There are a couple ways to interpret the National Football League injury list. The first, and most common, is to read the information posted by the NFL that is generated by what the teams report to the league. The second, and more reliable, is to read the report by what the books are doing with the point spreads.
Let me explain.
The NFL initiated injury reports because of gambling. In the 1940’s, bookmakers had spies check teams in search of what players were injured. Sharp gamblers got a hold of this information and had a huge edge over the wagering public who lacked knowledge on who was injured and who was or wasn’t available to play.
Making injury reports mandatory for each team and published by the league, then NFL Commissioner Bert Bell ushered in a significant practice that helped level the playing field for novice bettors and inside sharpies. Teams now submit a list designating players as probable, questionable, doubtful or out. In numerical terms, the designations are supposed to represent the chances of a player being available on game day as 75%, 50%, 25% and 0%.
If a team has someone listed as probable that doesn’t play, and another player listed as doubtful that does, the league investigates such infractions and assigns fines if foul play is determined. Some coaches, read that as Bill Belichick among others, use the injury report for competitive reasons and pay the fines levied by the league as the cost of doing business.
Now, when a team lists a player as questionable, particularly a quarterback, they both protect themselves from fines and force opponents to prepare for multiple QB’s. “Questionable” connotes a 50/50 chance, and whatever side that comes down on can’t be questioned as an infraction.
So, when the Rams take advantage of that designation this week for their Saturday meeting with the Seattle Seahawks, one might consider Jared Goff a 50/50 proposition. So, how do we get a more reliable injury report?
If the point spread on the Seahawks/Rams game moved up from the opening number, which had Seattle favored by 4½ points, then we would know Goff was unavailable.
It hasn’t moved up. Even while 62% of all public wagers are backing the home team in this game, the line on the visitors has dropped from the Rams getting 4½ points to 3 points.
Wait, Goff is less than two weeks out from surgery on his right, throwing hand, thumb and is listed as questionable and the line is dropping against public action?
Then what do we know?
We know that the guys who are in the business of separating bettors from their money are luring them to wager more on the Seahawks while no doubt having firsthand information that not only is Goff going to start but he has looked good in his limited practice time.
Now you know.
Qoxhi Picks: Los Angeles Rams (+3) over Seattle Seahawks