The curtain is coming down Sunday on the Black Hole of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and will be raised at Allegiant Stadium in August, when the Raiders play the first of two preseason games in their new home.
Let this ring out loud and clear: Construction at the Big Al is on schedule. I toured the new digs Wednesday. Raiders executive Tom Blanda, who is helping manage the project, assured me that we will have the NFL playing here as scheduled.
The view of the Las Vegas Strip behind the north end zone is stunning. That will be the background for the new Al Davis Memorial Torch, which will be lit Sunday in Oakland for the final time.
The Raiders are favored by 6½ points over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and I advise grabbing that number before the ghosts of Kenny Stabler and Cliff Branch raise it to 7. The Raiders have been struggling, but every player is determined to exit Oakland with a win. And the Jaguars are a perfect target. Coach Doug Marrone doesn’t figure to make it past Black Monday, when four or five other coaches also could be fired.
Know this about coaching end-games: Assistants aren’t worried about stopping Derek Carr. They’re working the phones, hoping to land their next employer.
After Sunday, the Raiders travel to play the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos, and I’m not as optimistic about those outcomes as I am Sunday. Coach Jon Gruden wants one last embrace with the loyal fans of the Black Hole.
There’s more than the Raiders coming to Las Vegas. Beginning April 23 for three days, the NFL draft will take place on the strip.
Start studying now, because you will want to bet the first-round quarterback prop, which currently is over/under 3.
Louisiana State’s Joe Burrow, expected to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, has a great chance to be drafted No. 1.
Assuming his rehab is on schedule, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is also a certain first-rounder. He possesses the best arm of any quarterback eligible for the draft.
Oregon’s Justin Herbert also figures to go in the first round, but then it gets interesting. Washington’s Jacob Eason and Georgia’s Jake Fromm will determine if the quarterback prop goes over.
Congratulations to the entire Las Vegas Valley. You’re about to step up with the big boys. This is a wonderful time to live here.
And don’t forget to cash some tickets, because that’s what it’s all about.
More Betting: Follow at reviewjournal.com/betting.
Brent Musburger’s betting column appears Saturday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He is host of “My Guys in the Desert” weekdays from 2 to 4 p.m. on VSiN.com, SiriusXM 204 and 920 AM The Game.