Several days ago, multiple readers told us of a discussion on WEEI in Boston regarding the point spread for Week 13′s Patriots-Dolphins game.
Apparently, the thing was moving in the direction of the Dolphins, prompting speculation that Tom Brady possibly wasn’t removed from Monday night’s loss to the Saints because coach Bill Belichick opted not to take a shot at a comeback for the ages, but because he’s hurt.
We didn’t mention it at the time, in large part because Danny Sheridan’s line at USA Today had moved only on one-half point, from the Pats being favored by 6.5 to 6.
But now, one of our most loyal and astute readers, who has done more than enough to secure a free PFT subscription for himself and his heirs, points out that BetUS.com has now taken the game off the board.
At SportsBetting.com, Miami is now only getting 3 points.
And Sheridan’s line has moved to 4.
As we’ve explained in the past, the line is aimed only at ensuring that, when the game starts, equal dollars will have been wagered on each team. That way, the house generates its profit from the 11-to-10 ratio that typically applies to the winning wagers.
The line moves toward one team when a disproportionate amount of money is being placed on the other team. And it keeps moving until it reaches a point where the betting is equalized.
In this specific case, something apparently is causing a lot of gamblers to think that the Dolphins are going to win the game, since in the opinion of several of the folks who determine the point spreads nothing is correcting the heavy betting trend toward Miami.
We’re mentioning this not because we care about the gambling angle — we don’t. But we realize that many of you do, and we also are intrigued by the possibility that someone has gotten their hands on inside information not reflected on the New England injury report.
For Patriots coach Bill Belichick, it’s a matter of strategic advantage. For the NFL, however, it’s an issue that potentially undermines the integrity of the game.
And it’s another reason why the league staunchly will oppose any efforts to further legalize gambling. With legal sports betting comes accountability, both as to the quality of the game officials and as to the quality of the information provided prior to the games regarding the health status of the players. Eventually, Commissioner Roger Goodell would be sitting once again before the House Judiciary Committee explaining why the officials aren’t full-time employees and/or why the injury report doesn’t consistently include full information as to the status of all injured players.
In this case, only the health — or lack thereof — of quarterback Tom Brady would move the line so dramatically that multiple services would drop the game completely. So we’ll be watching this game more closely than we otherwise would have been following it today.