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Sharp bettors back Raiders in preseason opener

The NFL will feature a record-tying 10 new head coaches this season and five of them are among the eight favorites to win the league’s Coach of the Year award.

Two of the top contenders will be on the sidelines in the Hall of Fame game Thursday in Canton, Ohio, in Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson and Raiders coach Josh McDaniels.

Pederson, who guided the Philadelphia Eagles to the 2018 Super Bowl title, is the 10-1 co-favorite at Caesars Sportsbook to win the award and is tied for the 16-1 second choice at the Westgate SuperBook with McDaniels, who is 20-1 at Circa Sports.

The Jaguars were 1½-point favorites Monday in the NFL preseason opener. But the line flipped Tuesday, when sharp action on the Raiders made them consensus 2½-point favorites.

Circa sportsbook director of risk Chris Bennett said the line moved shortly after sharp betting service Right Angle Sports released a play on the Raiders.

“They have a ton of influence on the market,” he said.

Pederson said third-string quarterback Jake Luton will start for Jacksonville and Kyle Sloter, late of the USFL, will be the backup. With Derek Carr likely to sit out, the Raiders will counter with QBs Jarrett Stidham, Nick Mullens and Chase Garbers.

The Jaguars have plenty of room for improvement after going 3-14 last season under coach Urban Meyer, who was fired after 13 games. Jacksonville’s win total is 6½.

“Throw out the last two years and the award has typically gone to the coach of the team that exceeded their regular season wins number by the largest margin,” Bennett said. “The Jaguars were pretty much a disaster last year with Urban Meyer, so the bar is very low.

“If they go 9-8, I think Doug Pederson has a great chance. And that’s very possible. They get to play the Texans twice and the Titans might not be that great.”

McDaniels takes over a Raiders team that exceeded expectations last season in going 10-7 and making the playoffs. The Raiders, with a win total of 8½, would likely need to win arguably the toughest division in football in the AFC West for McDaniels to win the award.

“He’s certainly capable,” Bennett said. “But he doesn’t seem to me to have the absolute best setup for the season.

“There are certain expectations and you have to exceed expectations to win this award.”

Motor city money

Dan Campbell is the 12-1 favorite at Circa to win the award in his second season with the Detroit Lions, who went 3-13-1 last season. Bennett said the book moved the number aggressively after taking a significant bet on Campbell at 20-1.

“I didn’t feel like we were giving out value at 20-1, but I know a lot of people are very positive about the Lions’ chances this year,” he said. “We’ve been getting bets on their season wins, division, playoffs and Super Bowl.”

Detroit’s season win total is 6½. Jimmy Johnson is the only person to win the Coach of the Year award with a losing record, earning the honor in 1990 after guiding the Dallas Cowboys to a 7-9 mark.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley is the 14-1 favorite at the Westgate and the 15-1 second choice at Circa, which lowered his odds after taking a bet at 18-1. Los Angeles went 9-8 last season.

“He got a lot of props last year and everybody loved him because he was so aggressive,” SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “Yet, they missed the playoffs. With that said, his aggressive style and the team he has under his belt makes him a slight favorite in front of all the other guys lumped in the 16-1 range.”

New coach magic?

Three of the last five award winners went to first-year coaches in Kevin Stefanski (2020), Matt Nagy (2018) and Sean McVay (2017).

Here are the odds at Circa for the other new coaches this season: Minnesota’s Kevin O’Connell is 16-1, Denver’s Nathaniel Hackett is 17-1, Miami’s Mike McDaniel and the Giants’ Brian Daboll is 20-1, New Orleans’ Dennis Allen is 22-1, Chicago’s Matt Eberflus is 30-1, Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles is 35-1 and Houston’s Lovie Smith is 70-1.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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