When Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers went out with a broken collarbone in October, the line on the ensuing Packers-Saints game moved an unprecedented 12 points.
When Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in practice Thursday, the line on Sunday’s Texans-Colts game dropped six points.
Running backs typically aren’t worth more than a point or two to the spread. But Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott caused a four-point swing in Sunday’s Dallas-Kansas City game.
“You don’t see that point assignment for any running back,” Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci said. “You see it for quarterbacks and some wide receivers, but not for a running back.”
The Cowboys were 2½-point home favorites over the Chiefs on the look-ahead line. But when Elliott was expected to miss Sunday’s game and start serving his six-game suspension, Kansas City moved to a 1½-point favorite.
The line swung back to Dallas by 2½ on Friday after the news that Elliott would be allowed to play.
“The line is really reflective of him and more perception than actual intrinsic value,” Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci said. “We know that the public is more likely to bet the Cowboys knowing that he’s in the game.”
We’re taking the 2½ points with the Chiefs, a better team with a better resume, having beaten the Patriots and Texans in convincing fashion on the road, where it’s on a 9-1 run against the spread.
The Cowboys are coming off back-to-back blowout wins over the winless 49ers and injury-riddled Redskins. Dallas, which lost its past two home games, is 10-19-1 ATS at AT&T Stadium since 2014 and 48-62-1 ATS at home since 2004.
Four more plays for Week 9 (home team in CAPS):
JAGUARS (-4½) over Bengals: If the Jaguars played roulette, they would bet it all on odd. Jacksonville is 4-0 in odd weeks this season, outscoring their opponents 130-23. The Jaguars crushed the Colts 27-0 before their bye week, when Cincinnati barely beat Indianapolis, 24-23. Jacksonville hasn’t played well at home, but the Bengals haven’t played well anywhere outside of Cleveland. The Jaguars lead the NFL in scoring defense (15.7 ppg), pass defense (161.7 ypg) and sacks (33), and also have the league’s top rushing attack.
SEAHAWKS (-7) over Redskins: Washington is on an 0-4 ATS skid during which it has allowed 30 points a game. The Redskins will be without four starters on the offensive line and also are banged up on defense. Seattle has won four straight after quarterback Russell Wilson threw for a career-high 452 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-38 comeback victory over Houston. Without Watson to contend with, Seattle’s defense should regain its prior form, as it allowed a total of 35 points in its preceding three games.
Lions (-2) over PACKERS: Green Bay’s bye week won’t be enough to get backup quarterback Brett Hundley up to speed against a Detroit defense that’s third in the league in takeaways (16) and has 10 interceptions. The Lions, who also have one of the NFL’s top run defenses, compiled 482 yards of offense in their 20-15 loss to the Steelers. Matthew Stafford should move the ball against a Green Bay defense that gave up 485 yards its last time out to the Saints.
Falcons (-1½) over PANTHERS: In a matchup of the past two Super Bowl losers, we’ll side with the more dangerous offense, especially after Carolina traded its leading receiver in Kelvin Benjamin. Atlanta’s offense finally showed signs of life, as Matt Ryan threw for two touchdowns and the Falcons rushed for 140 yards in a 25-20 win at New York. Atlanta has won the past three meetings.
Last week: 3-2 against the spread