NFL Betting: Sportsbooks Scramble to Adjust to Bevy of Backup Quarterbacks
It’s not too often that NFL bettors witness a combined 26.5 points worth of difference between the opening point spreads and current market. In a typical week, there’s less that half of that with maybe a big move or two due to injury. The reason for the point spread chaos is simple: Nearly half the card features teams starting their backup quarterbacks. Let’s take a brief look at the games in question.
NY Jets at New England – The betting markets got a jump start on the Jets last week; they opened +2.5 vs. Cleveland and closed +6.5 with Sam Darnold out. Backup Trevor Siemian went down in the second quarter, warm body Luke Falk stepped in and the end result was a 23-3 Browns’ victory. Falk wasn’t horrific (20-25, 190 yards) and if anything has the label of “being coached by Mike Leach.” Nevertheless, the Jets are catching +22. And if you are into semi-random trends, NFL teams laying -14 or more in back-to-backs are 5-16 ATS in the second game.
Miami at Dallas – It’s hard to downgrade the Dolphins any more than they already have but even after the initial rush of Cowboys’ support, bettors continued to pile on once it was announced that Josh Rosen would start. In the end, we see a line move of +17 to +22.5. It doesn’t help that in relief, Rosen is 8-of-21 for 102 yards with two interceptions. The most intriguing aspect of this matchup is the moneyline history. CRIS opened Dallas -3000, moved it to -3200, but apparently took a bet on the Dolphins and moved it back to -3000. It’s now -3500 which equates to a 97.2% implied probability.
NY Giants at Tampa Bay – Here we have a situation where the back-up quarterback is more respected by the betting markets than the starter. New York opened +5 and shot up to +7. Then it was announced that Daniel Jones will be replacing Eli Manning and that was enough of a reason for bettors to get to the window with the line now settled in at +6.
Carolina at Arizona – Based on the way Cam Newton looked the first two games of the season, it’s hard to envision there being a six-point drop-off to back-up Kyle Allen. The Panthers opened -3.5 at Arizona and are now +2.5. Allen started the final game of last season and looked decent (16-26, 228 yards, 2 TDs) though it came against a Saints squad that had the top seed in the NFC locked up and rested multiple starters.
New Orleans at Seattle – Looks as if oddsmakers were a little too aggressive in downgrading the Saints following Drew Brees’ injury. The Saints were originally -1 but reopened +6. Since then, New Orleans was bet all the way down to +3.5 before settling in at +4.5. Teddy Bridgewater will start but Taysom Hill could also see some action.
Pittsburgh at San Francisco – Ben Roethlisberger to Mason Rudolph is worth about seven points according to oddsmakers and the betting markets. The Steelers opened pick ’em and dropped to +7 before some buy back pushed the line to +6.5. Last week, Rudolph finished 12-of-19 for 112 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception in Pittsburgh’s 28-26 loss to Seattle.