On Monday, Jon Gruden announced that he is stepping down from his position as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. This follows revelations from an independent investigation into the Washington Football Team that revealed damning emails written by Raiders Coach Job Gruden.
While he was employed by ESPN as an analyst starting more than a decade ago, Gruden sent multiple emails to officials with Washington where he uses disparaging language about race and sexuality.
Gruden leaves the Raiders with a 3-2 record in his fourth season back on the sidelines, and a 22-30 record overall. With fans able to attend games for the first time in two years due to the pandemic, there has been much excitement around the Raiders in Las Vegas. The team currently sits one game behind the Chargers in the AFC West, having lost to Los Angeles earlier this month. On Sunday they lost to the Bears, their first defeat in Las Vegas this season.
Raiders Odds Move And Change With News About Gruden
South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews told Gaming Today’s Marcus DiNitto that the Gruden news caused a flurry of action from bettors and the sportsbook. On the move from 3 to 3.5, Andrews said: “We got bet. We had a string of bets that came in on the app. They weren’t huge bets, a couple thousand each, and I thought it was just betting, and all of a sudden here comes the Gruden news. So we moved actually before we heard the Gruden news, and then it made sense why everybody was betting it.”
Where will the Raiders go from here? How will a sudden and dramatic coaching change impact a team with playoff aspirations?
“I’ve seen this go both ways,” Andrews told Gaming Today. “Sometimes players rally around a situation like that and other times they don’t. I wasn’t sure what to think of the Raiders on Sunday (in their 20-9 loss to Chicago), they certainly looked pretty lethargic. They either ran into a really good defense or the Gruden situation affected them.”
Johnny Avello of DraftKings told Gaming Today that their sportsbook took bets on Denver -3 on Monday night before they moved the line.
According to reporting by Patrick Everson, WynnBet and BetMGM have removed the wins totals bets off their sportsbook for the Raiders, and also taken down odds for this Sunday’s game against the Broncos, and removed playoffs odds for the Raiders in light of Gruden’s exit.
Per reporting by DiNitto, Chris Bennett from Circa Sports added, “We were at Broncos -3 (-120) when the news came out [that Gruden had resigned]. Nobody bet the Broncos until after we were aware. We chose to leave the line as is, and people did indeed bet the Broncos and push the line up to -3.5-110.”
Wyatt Yearout of PointsBet explained that “nothing too notable” occurred on their sportsbook on Monday night when Gruden’s decision was revealed.
“There obviously was a little action on both sides before the game was taking OTB,” Yearout told Gaming Today.
“Raiders outright was stretched from +6000 to +7000 following the Gruden news. Division/Conference stayed put.”
The PointsBet odds shifted slightly: for Raiders to make the playoffs it went from -185 (yes) to +160 (no) on Monday and as of October 13, it’s at -250 (no) and +175 (yes). PointsBet does not have their Win Total odds for the Raiders back up as of yet.
QB Carr Has Improved Under Gruden
The distraction caused by the Gruden emails was probably the most difficult part of this controversy. The Raiders were favored on Sunday against the Bears at home, but had a lackluster effort, especially offensively.
Since his return to the NFL for the 2018 season, Gruden has been lauded for his attention to detail, the respect he engenders from his players, and his preparation. But Gruden’s reputation is built on being a “quarterback whisperer” who can make a decent QB good, or a good QB great.
Raiders’ QB Derek Carr’s Quarterback Rating has been 97.9 since Gruden arrived. Prior to that, it was 87.5 over his first four seasons. The team has improved every year under Gruden, going from four wins to an 8-8 mark last season. This year, the team is picked by many to make their first playoff appearance since 2016.
Mid-Season Coaching Change Will Not Result in Scheme Changes
Special teams coach Rich Bisaccia will serve as interim head coach for the Raiders. But both coordinators (Greg Olson on offense and Gus Bradley on defense) are still in place, which means the Raiders will still follow the same plans on both sides of the football.
In football, a head coaching change rarely happens mid-season, and even if it does, the offensive and defensive schemes remain in place. The Raiders currently rank 19th in offense and 17th in defense in the NFL.
Carr ranks second in the NFL in passing yards, and fans can expect that he will still sling the ball a lot post-Gruden.
Marcus DiNitto contributed to this developing story.