Antonio Brown’s worth to the betting line was made clear Thursday when the news broke that he’s expected to be suspended and miss the Raiders’ season opener against the Denver Broncos on “Monday Night Football.”
Las Vegas sportsbooks quickly moved the line from pick’em and made the Broncos 2-point or 2½-point favorites.
Brown is expected to be suspended after having an altercation with general manager Mike Mayock on Wednesday.
“Right now, we need the Broncos,” Caesars director of trading Jeff Davis said. “Under normal circumstances, I would expect that to change, but there’s so much Raiders bias with the Raiders coming here, I still think there’s going to be Raiders money.”
Caesars Entertainment also lowered the total on Monday’s game from 43½ to 42½, took down the season-long props for Brown and Derek Carr and moved Oakland from minus 500 to minus 600 favorites to not make the playoffs.
CG Technology took limit bets on the Broncos and under when the the news broke and have a mid five-figure liability on Denver. Another CG bettor placed a $6,000 wager Wednesday on the Broncos to go over their season win total.
The Westgate mostly had money on the Raiders before the Brown news.
“I would’ve thought we would need the Broncos, but now that they’re favored we will probably need the Raiders because the public will be on the favorite,” Westgate sportsbook director John Murray said.
Davis said Packers wideout Davante Adams is the most valuable receiver to the point spread, with Brown a close second.
“The Raiders don’t have a lot behind him,” Davis said. “(DeAndre) Hopkins might be the best receiver, but the Texans still have Will Fuller and Kenny Stills.”
Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said Brown alone is not worth that many points.
“I think it’s more the distraction and the whole circus right now surrounding the Raiders,” he said. “They don’t have a lot of depth at wideout after Antonio Brown, and it’s one thing after another. That’s part of why we’ve seen that move.
“And you look at the Broncos with a new coach in (Vic) Fangio, and they’ve got (Bradley) Chubb and (Von) Miller, and (Joe) Flacco is an upgrade at quarterback.”