Instead of hitting Ezekiel Elliott with a brief suspension, the NFL dropped the Dallas Cowboys’ star running back for a stunning six-game loss Friday morning.
Las Vegas bookmakers reacted swiftly by taking almost all odds — Super Bowl, conference, division and early-season games — involving the Cowboys off the board.
“We kind of knew about it, but I think the big surprise is six games,” said Vinny Magliulo, VSiN oddsmaker and Gaughan Gaming sports book director. “If Elliott is out six games, everything has to be held up and adjusted.”
Elliott was the league’s leading rusher as a rookie with 1,631 yards on 322 carries. He also had 15 rushing touchdowns. Elliott and rookie quarterback Dak Prescott were the driving forces behind Dallas’ 13-3 finish last year, when it won the NFC East by two games.
Immediately after the NFL announced Elliott’s lengthy suspension for violating the personal conduct policy, oddsmakers at the Westgate made significant changes in the Cowboys’ numbers and reposted some of the odds.
Dallas’ odds to win the Super Bowl moved from 10-1 to 12-1, while Green Bay was adjusted from 10-1 to 8-1. The Cowboys were shifted from 9-2 to 6-1 to win the NFC, while the Packers moved from 5-1 to 7-2.
The odds to win the NFC East were adjusted for all four teams — Dallas (5-4 to 7-4), New York Giants (11-5 to 9-5), Philadelphia (7-2 to 13-4) and Washington (6-1 to 21-4).
“You have to adjust all the futures. There’s a ripple effect to it all,” Magliulo said. “If you’re going to raise the Cowboys, you’ve got to lower the Giants. I liked the Giants anyway.”
At the South Point, the Cowboys were posted at 5-1 odds to win the Super Bowl and as plus-110 favorites to win the division, but those numbers were being taken down and adjusted.
The Cowboys opened as 5 ½-point home favorites over the Giants in Week 1, but the line dropped to 4 at the South Point as of Thursday.
Elliott has three days to file an appeal and a hearing must be scheduled within 10 days of the filing. As of now, it’s unlikely Elliott will be on the field in Week 1, and he might not be seen in any games in September.
“I thought it was going to be three or four games and maybe appealed down to two,” Westgate sports book director Jay Kornegay said.
Dallas’ regular-season win total of 9½ is off the board, and it will be lower when it gets reposted. After hosting the Giants, the Cowboys face road trips to Denver and Arizona before a home game against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4. Pending an appeal, there is a chance Elliott could return to play against the Packers on Oct. 8 in Week 5.
Kornegay said Elliott’s worth to the point spread is “1½ points at the most, but probably 1.”
Elliott, Pittsburgh's Le’Veon Bell and Arizona’s David Johnson are the NFL’s most valuable running backs from a point-spread perspective. The quality of the backups factor into the starter’s value, and the Cowboys have capable running backs in veterans Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris.
“McFadden is going to be rested and healthy, and Morris is not bad,” Kornegay said. “It’s still a great offensive line and great offense.”
Oddsmakers eye changes to Cowboys: https://www.vsin.com/oddsmakers-eye-changes-to-cowboys-without-elliott/
Teams testing the Bounce Theory: https://www.vsin.com/are-raiders-for-real-or-due-to-regress/