Injuries are a part of football and every seasoned bettor should know how to adjust their handicapping to compensate for them. Injuries to top players can have a drastic impact on betting lines, but so can the underlying injuries to lesser-known players.
Here are three teams that are currently paying the price for not having their best under-the-radar players on the field:
Oakland Raiders (3-8 SU, 3-8 ATS)
Streak: Four consecutive losses
Twelve weeks into the season and the numbers are particularly ugly. The Raiders gave up 42 to Tampa Bay, 55 to Baltimore, 38 to New Orleans and 34 to Cincinnati – a four-game span that ranks among the worst since the 1970 merger with the AFL. Injuries to the defense have forced the coaching staff into cut-and-paste mode. Cornerback Ron Bartell missed seven games and has been ineffective since returning in Week 10. The other projected CB starter, Shawntae Spencer, is out for the season. Safety Tyvon Branch, one of the few healthy bodies in the secondary, is out with a neck injury. And with All-Pro DT Richard Semour out for the last three weeks, Oakland has been getting zero pressure on opposing QBs. Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton was upright all day and threw for three TDs on Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals (4-7 SU, 4-6-1 ATS)
Streak: Seven consecutive losses
When Ryan Lindley is your starting QB, you better have a decent offensive line. But injuries have forced coach Ken Whisenhunt to start rookies (Bobby Massie and Nate Potter) at both tackle spots. Pressured, Lindley threw four picks in Sunday’s two-touchdown loss at home to the Rams. Whisenhunt knew he had his work cut out when starting LT Levi Brown went down for the season with a pre-season injury, but after a 4-0 start, the Cards are being worn down as they dig ever deeper into the depth chart.
San Diego Chargers (4-7 SU, 5-6 ATS)
Streak: Three consecutive losses and six in the last seven games
San Diego has been competitive in games in which Jared Gaither was able to suit up. But the big-money LT is out for the season, and the Chargers don’t seem to have a lot of fight left in them. Gaither played in Weeks 4, 5, 8 and 9, but since then replacement Mike Harris has struggled. As if things aren’t bad enough, the Chargers – whose special teams play has been spotty for a few years – placed long snapper Mike Windt on IR and will try to get by with Kyle Nelson, who before this season had never snapped in an NFL game.