Injuries are part of the NFL, where violence is infused in the product. In Week 8, two players went down with injuries that impact division races and futures odds.
The Saints lost quarterback Jameis Winston for the rest of the season to a torn ACL on Sunday. One of the league’s best running backs, Derrick Henry of the Titans, has been lost with a foot injury that will require surgery.
These injuries are impacting each team’s futures odds.
Saints Odds Shorten Despite Loss of Winston
Winston was rebounding to have a solid year for New Orleans, leading the Saints to a 5-2 start. Still, because the team is well-positioned for the playoffs having pulled within a half-game of the NFC South-leading Bucs with a win over Tampa on Sunday, bookmakers tightened New Orleans’ futures odds.
At DraftKings, the Saints went from 5-to-1 odds to 3/1 to win their division, while Tampa Bay’s division futures lengthened from -500 to -400 after their Week 8 loss.
Over at WynnBET, odds on New Orleans to win the Super Bowl moved from +4000 to +3500, to capture the NFC from +2000 to +1800, and to win the NFC South from +400 to +275, per an email from Jake Meister, a spokesperson for the sportsbook.
At SuperBook USA in Las Vegas, the Saints are down to 25/1 to win the Super Bowl since being priced at 40/1 last Monday, two victories ago, and moved to 12/1 from 20/1 to win the NFC.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton will turn to Taysom Hill, or possibly Trevor Siemian (who finished Sunday’s impressive win over the Buccaneers), and despite shortening his numbers, Ed Salmons, VP of Risk Management for SuperBook USA, is not convinced the Saints can get through the conference without their No. 1 QB.
“The NFC has five solid teams, so for them to go through most likely three of those teams with Taysom Hill or Siemian, it just seems very farfetched, but crazier things have happened,” Salmons told Gaming Today.
Of course, there’s still a long way to go this season, and the oddsmakers are not done tweaking the prices.
“The Saints won a big game (Sunday vs. the Bucs) so I went from 35/1 to 25/1 (for a Saints’ Super Bowl title),” Chris Andrews, Director of the South Point Sportsbook, told Gaming Today in an email. “Now I have to take a second look when they figure out the quarterback situation.”
Wins and losses will be more influential in determining the odds than who’s playing quarterback.
“You could say they have a top-three defense in the NFL, and they have a tremendous home field,” Salmons said. “As long as they keep winning, their odds aren’t going to get higher, they’re going to go lower, but obviously if they’re not going to win their division, their odds will get much higher.”
Sportbooks Move In Different Directions After Injury to Henry
There is a notion that running backs are interchangeable in the NFL, but a back like Henry is not so easily replaced. The two-time defending rushing champion hobbled his way through Sunday’s win over Indianapolis, but a foot injury leaves him in danger of missing the balance of the season.
But unlike the Saints, the Titans are sitting in the catbird seat in the AFC South, with a three-game lead in their division after getting past the Colts. Despite the loss of Henry, Tennesse is a prohibitive -2000 favorite at DraftKings to win its division.
“They are pretty locked in on the AFC South by having a three-game lead and beating the Colts twice,” Johnny Avello, DraftKings’ director of race and sportsbook operations, told Gaming Today in an email. “For [the AFC], it’s a little more difficult, but [they] are the fourth choice at 7-1. They are also 16-1 to win it all.”
The SuperBook and South Point lengthened the Titans’ futures odds, but WynnBET tightened their AFC number.
“They were 15/1 (to win Super Bowl), I went to 22/1. They’ll win the division but it’s going to be tough without Henry,” said the South Point’s Andrews.
The SuperBook went from 14/1 to win the Super Bowl with a healthy Henry to 16/1, and from 6/1 to 7/1 in AFC futures.
“It’s hard to imagine with Henry not playing the rest of the regular season that they’re going to wind up with an equal to or better record than Buffalo,” Salmons said. “…. I think Tennessee was kind of low to begin with. Sometimes you have odds on a team and you know they’re too low.”
WynnBET kept the Titans at +2000 to win the Super Bowl but tightened them from +850 to +800 to win the conference.