LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The NFL season is entering its regular-season finale this week but it doesn't end until the Chargers come to town to face the Raiders.
The Chargers-Raiders game has been flexed to Sunday Night Football as the two teams battle for a playoff berth.
All eyes will be returning to Las Vegas and Allegiant stadium from the casual fan to those who are wanting a little more action.
"The playoffs start Sunday night. The winner moves on and the loser goes home. Raiders-Chargers, what could be more exciting with the game happening in our own backyard," said Chuck Esposito, Red Rock Resort sportsbook director.
Esposito says there is already excitement in the air about Sunday's matchup, especially with a betting line that has opened so close between the teams.
"The Raiders are at home but they are the underdog at home Sunday night. The game opened up with the Raiders at +2.5 but the public has surprisingly bet the Chargers so far. That line has moved to three but I think our fan base with back their team with their love and their pocketbook," Esposito said.
The Raiders enter Sunday's game at 9-7 with a shot at the playoffs in what has been a turbulent year for the team after losing players due to off-the-field conduct and even their head coach Jon Gruden.
But they enter Sunday one of the league's hottest teams.
"The Raiders are still a little bit of a long shot to win the big game. But they have won three in a row and this season has been a bit different and anything can happen in the playoffs. Love the way they have been playing," Esposito said." They have literally been playing playoff football already and have three straight wins. They are one of the hottest teams in the league and you want to play Week 18 at home and that's what the Raiders have at Allegiant Stadium."
And the Chargers are no pushovers themselves as they also enter Sunday's game with a 9-7 record with even Las Vegas sportsbooks giving them the initial edge.
"This has been an easy one to make. What else are you going to do then make the Chargers a three-point favorite? And it will come down to a lot of the matchups. The Raiders game is going to be a huge matchup no matter what with so much on the line," said oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro at the South Point hotel-casino.
If we are wondering about the betting options, you are not alone as football is king in Las Vegas.
"People have fallen in love with football and we can do a lot more now with gaming. It's a great tribute to those who just love to come and even now for a little bit of an escape," Vaccaro said.
The betting experts both say to stay within your means if you are starting off in the betting world but to also pay attention to the information that is out there.
"If you are just getting started, we are in an information era and I would say to stay within your means but also look at all of the information out there. We are in such uncertain times with players' availability in question," Esposito said. "So, just pay attention and stay within your means and have fun."
Whatever the outcome, football has brought an extra element of action and excitement to Las Vegas.
"Football is football and it carries everything throughout the year," Vaccaro said.