NFC's most important players: NFL betting breakdown

Jul 24, 2013 |
NFC's most important players: NFL betting breakdown
Ndamukong Suh could be worth as much as 2.5 points to the spread if his head is right.
Ndamukong Suh could be worth as much as 2.5 points to the spread if his head is right.
One player does not make a team, especially in football. However, there are some clubs out there that simply wouldn't be as good if one key cog was ripped from the clockwork. columnist Adam Schein highlighted these talents in his recent lists of the NFL’s “Most Important Players” for the 2013 season – revealing not just the best or most valuable guys on the roster but “identifying the guy who needs to achieve - and overachieve -- for the team to reach its potential.”

While these players are indispensable to their teams, oddsmakers and most football bettors don’t quite feel the same. We asked sportsbooks and some of the sharpest NFL handicappers in the country to set estimated point values for each of Schein’s selections according to their impact on the pointspread if they were to sit out game. Bettors could find some hidden value if one of these "MIPs" misses time during the upcoming 2013 NFL season.

Here are the “Most Important Players” in the NFC and their estimated value to the pointspread:

Larry Fitzgerald, WR Arizona Cardinals

Point value: 2-3 points

Why so valuable: Weapons are few and far between in the desert and the Cardinals’ best chance of finding paydirt begins and ends with Fitzgerald.

Steven Jackson, RB Atlanta Falcons

Point value: 0.5–2.5 points

Why so valuable: Schein says Jackson could be the best offseason addition and gives Atlanta a closer in the fourth quarter. Oddsmakers and cappers did differ on his value to the spread though.

Luke Kuechly, LB Carolina Panthers

Point value: 0.5-2 points

Why so valuable: The Defensive Rookie of the Year is already the backbone of the Panthers defense, a stop unit that needs to improve if it is going to compete in the NFC South.

Jay Cutler, QB Chicago Bears

Point value: 3-6 points

Why so valuable: Everything is riding on Cutler this season. The Bears offense doesn’t work without him, even more so now that new head coach Marc Trestman is calling the plays.

Tony Romo, QB Dallas Cowboys

Point value: 3.5-6 points

Why so important: Every minute up until his ill-timed blunders, Romo’s been among the best passers in the league. Schein says without Romo, the Cowboys would have won only six games.

Ndamukong Suh, DT Detroit Lions

Point value: 0.5-2.5 points

Why so valuable: If Suh plays to his potential, the Lions could have one of the nastiest defenses in the NFL. Aron Black, of estimated Suh’s value as high as 2.5 points “if playing with his head on straight, which is a big question mark.”

B.J. Raji, DT Green Bay Packers

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: Raji was slowed by injuries in 2012 and the defense crumbled around him. If Green Bay is going back to the Super Bowl, the stop unit has to be better.

Greg Jennings, WR Minnesota Vikings

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: Jennings replaces Percy Harvin as the Vikings’ No. 1 passing threat but Minnesota has the same problem: keeping its top receiver healthy. Jennings needs to be threat down field to keep the heat off RB Adrian Peterson.

Will Smith, LB New Orleans Saints

Point value: 0-1 point

Why so valuable: The Saints switch to the 3-4 and Smith goes from DE to LB. A quick and easy transition will pave the way for the defense.

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE New York Giants

Point value: 1-2 points

Why so valuable: New York bettors could really see JPP’s true value if he’s not recovered from offseason back surgery. His presence in the pass rush can bail out a shaky secondary.

Jason Peters, LT Philadelphia Eagles

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: Peter’s absence was felt on the offensive line and in order for Chip Kelly’s new offense to gain traction, they need their LT on the field.

Vernon Davis, TE San Francisco 49ers

Point value: 1-2 points

Why so valuable: Without Michael Crabtree, Davis will take on more of the receiving load on top of being Colin Kaepernick’s safety net.

Percy Harvin, WR Seattle Seahawks

Point value: 0.5-1.5 points

Why so valuable: Not only does Harvin give Russell Wilson a deep threat but the troublesome speedster stretches defenses and opens it up for Marshawn Lynch to go beast mode.

James Laurinaitis, LB St. Louis Rams

Point value: 0-2 points

Why so valuable: The Rams defense ranked in the middle of the road, allowing 21.8 points per game in 2012. The Road Warrior’s son is the best chance of improving in the competitive NFC West.

Darrelle Revis, CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Point value: 1-2.5 points

Why so valuable: Revis is “the” shutdown corner in the NFL when 100 percent but most are holding their breath after he missed 2012 with a knee injury. “If he stays healthy and performs, he’s in the ‘best in league’ argument at the position,” says Black.

Brian Orakpo, LB Washington Redskins

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: The Skins defense took a slide after Orakpo went down in Week 2. While D.C. is all about RG3, Washington needs to be able to stop somebody if they want another playoff appearance.

Desktop View: Switch to Mobile View