The Las Vegas Raiders made the first big coaching move of the 2023 season, firing head coach Josh McDaniels late Tuesday night after the team fell to 3-5.
Las Vegas hosts the 2-6 New York Giants in Week 9 (4:25 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app), with interim head coach Antonio Pierce making his debut against a franchise for which he played five seasons.
The Raiders originally opened as 3.5-point favorites, but that line has shifted since the McDaniels news. Las Vegas is still favored to win the game, with the current spread sitting at Raiders -1.5.
Which brings us to the big betting question. Does the change in coach present an opportunity for bettors to make money on Sunday?
Let’s dig into the data with the help of FOX Sports Research.
So, how have interim coaches performed in their first games? Since 2010, interims are 15-12 straight up but 16-11 against the spread in their debuts.
Last season, three teams made in-season changes at head coach. Jeff Saturday was the only interim coach to lead his team to a win in his first game, upsetting the Raiders with the Colts, but those teams went 2-1 against the spread. When the Raiders made Rich Bisaccia their interim coach in 2021, he led Las Vegas to an outright win as a 3.5-point underdog against the Broncos.
Those numbers are why FOX Sports betting analyst Jason McIntyre likes the Raiders against the spread on Sunday against the Giants.
Interim coaches haven’t had as much success beyond their opening game, going 35-58 straight up over the last five years. Furthermore, interim coaches are 46-46-1 against the spread in the previous five years and 64-75-1 against the spread over the last 10 years, with Bisaccia being the only interim coach to lead his team to the playoffs in the Super Bowl era.
FOX Sports betting analyst Geoff Schwartz doesn’t see much changing for the Raiders, even with the coaching change.
“I’m sort of curious for the Antonio Pierce Raiders,” Schwartz said. “But they’re just not a very talented football team. It doesn’t matter [whose coaching them]. The new coach, I don’t think matters. They’re just not very good.”
Sportsbooks agree with Schwartz’s assessment. The team currently has the 10th-best odds to finish with the league’s worst record on FanDuel Sportsbook (+4000), their win total currently sits at 6.5, and their odds to make the playoffs are listed at +1200 on DraftKings Sportsbook.
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