How much does a head coach matter to the point spread? It all depends on the quality of the coach and the circumstances regarding his absence, but in the case of the Las Vegas Raiders, the answer is apparently “not much”.
Jon Gruden has resigned as the head coach of the Raiders after several emails came to light with derogatory and offensive language. The odds screen lit up upon the news in advance of Sunday’s AFC West clash with the Denver Broncos, but the excitement was short-lived.
Any -3 that was on the board got moved to -3.5, but that was really about it. The line had already swung a little bit from -2.5 up to -3 in favor of the Broncos off of the Westgate Superbook lookahead lines prior to Week 5. The Raiders looked really bad at home against the Chicago Bears and Derek Carr was beaten up pretty good in that game.
The Broncos didn’t play well themselves, but were at least heading home to the thin air and Teddy Bridgewater looked good in the second half to put some cosmetic touches on the scoreboard.
Some sportsbooks likely did see action as a result of the Gruden news or maybe some advance notice for influential bettors that have connections across the industry. Others moved to follow suit with the market and just as a precautionary measure wit the expectation of some Broncos money.
The Raiders named Rich Bisaccia the interim head coach. He was the special teams coordinator. That leaves Gus Bradley to focus on the defense, Greg Olson to focus on the offense and experienced position coaches like Rod Marinelli, Richard Smith and Tom Cable to keep the focus on what they do best.
We’ll see if more recreational and public bettors react to the Gruden news as the week goes along, but for now, it looks as though the sharp money that bets early in the week doesn’t believe it is a big deal relative to the point spread.