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NFL Odds, injured quarterbacks and other players

Week 10 of the regular season went down as the “Quarterback Calamity.” Four starting quarterbacks were knocked out of games because of injuries, and all four teams failed to cover their respective spreads.

Pittsburgh was the only team to win after losing its pivot. Ben Roethlisberger sustained rib and shoulder injuries but the Steelers managed to escape with a 16-13 home victory over Kansas City. Byron Leftwich came on in the second half and led the offense to one field goal.

Alex Smith was knocked out in the first half of the matchup with St. Louis via concussion. Colin Kaepernick came on for the 49ers and orchestrated a late comeback but the contest ultimately went into overtime. Both kickers missed makeable field goals in OT and the game ended in a 24-24 deadlock.

Jay Cutler also suffered a concussion in Week 10. He exited the Texans game at halftime and Chicago fell 13-6. Jason Campbell, who has 70 career starts under his belt, led the Bears to a field goal in relief. Scoring was affected by the rainy and windy weather conditions.

Michael Vick had his bell rung by the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. His concussion came early in the second quarter and rookie Nick Foles took over. Foles didn’t look completely overwhelmed in his professional debut, completing 22 of 32 passes for 219 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

According to data collected from Las Vegas oddsmakers by RJ Bell of Pregame.com, Vick carries the least value for a spread. When Vick is out, the line is only adjusted 1 point.

That means if Vick was playing in Week 11 at Washington, the spread would be -2.5 in favor of the Redskins because it’s currently -3.5. Some pundits (and most Philly fans) would contend there is little dropoff between Vick and Foles, but I would disagree.

Philadelphia’s offensive line remains the feeblest in football. Vick got sacked a lot behind that sieve of a line but think how many more times he would’ve been if he weren’t mobile. Foles is a statue compared to Vick, a pure pocket passer. I foresee just as many turnovers happening with the rookie as with Vick.

Big Ben is the most valuable of the injured QBs in terms of a spread. He is worth 4 points to the line. Roethlisberger has intangibles no other quarterback in the league does. For this weekend’s matchup against the Ravens, the Steelers would be favored if he were playing. Instead, they’re 3.5-point pups at home. Cutler is worth 2 points to a spread while Smith is valued at 1.5 points. The Bears and Niners square off on Monday Night Football this week but oddsmakers have yet to release a line.

Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are worth the most to a spread, ranging from 6-7 points depending on who you ask. This trio is obviously the pinnacle of NFL quarterbacks. Their teams wouldn’t be the same if Brock Osweiler, Ryan Mallett or Graham Harrell were under center.

Matt Ryan and Eli Manning are in the same echelon as Big Ben, valued at 4 points to a line.

Adrian Peterson has the most value as a non-quarterback at 1 point. Guys like Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy would certainly impact a spread, but not by much. We saw bettors overreact to the loss of Percy Harvin last week. Collecting injury information and assessing what it means to a spread or total is imperative to being a successful handicapper.