr tossed two more touchdowns, including a monster 61-yard pass to second-year wideout Henry Ruggs III.

Carr has passed for 817 yards (most in the NFL) and four touchdowns in the first two games of the season. He’ll step onto the field at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday with a 104.1 quarterback rating. More important, the Raiders are undefeated and are in a tie for first place in the AFC West.

A victory against the Dolphins will give the Raiders their first 3-0 start since 2002.

The hot start for Carr has cut his NFL MVP odds from 50-1 to 25-1 at BetMGM. The Raiders quarterback is now being considered a dark-horse candidate for NFL MVP.

Raiders odds changes for NFL betting

The Raiders are also 2-0 against the spread after two games. Obviously that is the byproduct of Vegas winning two straight as underdogs. This week, because of the team’s unbeaten record and the caliber of opponent, the Raiders enter Week 3 in a different position against the Dolphins.

Las Vegas is favored for the first time (-4) this season, which was already the case even before the Dolphins announced Tua Tagovailoa would miss the game.

The fast start by the Raiders has significantly lowered their futures betting outlook. Most significantly, the Raiders’ odds to win the AFC and Super Bowl have been cut by more than 50% each. Take a look at current BetMGM odds compared to earlier this year when the 2021 NFL schedule was released.

  • AFC West: +1,100 (was +1,600)
  • AFC Championship: +1,800 (was +4,000)
  • Super Bowl: +3,500 (was +8,000)
  • Will the Raiders make the playoffs? Yes +110 (was +310), No -130 (was -400)
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year winner: Trevon Moehrig +2,500 (same)
  • NFL MVP: Derek Carr +2500 (was +5,000)

Expect to see the Raiders’ odds continue to drop if the team defeats the Dolphins this week.

Raiders part of huge 16-leg parlay win

Last week, a BetMGM player outside of Nevada used a $25 promotional free bet on a 16-leg NFL moneyline parlay. The player took both favorites and underdogs.

The Raiders did their part as a +190 underdog to defeat the Steelers. If all parlay selections were correct, the player would have taken home $726,959. Here’s the 16-leg wager:

  • Washington Football Team -175
  • Chicago Bears -130
  • Cleveland Browns -650
  • Los Angeles Rams -190
  • Buffalo Bills -175
  • New England Patriots -250
  • San Francisco 49ers -160
  • Las Vegas Raiders +190
  • Carolina Panthers +150
  • Denver Broncos -275
  • Arizona Cardinals -190
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers -650
  • Dallas Cowboys +135
  • Tennessee Titans +190
  • Baltimore Ravens +180
  • Detroit Lions +400

This bettor correctly picked the right side on every game until Monday night, when the Lions lost to the Green Bay Packers. However, BetMGM made sure the player was able to walk away with some money prior to the Lions game on Monday night. The sportsbook made an exception and allowed the bettor to cash out early to win $133,000 before taxes.

This exemption couldn’t happen in Nevada as sportsbooks don’t offer an early cashout option at all.

Photo by AP / Don Wright
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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