Raider Bets: Best Ravens at Raiders Wagers

What word is the opposite of “self-aware”? Is it “self-unaware” or “un-selfaware” or my personal favorite: the Always Sunny-inspired “self-birdbrained”?

Determining the correct hyphenate was the over-coffee conversation with my wife this morning. We eventually settled on “self-oblivious.”

Ah the glamor of love.

But no matter which word you prefer, you don’t want to lack self-awareness if/when you bet your favorite team. That’s a recipe for a sportsbook balance of $0.00 and/or a more unpleasant conversation with your significant other. Instead, the best tack is a wisdom-of-the-crowds approach, which posits that the best predictor is to average lots of predictions and opinions.

Such an approach would have spared the Raiders the embarrassment of over-drafting and then cutting Tanner Muse. It will also spare readers of this column from placing ill-advised bets on their favorite team. We all want the Raiders to go 17-0 while re-writing the record books, but betting on that would be self-birdbrained.

On to this week’s bets, starting with game bets and ending with player props.

Point Spread

The tickets and cash are equally in favor of the Ravens, suggesting the sharps and the casual bettor are in lockstep:

Spread Details Ravens Raiders
Point Spread -4.5 +4.5
Ticket Percentage 72% 28%
Cash Percentage 71% 29%

The Ravens are 5-0 in their last 5 games against the spread, while the Raiders are 1-4, so the money is on the right side of recent history. But, sometimes, the smart play is to make no play at all, which I believe is the case here. The Raiders have a path to victory and the spread is 0.5 too many according to Pro Football Focus.

Wager: Pass.


The key takeaway here is that 66% of the money is on the over despite the fact that a majority of the tickets have been placed on the under:

Total Details Over Under
Total 50.5 50.5
Ticket Percentage 44% 56%
Cash Percentage 66% 34%

That discrepancy suggests one thing: large bets are being placed on the over. And for good reason. The totals have gone over in each of the Raiders last 5 games and in the 3 of the last 5 Ravens games.

Wager: 1 unit | -110 | Draft Kings

Player Props

These will be updated as more sportsbooks release them. As I write this, only Draft Kings has props listed for the Raiders game and there are three I like.

1. Henry Ruggs Over Receptions
2.5 receptions
Projection*: 3.6 receptions
Book: DraftKings
Bet: Over (-120)
Notes: Ruggs cleared this number in half his starts last season. More importantly, he closed the season with 3+ receptions in 4 of his last 5 games. Most importantly, Gruden is hellbent to prove Ruggs was a good draft pick. Last season says Ruggs has a better than average chance to hit this over. Offseason narrative – and Gruden’s stubbornness – bumps it into a good chance.
Wager: 1 unit

2. Derek Carr Over Passing Yards
Line: 259.5
Projection*: 273.7
Book: Draft Kings
Bet: Over (-115)
Notes: If you remove the Charger game, in which he was injured, Carr averaged 270 yards passing last season. He finished the season even stronger, throwing for a minimum of 316 yards in each of his last four complete games. The Ravens, meanwhile, have finished as a top-five defense the last two seasons, but each year their pass defense struggled out of the gate.  In the first four games of 2019, the Ravens allowed an average of 302 yards passing. In the first four games of 2020, that average was 270.
Wager: 0.5 unit

3. Josh Jacobs Over Rush Attempts
Line: 13.5
Book: DraftKings
Bet: Over (+100)
Notes: Jacobs went over 13.5 carries in 11 of his 15 starts last season. After a preseason in which he did not play a down, Jacobs will never be more rested and ready for a large workload than he is now.
Wager: 0.5 unit

*Average of projections by Pro Football Focus and Fantasy Pros rounded to the hundredth.

Twitter: @TravisGilkeson