Wagering and injuries

There is a right time and wrong time to play on or against a team when news hits that a key player is injured and is ruled out for a game, month or even the rest of season. Keep in mind that the public overreacts initially to an injury and because of this the oddsmkers have to react as well.


Most bettors will jump on a team that has a key player injured the first game out and this is absolutely the wrong time. First off teams pull together when they lose a star player and traditionally play extremely tough the first few games and each player on the team give’s that extra effort. Case in point, New Orleans lost a big star when Chris Paul went down for the season. All they did was go 2 – 1 in the first 3 games and won at Memphis as 7.5 point underdogs. Keep in mind there was major line adjustments by the oddsmakers in these games already and the value was on New Orleans in the first games after Chris Paul was injured. Now, because of the success in the first few games without Paul, another line adjustment had to be made. This is where we stepped in as a heating up Phoenix Suns team was playing in New Orleans on back-to-back nights. The line opened at Phoenix -1 because New Orleans was coming off a road win and Phoenix was playing on back-to-back nights. We jumped on Phoenix as this is the perfect time to go against a Paul-less New Orleans team. A team can only keep the intensity up for so many games and New Orleans was bound to run out of gas. Phoenix won by 9.


Most bettors made two mistakes in the Chris Paul injury, first most played against New Orleans in the games immediately following his injury and the secondly because they got “burnt” by New Orleans they laid off their games completely instead of playing against them. Case in point, Memphis opened as 5 point favorites and closed at -7.5 as the public jumped all over Memphis because of the Chris Paul injury.


Next comes the “return” and once again a common mistake among bettors, the return of the star player. The same principals apply and you need to account for the public perception as the oddsmakers do and know that a line adjustment in coming. Most bettors will jump on a team when their injured star returns but that is the exact time to play against the team. As we said teams pull together when their str player gets hurt and teams (players) relax when their star returns. In the first game back for a star, it is human nature for the other players to relax because now that the star is back everything is going to be better. This is the time to play against the team with the returning star.


Couple of things to remember when looking at teams that lose their “super star”. How long is the player going to be out? If a player is out just 2 or 3 games the impact on his being out and returning is far less then when a team loses a player for an extended time period. The best times to consider play on or against teams that lose their super star is when the player will be out for an extended period of time.