More than any other factor, injuries to starting quarterbacks move point spreads.
No surprise, then, that the Chargers-Chiefs point spread moved about a field goal toward San Diego on Friday after Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith was ruled out with a lacerated spleen.
The Chiefs, who were 3.5- to 4-point favorites vs. the Chargers, are now just one-point favorites at most Nevada sports books, per VegasInsider.com line movement records.
However, here’s a more interesting element of the story: per Micah Roberts of “The Linemakers” of the Sporting News, professional bettors wagered on Kansas City just before Smith’s injury was announced this morning, driving up the point spread. Then, the Smith injury news hit, and down the line went, leaving early bettors with tickets at the higher prices in an unenviable spot.
It’s clear sharp bettors had no idea Smith was hurt; if they knew he were out and wanted to play the Chiefs all the same, they would have waited to get a better price.
“It’s one of the strangest examples of bad time timing I’ve seen,” William Hill U.S. head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich told Roberts. “It was a legitimate move by sharp money on the Chiefs. They were moving it everywhere. This is just another example of the crazy stuff that routinely happens in Week 17.”
Chase Daniel will start in place of Smith for Kansas City (8-7), which needs a win, a Baltimore loss vs. Cleveland and a Houston loss or tie vs. Jacksonville to make the postseason.