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Raiders Release Antonio Brown And Las Vegas Reacts With Week 1 Line Moves
8th September, 06:43I provide insight on U.S. sports-betting & information you can bet on.
Well, goodbye Oakland. And hello New England. The drams and mercurial behavior of Antonio Brown is over in Oakland. The Raiders released the troublesome wide receiver Saturday. Just five hours later, Brown was signed by the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Brown will not play against his former team Sunday night when the Patriots host the Steelers, but is expected to be ready to go Week 2 when the Patriots play the Dolphins in Miami.
Bookmakers in Las Vegas and 12 other states with legal sports betting had already moved Monday night's line from Pick 'em to Denver a 2-point favorite on Friday when news broke that the Raiders were likely to suspend Brown for conduct detrimental to the team.
But on Saturday, Brown posted on his Instragram account that he wanted to be released. "You are gonna piss a lot of people off when you start doing what's best for you," with the caption, "And that's fine! Brown continued and finished his post with "Release me @raiders."
The Raiders obliged, and also voided his $29 million in guarantee money after they issued him another fine.
Brown posted on Instragram "I'm free!" But as sports columnist Ed Graney points out in the Las Vegas Review Journal, perhaps Antonio Brown's antics with the Raiders could signal deeper issues, like mental health or even chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Brown's YouTube video post shows his continued irregular behavior. It includes some NSFW language with captions and a private telephone conversation with Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.
Regardless, Brown never played a snap for the Raiders following his trade from Pittsburgh to Oakland in March. The question now is are the Raiders ready for their Monday night match-up with Denver, and will they be focused following the sideshow and distraction of Brown?
The Westgate SuperBook and Caesars properties in Las Vegas has moved the Broncos to a 2.5-point favorite Monday night. FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey also has the Broncos -2.5 while MGM properties and William Hill in Nevada and New Jersey have the Broncos a 2-point favorite. Back in April, the Raiders opened a 3-point favorite when the SuperBook made opening lines for Week 1 well in advance of the season.
Many things have changed around the NFL since, including the retirement of Colts QB Andrew Luck. That surprising news also caused a shakeup in the Week 1 lines as the Chargers went from a 3-point favorite against the Colts to a 6.5-point choice.
Monday night's double header starts with Houston at New Orleans. ESPN then follows with 7:10 p.m. local Pacific time kickoff between the Raiders and Broncos. In Week 16 last season, Denver was were a similar 2.5-point road favorite at Oakland, but the Raiders beat the Broncos 27-14 four their 4th and final win of the season.
However, the Broncos have a new coaching staff lead by head coach Vic Fangio, the Bears former defensive coordinator.
One other thing to note about Monday nights contest in Oakland is that wind speeds of 20-30 MPH are likely to develop later in the day near kickoff, and higher winds gusts are possible. That could impact the play on the field, and the over/under, which is currently posted at 42.5 at both the SuperBook and FanDuel Sportsbook
The Raiders need more talent and players after losing some of it's best starters last season when linebacker Khalil Mack was traded to the Bears and wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cowboys. Antonio Brown is now gone, and despite some additions in personnel and improvement along the offensive line with the signing of Trent Brown from the Patriots this spring, Pro Football Focus moved the Raiders to last at No. 32 in its most recent power rankings of NFL teams. PFF notes that "The Raiders might be at the nadir of their rebuild, but there's still likely a ways to go."
Betting Trends and Notes
The Broncos are 5-13 ATS in their past 18 road games, 2-8 ATS in their last 10 AFC West division games, and 0-3-1 ATS in their last four Monday Night Football appearances.
Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco plays the first game for his new team Monday night when he leads the Broncos offense. Denver failed to score more than 16 points in each of their last four games last season while going 0-4, and the Broncos last nine games of 2018 went under the total. Will Denver take advantage of the Raiders defensive deficiencies in Monday nights opener?
There is a lot of untested youth in the Raiders secondary and along the defensive line. Oakland ranked 30th against the run last season and allowed 29 points per game. The Broncos have the superior defense in the Monday night match-up, but perhaps developing high winds will help the Raiders and minimize the passing game. Regardless, the Antonio Brown situation along with the betting line have been working against Oakland.
The live odds and betting data from Sports Insights shows 68% of the bets are currently on the Broncos Monday night, who open their season on the road for the first time since 2010. The Ravens, Chiefs, Lions and Rams are all taking more than 70% of the bets as favorites in their Week 1 match-ups from a consensus of seven leading online sportsbooks tracked by Sports Insight.
Along with a league-high travel of more than 32,000 miles, another losing season is very likely for the Raiders final season in Oakland. Better seasons ahead for the Raiders in Las Vegas.