Mariota Given +350 Odds to Beat Out Carr for Raiders’ Starting Job in Week 1 – Is He Worth Betting?

Mariota and Carr
Who will be the Las Vegas Raiders starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2020 season? Photo from @NBCSRaiders (Twitter)
  • Derek Carr is still the incumbent quarterback of the Las Vegas Raiders
  • Head Coach Jon Gruden signed Marcus Mariota to a two-year deal this off-season
  • Odds favor Carr to start Week 1; should you wager on Mariota? Read on for our prediction below

In his first two seasons under Jon Gruden, Derek Carr has shown himself to be a solid, if unspectacular NFL quarterback with his yards per game better and his turnovers lower than all but one of his previous four years in the NFL before Gruden. That hasn’t, however, completely sold Chucky that he’s the unequivocal franchise quarterback because the Raiders signed Tennessee castoff Marcus Mariota to a two-year, $17.6 million dollar deal this off-season.

The odds still suggest that Carr will remain the main man under center when the season gets underway with Mariota’s odds to be the week 1 starter longer than they were when the books opened last November. Is he worth taking a flier on that he can unseat Carr or will the Raiders be better off sticking with the devil they know better?

Las Vegas Raiders 2020 Week 1 Starting Quarterback Odds

Player Odds
Derek Carr -500
Marcus Mariota +350
Nathan Peterman +6600
DeShone Kizer +8000

Odds taken April 6th

Derek Carr the Heavy Favorite to Be Week 1 Starter

It would hardly classify as a shocker that the quarterback who has started all 32 games since Jon Gruden’s return would likely remain in his current post over a free-agent signee. This is particularly true because Derek Carr has shown he can play at a reasonably high level, even if he still hasn’t matched his flashy output in his third season (28 TD’S, 6 INT’s)

Carr has been able to produce under Gruden, despite a proven #1 receiver once Amari Cooper left plus youngsters surrounding him who are still getting acclimated to life in the NFL. Las Vegas possesses some intriguing young options on their roster like Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs, who should come into their own even more in their young careers, alleviating some of the pressure on Carr.

Marcus Mariota Doesn’t Pose Immediate Threat

There could definitely be a scenario that sees Marcus Mariota eventually take over if Carr struggles, much like how a sputtering Mariota was replaced last year with the Titans by Ryan Tannehill. However, it would be very surprising to see him land the week #1 gig, thus making his +350 odds not very enticing.

While shelling out enough cash to make Mariota the highest-paid backup in the league isn’t ideal for the salary cap, it isn’t prohibitive either. Gruden loves a stable of quarterbacks that can provide competition which Mariota can provide in stretches. He certainly will push Carr more than Mike Glennon or DeShone Kizer realistically ever could, which is exactly what every Head Coach wants.

Is he the long-term solution for the Raiders? Probably not – but look no further than Mariota’s previous team in Tennessee. Ryan Tannehill was thought to be a first-round pick washout in Miami but he resurrected his career and the Titans when he got another kick at the can, bringing them to within a game of the Super Bowl last year. Mariota has shown flashes of strong play, but it’s been too few and far between to rely on him exclusively.

Derek Carr/Marcus Mariota 2019 Statistical Comparison

Derek Carr
Marcus Mariota

7-9 Record 2-4
70.4 Completion Percentage 59.4
4,054 Passing Yards 1,203
21/8 TD/INT 7/2
100.8 QB Rating 92.3

Stick with Derek Carr

There is a scenario in which Mariota will start games in 2020, but unless Carr gets injured before the first game of the campaign it would classify as a pretty big shocker if he didn’t begin the year with the keys to the offense, meaning the smart money is on the incumbent.

Pick: Derek Carr (-500)

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