The Injuries That Truly Matter When Betting On Football

You could make an argument that NFL injuries have become the driving force behind NFL news in recent years. Call it the Fantasy Football Effect. 

But if we’re talking sports betting here — and we are — there is also nothing that causes more of an overreaction. 

“Outside of the QB, the only guys that move the line are centers and a small group of positional or skill players,” says Adam Chernoff (@adamchernoff), a full-time sports trader and former head oddsmaker at a couple of online sportsbooks. 

Centers? Really? That one may surprise a few people but it’s absolutely true. 

What daily fantasy players overlook sometimes is that football games are largely won and lost at the line of scrimmage and the center is the man who controls everything at the O-line. If a starting center is out, you often have a wagering opportunity because it’s something the public typically doesn’t give enough weight to. 

Instead, they love to talk about that speedy wideout who got 29 points that week for their fantasy team or that shifty running back who left last Sunday's game with a thigh contusion. The line may move a little with those guys, but it’s mostly based on the book reacting to market perceptions — it’s not because WR2 is actually worth two points to the spread.  

“Any time something came up on ESPN it seemed like people were going crazy (in terms of making rash betting decisions). Once something is mainstream, it’s already too late,” says Chernoff.   

It’s good advice and I fully agree. Except there was that one time the entire world seemingly overlooked that Super Bowl-deciding report about a center in the Super Bowl. 

It was Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 when Oakland Raiders starting center Barret Robbins was ruled out after he disappeared the night before the game. The line mostly stayed put and the Raiders closed at -3.5.  

I think everyone remembers that Tampa Bay slaughtered Oakland 48-21. Raiders QB Rich Gannon was sacked five times and the offense managed only 19 yards rushing, which is enough proof to show the O-line was dominated.  

If you weren’t on the Bucs then, consider it a missed opportunity. The good news is that at least now you know what to look for. 

Follow me on Twitter @JonnyOddsShark