Jets vs. Browns: Jets undervalued by betting market

Yahoo Sports
Has the betting public overreacted to the loss of <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/30973/" data-ylk="slk:Sam Darnold">Sam Darnold</a> to illness? (AP)
Has the betting public overreacted to the loss of Sam Darnold to illness? (AP)

Analysis courtesy of The Action Network’s John Ewing. Yahoo! is partnering with The Action Network during the football season to bring you expert sports betting information and analysis.

Sam Darnold will not play for the Jets on Monday against the Browns (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN). The quarterback has been diagnosed with mononucleosis and is expected to miss multiple games.

New York was a 2.5-point underdog before the news broke. With Trevor Siemian expected to start, the line has moved to 6.5 at PointsBet, where Action Network users can exclusively bet every NFL spread this season at reduced juice (-105).

Unsurprisingly, the public likes Cleveland’s chances of covering without Darnold in the lineup. More than 70 percent of spread tickets are on Baker Mayfield & Co. at the time of writing.

The Browns are a popular bet, but can gamblers trust Freddie Kitchens’ team to cover?

History says no.

Heavy action on MNF

What are you doing on Monday, Thursday and Sunday night? Watching football of course. As a result, primetime games like Monday Night Football are among the most-bet contests every week. A large line movement in these matchups is often an overreaction by the public to a piece of information like an injury or poor recent play.

It has been profitable to go against big line moves in primetime games. Since 2003, a $100 bettor would have won $2,437 backing teams that see the line move at least two points against them (+3 to +5 or -3 to -1, for example), according to Bet Labs.

According to William Bernanke of CG Technology in Las Vegas, Darnold is worth three points to the spread this season. When the Jets moved from +2.5 to +6.5, that exceeded Darnold’s worth to the spread and went through key numbers of 3 and 6. This is an overreaction.

Our Bet Labs NFL sims agree: After simulating the game 10,000 times, the Browns win by 3.5 points on average with Siemian starting for the Jets. Sean Koerner’s NFL power ratings make Cleveland a 5-point favorite.

History, oddsmakers, simulations and power ratings all suggest the Jets are being undervalued by the betting market. Darnold won’t play on Monday but that doesn’t mean the Jets won’t cover.

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