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How do injuries affect football betting?
Injuries are a part of football, no matter how unfortunate they may be. That means that bettors must account for injuries whenever they place a wager on a football game in college or the pros. But not all injuries are created equal, as some injuries are more impactful than others and should be weighed differently depending on who is set to miss a game.
Quarterback is the most important position in football, as they pace the offense and deliver it to skill position players on every snap. Because of that, injuries to quarterbacks are the most significant in football, as an offense can completely fall apart without the starting quarterback on the field. Bettors will often see the point spread change dramatically when a quarterback is ruled out due to injury.
When it comes to quarterback injuries, bettors should always get to know who the backup quarterback is on a roster and how effective they can be. That knowledge can help them determine if any changes to the point spread are justified or an overreaction to a big-name starter going down.
Skill Position Injuries
Skill position injuries may be the most overvalued in football betting, as skill players carry with them star power that doesn’t match just how replaceable they are on most teams. The running back position is especially replaceable, as evidenced by teams refusing to pay players at the position in many cases. Wide receivers are similar, as the rules of today’s game make it easier for receivers of all skill levels to produce.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course, as there are some players whose usage rate is high enough to justify line movements. Players like Christian McCaffrey have proven to be valuable enough to where their absence would have a dramatic impact on their team’s offense. But those players are further and farther between than most bettors would think.
While skill position injuries are perhaps the most overvalued in football, injuries to offensive linemen may be the most undervalued. Offensive line play is more important than the vast majority of what goes on a football field, as it paves the way for offenses to both pass and run effectively. Without key members of the offensive line, both of those phases of an offense can grind to a complete halt.
It is important to consider where on the offensive line injuries happen relative to a team’s strengths. For example, a team that uses the running game more effectively than its passing game will suffer the most from injuries to its offensive guards. A more pass-heavy offense, on the other hand, will have the most trouble with a loss to its offensive tackles.
Injuries on defense should not be overlooked either, as playing defense in today’s NFL is difficult for even the best players in the league. Defenses work best when every player on the field is in sync to handle every possible situation. When even one piece of the defense has to be replaced, the chances of missed assignments increases.
And it doesn’t have to be a star player on defense being injured to throw off the ability of the defense to get stops. The loss of anyone at any level of the defense can have a negative effect on the efficacy of an entire defensive scheme.
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