Concussions to three starting quarterbacks dominated Sunday’s headlines, as Jay Cutler, Alex Smith and Michael Vick all left their respective games and didn't return because of blows to the head. But what does this mean for bettors moving forward?
We chatted with Aron Black of bet365.com about each signal-caller’s worth to the spread and which teams are best prepared to deal with the injuries to their first stringers.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears - RED ALERT
Bears QB Jay Cutler took a hard hit from Texans LB Tim Dobbins while scrambling to make a play just before halftime and his status is uncertain for Chicago's upcoming clash with the 49ers. The Sports Club, a Nevada-based oddsmaking service, sent out a suggested spread of 49ers -3 for the much-anticipated Monday nighter.
“I would say Cutler is most valuable to the spread (of the three injured QBs),” said Black. “And his value would be worth around 4.5 points. But those values are based more on the QB’s worth to his team, as opposed to his individual talent.”
If Cutler can’t suit up in San Fran, backup Jason Campbell will be ready to answer the bell.
“An average at best NFL quarterback,” Black noted about Campbell. “He struggled to make any real impact and settled for short, safe check-downs, instead of trying for more risky but necessary downfield options in relief Sunday. I don’t see many (bettors) putting faith in the Bears if Campbell starts. But I could see them backing San Francisco, even with Smith out.”
Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers - ORANGE ALERT
Niners coach Jim Harbaugh believes Smith suffered his concussion on a QB sneak in the second quarter of a 24-24 tie with St. Louis Sunday, but noted that Smith took three other big hits in the offensive series. Smith is worth 3.5 to 4 points to the spread, according to Black.
“He is the best of the three and as a player is worth more, but San Francisco has a very good run offense, so they can probably cope better than the other teams.”
Black also believes the 49ers are the team best suited to deal with the potential loss of their starting QB.
“Colin Kaepernick had the best result (last week). He gained a comeback tie in OT and put some good numbers up for himself, with some good pass and run stats.”
The University of Nevada standout completed 11 of his 17 pass attempts for 117 yards, while rushing for an additional 66 and a touchdown.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles - YELLOW ALERT
Vick was nailed by Dallas LB Ernie Sims on an incomplete pass and was slow to get up early in the second quarter of Philadelphia’s 38-23 loss. Vick, who Black guesses is worth 1-2.5 points to the spread, bolted for the locker room and was replaced by Nick Foles with Sunday’s game tied 7-7.
“Foles appears to be the guy most likely to carry on with the role,” Black said. “He did no worse than Vick has…You can’t help but feel that with the way the Eagles play offense now, and how their season has gone. They may as well see what Foles is about. He did a good job in place of Vick, and was always going to be greeted well by the fans, given how poorly Vick has played. But unfortunately, the offensive line is terrible regardless of who starts.”
The Eagles are in Washington this week and most books have the game off the board until further information regarding Vick’s status is released. However, The Sports Club sent out a suggested spread of Washington -2.5.