The NFL’s injury report after Week 2 is lengthy with some very high-profile names sitting at the top.
Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants will miss the rest of the year with a torn ACL. Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss the next month with a high ankle sprain. The Denver Broncos lost their quarterback (Drew Lock), running back (Phillip Lindsay) and wide receiver (Courtland Sutton) over the weekend.
Fans and fantasy football owners are certainly upset that we will not be seeing Barkley and McCaffrey for the foreseeable future, but what do they mean to the betting market? Probably not as much as you would think.
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook offers look-ahead lines, which are available for wagering before the current week’s games are played. Prior to McCaffrey’s injury in Week 2, the Los Angeles Chargers opened as a -6.5 home favorite over the Panthers in the look-ahead market, and not much has changed. As of Tuesday morning, the spread is -6.5 at Westgate, Circa and Caesars.
The Giants opened as a +6.5 home underdog to the San Francisco 49ers, and despite losing Barkley, that line has moved in the Giants’ favor.
Unless something happens to a top-tier quarterback, individual injuries create minimal impact in the betting market. The key to watch out for is when individual injuries turn into cluster injuries, and no team is experiencing that quite like the 49ers.
In last week’s game against the New York Jets, San Francisco lost both defensive ends — Solomon Thomas and Nick Bosa — to torn ACLs, Running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman also suffered knee injuries and both are expected to miss upcoming action. These injuries come on the heels of the 49ers’ Week 1 game where they finished the contest with only three healthy wide receivers on their roster and missing George Kittle at tight end.
Those are cluster injuries. Those will affect the point spread.
Adam Gase and Sam Darnold take their share of criticism in New York, but look what the Jets’ offense has already lost. Wide receivers Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims are all missing time, leaving Darnold to throw to Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios. Le’Veon Bell failed to make it past Week 1 and starting center Connor McGovern went down with a hamstring injury last week. The Jets went from +7 to +10.5 this week at Indianapolis.
I am going to be looking for opportunities to take some “overs” in upcoming Giants’ games. Daniel Jones has now started 14 games for Big Blue, and if you ask most observers, he is still a bit of an unknown.
An MRI confirmed Nick Bosa suffered a torn ACL in yesterday’s game.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 21, 2020
Without Barkley as a crutch in the backfield, Jones is going to be forced to throw the ball quite a bit and that will create increased scoring opportunities for both teams.
The Giants’ first four opponents this season (PIT, CHI, SF and LAR) have top-10 defenses according to Football Outsiders. If Jones and his receivers make it through that stretch intact, there will be some softer opportunities upcoming for him.
Raiders vs. Patriots Total 47.5: This is a “sell high” spot on both offenses. Both teams scored 30+ points in primetime spots in Week 2. I would be surprised if we saw similar performances. UNDER
Bengals vs. Eagles -5.5: The Bengals went 5-for-5 on fourth down and ran 30 more plays than the Browns to earn their backdoor cover last week. Cleveland held a +3.5 yards per play advantage in that contest. EAGLES
Cowboys vs. Seahawks -5: Seattle has not won a home game by more than a touchdown since Week 14 of the 2018 season. If it feels like every big Seattle contest goes down to the wire, well, they do. I will gladly take the points. COWBOYS
Buccaneers vs. Broncos Total 43.5: Last week’s game against Carolina was a “get right” spot for Tom Brady and the Bucs’ offense. This week’s game in Denver is a “get out” spot. Tampa Bay just needs to escape with a win. UNDER
Panthers vs. Chargers Total 44: No McCaffrey, but Teddy Bridgewater looks up to the challenge. With DJ Moore, Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel, the Panthers can score some points. They can also give up a lot. OVER
Bears vs. Falcons -4: Atlanta’s loss last week was not the kind of loss that magically goes away in a week. That one is going to linger. BEARS
Last week: 3-3