Happy New Year! This is your weekly round up of sports betting news and tips, usually every Saturday at 10am Eastern.
New NFL COVID Policy: If keeping track of player absences due to COVID-19 wasn’t difficult enough, the NFL updated its policy for returning to action this week.
Put simply, asymptomatic players and coaches can return after five days of isolation, regardless of vaccination status. There are stipulations, like clearing 24 hours since the last fever and needing clearance by a team doctor (key information can be found here).
Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz tested positive on Monday, but he came off the COVID list on Saturday. He would not have been able to play given his unvaccinated status under the former policy.
As of Sunday morning, Wentz still needs a doctor’s approval to play against Las Vegas. The markets have shifted from Colts -6.5 earlier this week to -8 on Sunday morning, which suggests that he should get this approval.
NFL QB adjustments – Ed Feng, founder of The Power Rank, made an appearance on The Sharp 600 podcast with Rob Cressy. He talked about how he makes QB adjustments in The Power Rank’s predictions.
For example, Detroit QB Tim Boyle took over for Jared Goff last week against Atlanta. Based on market movement in a previous game in which Boyle started, there was a 3 point adjustment in this game. While this adjustment might seem too small, the final prediction was Atlanta by 6.2 points. Detroit did cover +7.5 on the road.
Injuries – This list is double checked with the ESPN NFL injuries page.
- Indianapolis QB Carson Wentz is off the COVID list and should play against Las Vegas. See first nugget above.
- Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins is on the COVID list. Back up Sean Mannion is off the COVID list and starts against Green Bay.
- Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson didn’t practice on Thursday or Friday. While his status is still considered a game time decision as of Sunday morning, CBS Sports expects that Tyler Huntley will start.
- Chicago QB Justin Fields is dealing with an ankle injury. Andy Dalton will start for Chicago against the New York Giants.
- Denver QB Teddy Bridgewater is out because of a concussion. Drew Lock will get his second straight start against the Los Angeles Chargers.
- Detroit QB Jared Goff is doubtful to play against Seattle according to coach Dan Campbell. Tim Boyle will start if Goff can’t go.
- San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo has a fractured thumb, and CBS Sports reports that he is not expected to play against Houston. As of Saturday, coach Kyle Shanahan declined to name Trey Lance the starter.
College football championship game – On Friday, Georgia manhandled Michigan while Alabama pounded Cincinnati to set up a rematch of the SEC championship game.
On Friday morning before the semi-final games, FanDuel had a look ahead line of Georgia -1 despite the 17 point margin of victory that the Crimson Tide achieved in the SEC championship game. The markets like how Georgia dominated Michigan, as FanDuel now has Georgia -2.5 in the title game.
It remains to be seen whether Georgia will invite Hope to Indianapolis for the title game.
Rambling and Gambling: This week I appeared on the “Rambling and Gambling” podcast to discuss Week 17 and how I got into sports analytics/sports betting broadcasting. I even dispensed advice for those hoping to make a career out of sports broadcasting.
There are some disagreements as far as analyzing a couple of key games, notably Cardinals/Cowboys and Panthers/Saints. The Power Rank and I may disagree on the former (my thoughts have been better articulated by this PFF article), but we are in agreement with my best bet for the latter.
Big Ben Leaving the Steelers? – By several reports, Monday will mark Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game with Pittsburgh. How much might emotion and additional fan energy play a role in that game, especially given the Steelers can still win the division?
By The Power Rank’s numbers, Pittsburgh ranks 21st on pass offense while Cleveland is 18th. The Browns do have the edge, as the The Power Rank has Cleveland by 1.2 points.
What I’m Reading: If I were to assign a holiday book report, it would be on The Midrange Theory: Basketball’s Evolution in the Age of Analytics by Seth Partnow, NBA analyst for The Athletic and former Director of Basketball Research for the Milwaukee Bucks.
You could argue “analytics” have been stigmatized by many in every sport. But in basketball, the haters say that analytics has reduced the game down to threes and dunks.
However, Partnow explains how quantitative tools can do more than enforce specific shots. One important concept is giving box score stats and advanced numbers “a language” that coaches, players and fans can understand. It’s not enough to use an all-encompassing stat to rank the best NBA players; the “why” has to be answered as well.
Data driven betting information
These nuggets were sent to The Power Rank’s email newsletter. This is a free service that strives to be:
Other emails offer analysis of college football and NFL games that founder Ed Feng has bet.
To get this free service delivered straight into your inbox, enter your best email address and click on “Sign up now!”