- The Oakland Raiders are 1-7 this season
- They just suffered their most embarrassing defeat at the hands of third-strong QB Nick Mullens and the equally terrible 49ers
- Which team will win the “race” for first-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft?
The Oakland Raiders truly are Jon Gruden’s team, because watching this god awful franchise for another half a season will be an absolute grind.
Facing a bad San Francisco 49ers squad starting their third-string QB on a short week, the Gruden Grinders should’ve had an easy path to win number two.
Instead, they just took a number two all over the field, getting blown out 34-3 and emerging as the new favorites for the no. 1 overall pick this spring.
Odds to Pick First in 2019 NFL Draft
|Team||Odds to Pick First in the 2019 NFL Draft at Bovada|
|San Francisco 49ers||+450|
|New York Giants||+500|
That the Raiders have the shortest odds speaks to how little faith Vegas has in their future team, considering that if the season ended today, the New York Giants would be picking first overall.
So should you bet the favorites here if they don’t even control their own destiny?
The Raiders have no motivation to win
Tanking is mostly a fan-created concept. No professional team is actually going to lose games intentionally.
Be it playing for a new contract or trying to build for next year, there’s always something pushing you to do well on the field. But Oakland is the rare situation where there is no clear motivation to win beyond personal pride.
Nine weeks into his return to coaching, Jon Gruden’s team has quit on him. There’s really no other way to assess it.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) November 2, 2018
Gruden is not coaching for his job, not after Mark Davis handed him a blank check this offseason.
Right now, he’s in the earliest stage of the team building phase: the tear down. Heck, even with the trade deadline behind them, Gruden is still jettisoning talent from the Black Hole.
— KRON4 News (@kron4news) November 3, 2018
Most of the veteran players already know they won’t be around next season. So many, including Derek Carr, have entered self preservation mode, trying to escape the season with the ability to walk upright.
Derek Carr just wants to go home, man. pic.twitter.com/CZN4dflK7y
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) November 2, 2018
There’s not even any sentimental reason for this team to bust their ass down the stretch. While it might be the last season in Oakland (the search for a 2019 home is still ongoing), it isn’t a for sure goodbye.
So right now, the 2018 Raiders are just a bunch of unmotivated players stumbling through a gameplan of a guy who still hasn’t shown he understands how modern football works. Promising.
What’s driving these other teams?
Beyond the job security of most of these coaches, there’s a few other factors that make the other top of draft contenders less likely to lay down in the second half of the season.
The Cardinals and Bills have a pair of rookie QBs that they want to experience some success early in their careers. Those rosters may not have much talent, but their young passers bring some fire and excitement to the huddle.
When in doubt, throw it up to Larry Fitzgerald
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) October 28, 2018
The 49ers want to see the rest of their young roster improve down the stretch so they’re ready to make the leap next season when savior Jimmy G returns.
And while the Giants don’t seem to have a future plan in place, they also have two complete game-breakers on offense which could lift them to a few wins.
|Team||Remaining opponents with a losing record|
|Oakland Raiders||@ARZ, @BAL, DEN|
|Arizona Cardinals||OAK, @GB, DET|
|San Francisco 49ers||NYG, @TB, DEN|
|Buffalo Bills||NYJ (x2), JAX, DET|
|New York Giants||@SF, TB, @IND, DAL|
The Giants-49ers game this Monday and the Raiders-Cardinals the week after will either muddy up the odds even more or help New York and Oakland pull away.
For now, I would recommend getting the Giants at +500. I still like the Raiders to lose it all, but Oakland’s value could improve next week if New York loses another.