FanPost

Witness the Gambling Community Valuing RGIII

This week's NFL Vegas Lines are out--conspicuously absent are picks for our game against Cleveland on Sunday. So far as I can tell, only YouWager.eu has opened, with Cleveland a 7 point favorite. All the other teams' lines are rather developed (although some places are still thinking hard about the Indy/Houston, SF/NE games). The Vegas casinos haven't touched Redskins @ Cleveland, almost certainly because information is still unavailable on our starting QB:

12/16 1:00 PM
311 Washington
312 Cleveland

37½u-10
-7 -15

37½u-10
-7 -15














WAS-QB-Robert Griffin III-? | TV: FOX, DTV: 706

I've long been a proponent of having Las Vegas pick the BCS standings for CFB, because their lines are creepily accurate. As gamblers know, however, their lines aren't (strictly speaking) predictive of outcomes, but are rather designed to create the same amount of action on either side of the line. Public gambling trends (like choosing home teams, the favorite, etc. more often than not) will skew lines away from being purely predictive. But they're still pretty solid.

If he is announced to start Sunday we'll get to see immediately how many points the line-setters value (an injured) RGIII in real points. YouWager.eu's line probably reflects their own assumption that RGIII isn't going to play. In any case, we should get to see how much RGIII is worth in terms of total points, at least according to people who predict such things for a living.

EDIT: I forgot to make my own prediction. I think that Mike Shanahan will not announce RGIII ready this week--or if he does, not until the last possible moment--confounding the lines, and likely preventing much action on this game. If he announced tomorrow that RGIII is practicing, looks healthy, and is ready to play, and did so believably, I think the line would move to even money. If RGIII were not injured, I think we would be a -1 or -1.5 point favorite. In other words, I think the difference between RGIII and not-RGIII is about 8 points, although that's only because Kirk Cousins is still an unknown commodity. He could certainly shrink that gap with an impressive performance this weekend, though hopefully that won't be necessary.

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