Wagers Tip Off Sportsbooks to Injury Status of Cowboys QBBetting
All week leading up to the Dallas Cowboys’ matchup with the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football in Week 8, it was unclear whether star quarterback Dak Prescott would play.
An injured calf was putting his availability in doubt, but nothing definitive had been announced by the team just yet. Sportsbooks began to be tipped off that Prescott wouldn’t play, though, by an odd source — the wagers of sports bettors around the country.
The Line Begins to Move on Thursday
Prescott wasn’t officially announced as inactive for Sunday night’s game until roughly 90 minutes before the game started that night. But all the way back on Thursday, sportsbooks began to believe that the star quarterback wouldn’t play in the game.
The sportsbooks had inside information, it seemed, but not from sources within the National Football League or the Dallas Cowboys. It was the action of sports bettors that tipped the sportsbook operators off that Prescott was probably not going to play.
On Thursday, the betting line was Cowboys -1.5 over the Vikings. Then, sportsbooks around the country started taking big bets on the Vikings, some of them coming from influential bettors and others considered pros.
Slowly but surely, sportsbook operators began to move the line to try to stay ahead of the news. By 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, the line moved to a pick ’em.
At that line, big money kept coming in on the Vikings — and it was coming in from well-respected sports bettors in the industry. This forced sportsbooks to keep moving the line.
When Prescott was officially announced as out on Sunday night, the line moved even more. The consensus closing line was Vikings -4.5. That’s a rather large 6-point swing in the point spread from where it opened to where it closed. Point swings of that size are usually not seen in NFL betting, unless of course there is a major injury — like the one seen in the Cowboys-Vikings game.
Sportsbooks Win Out
Sports bettors were trying to capitalize on what they perceived to be a bad line. They figured that with Prescott out of the lineup, the Vikings would be able to dominate the Cowboys.
That didn’t happen, though. Even though they didn’t have their star quarterback, Dallas still prevailed. The Cowboys won the game 20-16 with Cooper Rush, their normal backup, running the offense.
Ultimately, sportsbooks cashed in on all those wagers that bettors made on the Vikings — no matter when they placed their best. Because the Cowboys won by 4 points, they covered the spread at all the points in the line movement.
Even sports bettors who got the best line, Vikings +1.5, before the spread began to move didn’t win. That ultimately resulted in a pretty decent win for the sportsbooks to cap Sunday’s slate of NFL games.
It was a win the sportsbooks desperately needed, especially after bettors have been getting the upper hand on them in the first seven weeks of the NFL season.
The win moved the Cowboys to 6-1 on the NFL season, solidifying their lead in the NFC East division. It also improved them to 7-0 against the spread on the year. That makes them just the fourth NFL team since the 2000 to start the season by covering the point spread in the first seven games.