There will be games in which the Las Vegas Raiders don't feel like they have a great home-field advantage. Las Vegas is the most obvious road trip for opposing fans to make.
But the game on Monday night will be special.
Last year, the Las Vegas fans were so close to having their NFL team but were shut out of the stadium. COVID-19 kept fans out. Owner Mark Davis vowed to not take in a game at Allegiant Stadium until fans could be there too. That night comes Monday. Las Vegas finally gets to feel like an NFL city for the first time.
There was one preseason game in Las Vegas with fans already (and the Raiders won and covered easily), but a regular-season game will be different. The Raiders are 4-point underdogs at BetMGM against the Baltimore Ravens, and this seems like a great spot to take a prime-time home underdog.
Also, the Ravens are dealing with a wild amount of injuries. They've already lost running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. Cornerback Marcus Peters is done for the season. They've dealt with multiple injuries at receiver through training camp. Their injury report would look bad if it was December. It's rather unbelievable before Week 1.
The Ravens are a good team, one of the most consistent franchises in the NFL. It's possible Lamar Jackson is phenomenal and carries the Ravens to a win (and a cover). He's that good.
But it feels like this will be a fun and historic night in Las Vegas. It's not like Jon Gruden's teams haven't started fast. They usually are good for the first half of the season and then fade. Home-field advantage in the NFL has diminished, but Monday night will give the Raiders an edge.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
What else should we bet for Monday night?
I'd lean to the under of 50.5. Not that running teams can't score a lot, but I'd assume we'll see both teams trying to run it a lot, which will keep the clock moving. The Raiders presumably will want to shorten the game.
I'd probably go over on the receiving totals for both tight ends. Darren Waller is 68.5 at BetMGM, and we all know what he's capable of. Mark Andrews' total is 57.5 and given the Ravens' injury situation, he has been the only steady part of the skill-position group. Lamar Jackson leans heavily on him regardless of the situation. I'd take over on 4.5 receptions. We'll see what the game script looks like, but I'd look at the under for Derek Carr's passing yards, which is set at 259.5.
What else is on the Monday slate?
There is one English Premier League match, with Burnley vs. Everton (Everton is a -145 favorite). There's also a WNBA game in the afternoon, with Dallas vs. Las Vegas at 3 p.m. Eastern.
The best matchup on an eight-game MLB slate is the Tampa Bay Rays at the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays have been on fire and posted 22 runs on Sunday. The Jays have made a huge move in the AL wild-card race, and need to keep it going against a very good Rays team. They Jays are -135 favorites.
Who cashed tickets this weekend?
We'll have full NFL betting rundowns for Week 1 on Monday and Tuesday. Just know it was a big week for the underdogs. The books were huge Detroit Lions fans after a huge rally in the final two minutes to cut a 24-point 49ers lead to 8. The second highest bet volume on any team Sunday was on the 49ers, who closed as 9.5-point favorites. The Lions covering is already a candidate for bad beat of the season.
The most notable outcome of the college football weekend was Oregon beating Ohio State 35-28. The Ducks were 15-point underdogs. The Buckeyes' loss should shake up a typically predictable College Football Playoff outlook.
What's the best bet?
You'll want to be on the same side as Raider Nation on Monday night.