Updated April 28, 2020 - 6:38 pm
Al Davis was obsessed with speed.
By that measure, the late Raiders owner certainly would have approved of the team taking Henry Ruggs — the fastest receiver in the draft — with its first pick as Las Vegas’ NFL franchise.
Longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker Ed Salmons also approved of the Raiders’ draft, which featured three wideouts in their first four picks and what many pundits thought was a reach for former Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette at No. 19.
“The Raiders do things differently. They don’t go by the so-called mock draft value,” said Salmons, Westgate sportsbook vice president of risk. “They isolate the guys they like and take them. In the end, you look at the guys they got and they can play.
“It’s a team now that has just amazing speed on offense.”
The Raiders drafted Lynn Bowden, who played receiver, running back and quarterback last season for Kentucky, at No. 80 and former South Carolina wideout Bryan Edwards at No. 81.
“Ruggs has world-class speed, (Edwards) is healthy and (Bowden) can do so many things,” Salmons said. “I thought they had (a) really good (draft).”
The incoming class will bolster an offense that returns a 1,000-yard rusher in running back Josh Jacobs, a 1,000-yard receiver in tight end Darren Waller and capable wideouts Hunter Renfrow and Tyrell Williams.
“The Raiders really have a lot of weapons going into this year,” Salmons said. “It’s a shame they’re in the AFC West because it’s the toughest division in the NFL. But the team has a ton of speed and will be entertaining to watch. It will be interesting to see how (coach Jon) Gruden can sculpt that together.
“If they can get anything from their quarterback play, (Derek) Carr or (Marcus) Mariota, they should score some serious points from all over the field.”
The Raiders tied for 24th in the league in scoring last season, when they averaged 19.6 points en route to a 7-9 record. Carr tied for 19th in the NFL in touchdown passes with 21.
“Going with wideouts with three of their first four picks, they were really looking to improve the offense and give Derek Carr a lot more weapons,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “He’s got some tools on offense now. There’s a lot more pressure on Carr to produce this year.”
What are the odds?
Carr’s odds to win the NFL MVP award this season are 75-1 at Circa Sports, and Jacobs is 150-1.
The defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs are the NFL’s biggest division favorite at -500 at Circa to win the AFC West. Las Vegas is a 12-1 long shot at Circa to win the division and 24-1 to win the AFC.
The Raiders are 60-1 at MGM Resorts to win the Super Bowl.
Las Vegas is +275 at Circa to make the playoffs, and its season win total is 7½ (Under -125). William Hill also has the Raiders’ win total at 7½ (-110), and Caesars Entertainment has their number at 7 (Over -125).
Circa also offers a prop on the Raiders’ exact number of wins. Seven is the +425 favorite, followed by eight (+475), six (+550) and nine (6-1).
“At a minimum, they will win seven games,” Salmons said. “They will go as far as the quarterbacks take them this year.
“Defense must step up this year, and with (safety Johnathan) Abrams back, they can be improved on that side of the ball.”
Raiders’ 2020 odds
At Circa Sports sportsbook
Win Super Bowl
Over 7½ +105
Under 7½ -125