Oddsmakers are shifting their NFL Week 1 odds after word broke Friday afternoon about a potential suspension for Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident from the summer of 2016.
Elliott, who rushed for 1631 yards and 15 touchdowns as a rookie last season, is preparing for a brief suspension according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. According to the report, Elliott could be suspended for one or two games.
The Cowboys host their division rivals the New Giants in Week 1 in the Sunday night game on NBC. Dallas is a 5-point favorite but bookmakers are moving their numbers in preparation of a possible Elliot suspension.
“Week 1 [Cowboys-Giants game] went from -4.5 to -4 and we lowered the moneyline down -220 to -190,” Peter Childs, supervisor of risk management for Sportsbook.ag, told Covers. “That’s based strictly on speculation though. If he is indeed suspended for a few games, we’ll further lower Week 1 to -3.5 or maybe -3 flat (even juice).”
A lines manager at GTBets.eu says his spread is at -5 but the number could drop two points if Elliot is ruled out.
Not all books are in agreement with how much Elliott is worth to the Cowboys’ pointspread. Bookmaker reports it has received some action on the Giants in the last few hours but has, to this point, only adjusted the juice and not the spread.
“Always depends on the opponent when assessing value to a player, but Elliott is generally worth a half point to a spread,” Bookmaker spokesperson Scott Cooley told Covers. “Still not too many players other than quarterbacks that have enough value to impact a line.”
There’s no doubting Elliott’s immense talent but Dallas’ offensive line is among – if not the best – units in the league. Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris are the next two running backs on the depth chart should Elliott become unavailable.
The Cowboys season win total still sits at 9.5 and their odds to win the Super Bowl are +1000.
"Should Elliott be suspended for four games or more, the Cowboys’ futures odds to win the Super Bowl would drop from +970 to +1100," Cooley says.
Update: Elliot is suspected of being involved in an incident at Clutch Bar in Dallas on Sunday night, according to a TMZ report. Police arrived on the scene to take a statement from an intoxicated victim who had suffered a broken nose. The victim told police he did not know how he broke his nose but his friend told police it was the Dallas Cowboys running back.
Elliot was not at the scene when police arrived and he has not been questioned. No arrests have been made.