Astute NFL bettors always leave a little room in their handicapping activities to account for potential in-game injuries. The one thing that drives an NFL bettor to insanity is watching a starting QB head to the sidelines with a significant injury. It usually spells doom for the QB’s team, which surely takes down the hopes of anyone who placed a wager on the injured QB’s team. Heading into week 4 of the NFL season, the QB picture throughout the league is already in complete disarray.
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Before jumping into the deep end of the pool, you should know there have been significant QB injuries in the first three games of the NFL season. The early casualties include Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Nick Foles (Jacksonville Jaguars), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers) and Ben Roethisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers). Toss in Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) after his unexpected premature retirement that leaves a lot of inexperienced second and third-string QBs controlling the fate of their teams and NFL bettors.
Take a Wait and See Approach
It’s noteworthy that all five of the aforementioned QBs are recent Pro-Bowlers. That leaves some really big shoes to fill. The reality is the gap between a Pro-Bowl QB and a second-string inexperienced QB is huge. That’s not an indoctrination of the second-stringer, just a matter of fact. Good handicappers will tell you that these types of injuries should move the point spread as much as a full touchdown (7 pts) against the team that losses its starter. That’s why good NFL handicappers will usually take a wait and see approach on games that involve sidelined quarterbacks.
During the preseason, backup QBs get plenty of snaps and playing time. By the start of the regular season, they are relegated to the bench where they sit waiting for a chance to show what they can do under real game situations. Furthermore, they usually don’t get much more than a third of the practice snaps during the week prior to gameday. The result is an ill prepared QB who could suddenly get pushed into the heat of battle.
That’s not to say all backup QBs lack the talent to pick the ball up and help their team win football games. The aforementioned Nick Coles was in fact a second-string QB for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 when an injury to the starting QB Michael Vick pressed Foles into action in game 4. All he did was lead the Eagles to the playoffs, winning 9 of the team’s remaining 12 games.
The point is bettors never know what they are going to get when a backup QB takes over the controls. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid betting with or against backup quarterbacks in a starting role for two games, enough time to show that with which they are made.