Cleveland Browns: Loss of Myles Garrett seems to mean nothing to oddsmakers

 

The line didn’t move much when Cleveland Browns lost Myles Garrett

How can the Cleveland Browns lose superstar Myles Garrett plus starting tackle Jack Conklin, plus both placekicker Cody Parkey and fullback Andy Janovich, and have minimal impact on the point spread and over/under for Sunday’s contest between the Browns and Philadelphia Eagles?

After checking several sites including Draft Kings and the Don Best, as of Friday afternoon, the Browns are favored by -3 points instead of -3.5 points, and the over/under is now 47.5 points rather than 45 points as it was in midweek.

That would seem to mean that Garrett is only worth, on the average, about a half-point to the relative outcome, but without him, both teams might be inspired to play a slightly more offense-oriented brand of football. But the difference is minimal.

This seems crazy. Garrett is the master of the strip-sack, and the Browns have converted several of his gifts into points. Without him, the Browns would seem to be a different team altogether. Can Porter Gustin and Adrian Clayborn stand-in for the big guy?

However, scuttlebutt has it that the betting public has continued to aggressively support the Browns, and there may be a huge war chest favoring Cleveland based on the early wagers this week. They may need some late bets on Philadelphia just to balance the amount of money that has already been bet on the two teams.

For that reason, oddsmakers maybe letting the line ride until the amount of money wagered on the Eagles catches up to the amount wagered on the Browns. If they get the amounts to equalize, that is guaranteed to make a profit for the House, whereas if all the money is on Cleveland, a Browns win would make the gambling houses unhappy.

Browns fans are excited to finally have a winning team, whereas Eagles fans are cynical about a team that won the Super Bowl three years ago, coached by former Browns quarterback Doug Pederson, but which has declined the past two seasons. In 2018, they went 9-7, winning only one playoff game. Last year they again went 9-7 but were knocked out of the playoffs by Seattle. This year they are 3-5-1, and yet are in contention because they compete with the rebuilding New York Giants, Jerry Jones salary cap disaster in Dallas, and Dan Snyder’s politically incorrect Washington dysfunction.

In any case, the Eagles fan base has not bet huge amounts of money on their favorite team. Is their favorite team the Eagles? Or is it any team that plays the Eagles that week? If you have friends from Philadelphia, you can relate to that last question. In any case, you can understand the reluctance to bet on the Eagles just now.

It stands to reason that Myles Garrett is in fact an impact player, and without him, the Browns’ chances to win take a major hit. The lack of the line movement may have more to do with the betting pattern of the public rather than the actual expected value of Garrett’s impact which has to be very significant. If they did not before, the Eagles now have a decent shot to win this game. Materially, it affects Carson Wentz greatly. Wentz has been sacked 35 times already this season, with nine fumbles and 12 interceptions. Without Myles Garrett to add to the sack total, he might straighten out and have a good game.

Alternatively, maybe it means that Vegas had already figured that Garrett probably had Covid-19 based on reports he did not feel well, and they might have already priced that into their betting lines. They are very smart and tend to find out about things before the public does, so anything is possible.

As always, DPD fans are cautioned that this fan is not a gambler and is not making a recommendation on the game because Las Vegas is smarter than he is. Plus they get 10 percent off the top, so it is best not to mess with them.

The Browns have depth at the offensive line to replace Conklin for a game. Kendall Lamm may get an opportunity to start. He has performed well for the Browns in limited opportunities in the past. They will probably promote practice squad kicker Matt McCrane to stand in for Cody Parkey.

We can only hope that if Nick Chubb breaks a run again, this week he will complete the run into the endzone. There were a lot of unhappy bettors last week, including Sir Charles Barkley.

The Browns and Eagles take the field in Cleveland on Nov. 11. Odds say it will be a great game.

It could also be much closer than originally thought without these key players, even if those who make the odds don’t think there should be much change.