Raiders Stats and Storylines: Week 15 Edition

Welcome to a special Monday edition of Raiders Stats and Storylines.

The past week has certainly not been lacking in the storyline department. The postmortem of the Raiders’ worst loss in a half-century-plus rivalry with the Chiefs included rumors and innuendo regarding everything from 2022 coaching candidates to the future of quarterback Derek Carr.

Meanwhile, the look-ahead to the Browns game has been equally full of news and speculation. In a matchup of two AFC playoff contenders, the game has been overshadowed by COVID and its implications, with the Browns — at one point — only having 26 players available who played the previous week.

Consequently, the main storyline this week is an NFL one: The league backtracking on their off-season decision regarding COVID outbreaks:

While the decision to move the game from Saturday to Monday could negatively affect the Raiders’ already-slim playoff hopes, I believe the league got it right. In a crowded AFC playoff picture, the postseason participants shouldn’t be decided by a short-handed game or a forfeit.

And speaking of this game and the playoffs, let’s return the focus to the field and take a look at the Raiders odds for both.

1. Raiders/Browns Odds

It’s not too often that you see a team’s point spread swing more than 10 points. Then again, it’s not often that a head coach, quarterback and 25 other players test positive for an infectious disease and become questionable to play.

But that’s been the case with the Raiders this week, who’ve seen their fortunes change twice:

As of Monday morning, the Raiders are getting 3 points and are +140 on the moneyline, meaning that the sportsbooks give them a 41.7% chance of winning.

2. Sunday’s Games Hurt Raiders Playoff Odds

Sunday saw the Colts, Bills, Dolphins and Bengals win. Consequently, the Raiders razor-thin playoff hopes took a hit, lowering from 7% to 5%, according to The Upshot. That said, a game against a fellow AFC playoff hopeful presents an opportunity to double those chances:

Of course, 11% is still a low number, especially with so few games left. But it’s a hell of a lot bigger than 1%, making the Browns game a crucial one.

3. Raiders Over-Exceeding?

In the final quarter of a season that’s seen the Raiders go from division leaders to 13th in the AFC standings, it’s easy for a Raider fan to channel their inner Fred Williard and ask “wha’ happened?

While there are lots of answers to that question, one of the more interesting facts about this team is that, per Sebastian Carl, they’ve actually exceeded expectations:

The question of, course, is what expectation have they overexceeded? The answer is the expectation that their point differential creates. And, with a point differential of -77, it’s clear that the Raiders are now a below-average team overall.

4. Point Differential in Wins vs. Losses

Taking a deeper dive into point differential reveals another interesting tidbit about this team. Per Football Perspective, the Raiders have the third-highest points differential per game in losses and the eighth-lowest point differential per game in wins:

In other words, the Raiders have been on the winning end of close games and the losing end of blowouts. It accounts for why their actual wins are more than their projected, pythagorean win total.

5. Offense Can’t Stay on the Field

So why do the Raiders have such a bad point differential? There are an abundance of ways to answer that, so let’s home in on a few facets of this team that are consistently lacking, starting with stagnancy on offense.

Ben Baldwin tracks offensive series results and ranks teams based on how often their series results in either a first down or a touchdown. A simple enough concept that highlights a team’s ability to generate offense. And one that does not favor the Raiders:

Among the teams grouped with the Raiders at 70% or below, there is not a single team who’d currently make the playoffs. No matter what you consider the reason (stubbornness in the run game, subpar receivers and lack of creativity are my personal favorites), it’s obvious that the Raiders offense is not playoff-caliber.

6. Defense Can’t Get Off It

Let’s switch sides to the defense, where Ben Baldwin has a similar metric. And, unfortunately, it’s more of the same:

Once again, the Raiders are on the bottom end of the graph. While the Chiefs and Chargers seem destined for the playoffs, the rest of the teams in the Raiders zone appear destined to stay home. For all the improvement the defense has seen, an inability to create turnovers and get off the field remain deficiencies.

7. Combined Offensive/Defensive Efforts Puts Team in Lousy Company

An obvious takeaway: If your offense is subpar when it comes to staying on the field and your defense is subpar on getting off it, your overall team is going to be subpar. And that’s exactly what the data shows, when you combine the two metrics from Ben Baldwin:

The Bears, Lions, Falcons and Jets are not the company you want to keep. The fact that the Raiders are playing offense and defense like those teams is a major reason they’ll likely be drafting near them next April.

8. Dropped Passes Hurting Offense

There are many, many other metrics we could analyze to show what ails the Raiders. This column has beaten Bisaccia’s poor in-game decision-making like a dead horse and previously broken down the lack of offensive creativity. And Raiders Beat has already published a thorough breakdown of one of the more flummoxing problems: The lack of play-action passing.

So let’s pivot to a new problem, dropped passes, where the Raiders are tenth-worst in the NFL, per Anthony Reinhard:

The gist: The Raiders have lost over 40 expected points just to dropped passes. Making the dropped passes worse is the lack of separation the Raiders outside receivers get. That combo of not getting open and dropping passes makes upgrading the non-Hunter Renfrow receiving options next offseason an important priority.

9. Penalties Once Again a Problem

What list of Raiders problems would be complete without penalties? Unsurprisingly, per Anthony Reinhard, the Raiders have been the fifth-most negatively affected team by penalties:

The good news: The Raiders play the team most affected by penalties this week. Will that rare advantage be enough to help the Raiders win? Normally, I’d say to tune into the wagers column to find out. But not this week. Instead, you just need to tune one storyline down.

10. Raiders Wagers and Predictions

How do you bet a game that was postponed two days, has seen the point spread fluctuate wildly and has seen an opponent decimated by COVID? The answer: Instead of the game, bet on the “slot machine,” Hunter Renfrow. He’s again plus money (+125) to eclipse 6.5 catches and that’ll continue to be an automatic bet for me.

2021 Recommended-Wager Record: 23-12

Twitter: @TravisGilkeson


8 thoughts on “Raiders Stats and Storylines: Week 15 Edition

  1. OK I was an English major and I’m not much of a gambler, but how does being favored by three points mean the line gives them less than a 50% chance of winning?

      1. Nope, my bad- thought the line was continuing the Browns COVID trend instead of bouncing back to them in my early morning blur. Thanks!

  2. We don’t want to jeopardize our 2022 draft spot looking like we can be in the top 10 .
    Play like **** Deric Carr cause you are a check down Charlie!

    1. Everyone that follows this team knows what Mr. Carr offers, but nobody really has a grasp as to what No. 8 has to offer.

    2. Jerry’s kid . . Derrick Carr has the second most passing yards in the NFL. He’s doing that with a crappie offensive line and no Ruggs or Waller! Without Carr’s outstanding play against the Browns yesterday. . Raiders had zero chance of winning. Grow a brain.

  3. It’s easy to take this lost against the Browns.
    The Raiders are just not a good team.
    Not well coach, not a good QB.
    It’s really time for changes!!!
    It’s better to just blow this whole things up.
    Carr well???? Enough said!!!

Comments are closed.