When you make a bet, you are making a wager on a team in a given moment in time. Odds are like prices, or perhaps a better way to think of them is like stocks with a given value. You either think that the price is not set right given the opportunity to win or that at some point in the future something will happen that will change the price, and the one at which you made the bet is now a value. The latter scenario is an important concept and the reason that OddsShopper experts are frequently writing articles like this one that evaluate bets early in the lifespan of a given market. Nevertheless, in this post we’re going to look at how to bet injury news responsibly .
The issue is that you cannot do much better than evaluating the information available to you in a given moment and speculating on what might be to come. Things change, teams lose momentum among bettors, weather affects game environments or players simply start performing worse moving lines. The most influential factor on line movement is injuries, especially to key players.
One minute, the Bills might be favored over their opponent by 3-points. The next minute, Adam Schefter could tweet out news saying that Josh Allen has come down with the flu and Buffalo just announced that he will have to miss the game. If you’re quick, you might be able to catch a “stale” line based on the Bills’ chances with Allen still in the game, taking their opponent +3 points before they become the favorite given that Buffalo’s superstar quarterback will be missing.
Getting to the line before the sportsbooks take it down is rare. With so much on the line, especially for major sports like the NFL, the books will have this information at the same time that you do, if not sooner. You will rarely be able to pick these off, even in smaller prop betting markets.
How To Bet Injury News Responsibly
Even if you do get these prices consistently and beat the closing lines by way of quickly reacting to injury news, sportsbooks are likely to not be thrilled at your ability to hammer the closing line and will probably limit your betting. Finding a stale line that doesn’t account for an injury is a great way to handle +EV sports betting in the short-term, but it isn’t a sustainable strategy if you are playing the long game.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take injuries into account and think about how to integrate them into your process. Injuries are a key factor, and when they happen, they throw off markets because evaluating a team’s or player’s chances becomes more complicated.
There are a couple key points to review when thinking about how to bet injury news, some of which are specific to certain sports. First, you will have to think about how the absence of that player affects playing time for the rest of the team, especially if you are looking to find inefficiencies in prop markets. Next, you should also consider to what extent the injury was already priced into the original line, or in other words, is this information a surprise or was there some hint that the player could eventually be ruled out?
Like all things in +EV sports betting there are many other factors to consider, so these three variables hardly exhaust everything you may want to consider when thinking about how to bet injury news. However, it should give you a place to start when thinking about leveraging injury information for sustainable growth to your bankroll.
How Much Does the Injury Matter, and to Whom when looking at How To Bet Injury News Responsibly
You’ve probably already gathered that an injury to a starting quarterback, especially one like Allen, is significant to dramatically change lines. Even on teams without a quarterback like Allen, their quarterback is usually so integral to their success that lines will move to adjust for an injury. When this happens, it will take time for the number to settle back in and it will leave a window of opportunity for you to find value before the new line becomes efficient.
Taking advantage of that is hard. You will have to have some means to evaluate how much the player is worth to his team.
Is Allen worth 7 points? And did the initial line after the injury move only 6? You would want to bet that if you’re confident in your own evaluation.
Getting to the point where you can assess the value of a team with their backup is complicated. Professionals spend years modeling sports and figuring out how things like a player’s “wins above his replacement” might impact the game. If you think you have the chops to do that, that’s great. Dig in and start building your own model. However, there are paths of less resistance that can get you where you need to go.
Instead, it is worth thinking about how the change in personnel will impact the other players on the team and not just the overall outcome of the game. That can be a lot easier to figure out without sophisticated regression models. If Case Keenum is replacing Allen as the Bills starting quarterback, his receivers could take a hit in their production. It will be a lot slower for prop markets to adjust, and even when they do, there is far less liquidity in these markets, so the lines are never as efficient as the point spread or totals.
When the injury news happens, it can throw player props out of whack. Stefon Diggs may have an over/under of 75.5 yards receiving with Allen in, but what should it be with Keenum? It certainly will go down dramatically, but how much so is another story. If the line goes down to just 70.5, it’s probably a great prop to take advantage of given the injury news.
Luckily, OddsShopper tools and Stokastic projections can make this process a lot easier. This data is updated frequently and will not only evaluate the most positive ROI prop bets given the injury situation, but they will allow you to shop for the best line out there for that bet. When you see an injury to a key player, or just any starter you can go to the tools and search for the new projection. You’ll be putting together your own knowledge of the injury news with the sharpest data to capture the most positive EV bet.
Finally, it’s worth giving a few more examples of how injury news can be leveraged. Allen is a pretty obvious example. Of course, if Allen were to play but Diggs was out, you would have similar changes to receiving props that could lead to value opportunities. Gabriel Davis might have his projection increased dramatically if he took on the No. 1 wide receiving role. In fact, everyone on their route tree would see a bump.
Other sports can be treated similarly. If LeBron James is sitting out for the Lakers, who takes over his ball-handling duties? That could increase their assist total. Likewise, the rebounds that would have gone to James are now destined to be spread around to the rest of the team.
Most important are his minutes. Who gets the playing time? Minutes are the essence of projections in the NBA since the most highly correlative factor to counting statistics is the time a player has on the court. If he is getting a lot more minutes, then a few more rebounds are likely to bounce his way. Again, you’ll do well to leverage Stokastic projections that take all that into account. If you do know a lot about a team, an injury situation and their rotations, you may even add value to these by adding your own evaluation. Backups and rotations change a lot, and the same reason that your own understanding can add value here is the reason that prop markets are overall less efficient after injury news.
The NFL and NBA are just two cases. Every sport has injuries and its own nuances on how to bet on markets after the news breaks. As you continue doing this, you will become fluent in the art and science of betting injury news, using your own understanding of the sport and the influence a player’s absence has combined with the quantitative precision of projections.
The key point is to think about what you can best handle and the difficulty of accurately evaluating how much a player is worth to the line versus more approachable bets like props where you can do well to make a qualitative assessment of how the game is impacted.
Finding Value in the Spread & Total when looking at How To Bet Injury News Responsibly
Although prop bets might be the easiest way to bet injury news, there might still be value to bet on the game’s point spread and total. Plus, you might just want to get some action on the entire game for entertainment purposes while still making a +EV bet.
In that case, another issue to remember is how valuable the injury information is relative to the price prior to the news. Not all news is created equal. If a player has been known to have a lingering injury issue, then that might already be accounted for in the line. This is sometimes referred to as a hedge price by sportsbooks, who keep the price of a game in a middling place that can go either way depending on what happens.
Let’s continue using Allen as an example. In a real-life situation a couple weeks ago, the Bills were set to play the Vikings, with Allen’s status truly in the air until the night before the game. That entire week, the spread for Buffalo over Minnesota at home was set at -4.5 at most books. As soon as Allen was confirmed to be in, that immediately went up to 6.5 and 7 at most outlets. On the other hand, if Allen had been ruled out due to his lingering elbow injury, the line would probably have moved from the 4.5 in Minnesota’s favor. The 4.5-point spread was always a bit of a hedge, and the uncertainty about Allen was priced into the line.
You need to be aware of situations like that one because the short time for the market to react in either direction means that there could be inefficiencies in the new price. Was the 4.5 a hedge? How much would Allen being in or out move things? If it is closer to 4 points than to 2, you will probably find value as the game gets near. Evaluating this takes a little bit of qualitative judgement and a little bit of nuance.
One area to consider is that markets trend toward efficiency because the “wisdom of the crowd” eventually coalesces on the most accurate information. However, in instances where injury happens, the whole market is thrown off and there simply may not be enough time for things to come back to the right number. Is there a market overreaction that you can take advantage of? Someone like Allen is a big deal to public bettors, and with him ruled in they may bet the spread up 2.5 to 3 points when it truly should never have gone up from the 4.5-point hedge. That might not be the case for less impactful players, or at least players that are less popular among the public.
In Short, There’s Rarely a Clear Answer in How To Bet Injury News Responsibly
We’ve gone over two ways to bet injury news. The first approach probably has the most discernable edge. Instead of trying to wade into the complicated waters of pricing or re-pricing the game after the news to figure out the sharpest spread or total, you can get a feel for how the injury impacts a team’s roster and playing time to bet into prop markets. Prop markets are notoriously easier to beat in the first place, and the books will have a much sharper time accounting for injury information.
That is especially the case for injuries to low profile players that might not influence the outcome of a game significantly anyway. When a high-profile player is injured or has the potential to be ruled out and that information is known, most sportsbooks will be well aware of this in advance and they will be able to “hedge” on the line in the first place. That is where we discussed a second approach, which is trying to gauge if the market is overreacting even after the new lines are introduced following injury news. The latter is tough, and you have to remember that sportsbooks and the sharpest bettors are well aware of how to deal with these sorts of things. Nevertheless, there’s an edge if you can work and hone your instincts for how the market is working.
Looking at how to bet injury news responsibly is tough because the biggest edges in things like props, or any bet, come from having pinpoint projections like Stokastic projections and OddsShopper tools. However, just as it takes time for bettors to adjust, so will the projections. That means that until then, you are wading into something that is a bit “art and science.” Eventually projections will be updated, and you are bound to find value by using OddsShopper tools. But picking up on the quickest +EV bets after an injury will require a bit of intuition and experience.