NFL Betting: COVID Doing A Number On NFL Week 15 Odds

Cleveland Browns running back #24 Nick Chubb runs the ball in a 2021 road game.
Image Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

As Friday unfolded across the vast NFL betting landscape, oddsmakers scrambled to keep up with COVID. Multiple games on the NFL Week 15 odds board were postponed/rescheduled. Amid the constant shifting, sharp players and more alert bettors were looking to get an edge on the house.

Three games have moved off the weekend and into next week: Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns; Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles; and Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams.

Multiple sportsbook insiders discussed how those moves (and COVID in general) are impacting the NFL Week 15 odds and betting action.

NFL Postpones Three Matchups

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
Image Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders-Browns, which was set for Saturday afternoon, has moved to 5 p.m. ET Monday on FOX. Washington-Philly and Seahawks-Rams moved from Sunday to Tuesday, with both games kicking off at 7 p.m. ET . The Browns, Washington and the Rams are the teams with the significant COVID issues.

WynnBet took all three games off the board by mid-afternoon Friday ET, but until that point was taking action on all three. And it was challenging to do so, to say the least.

“We’re pretty much on our back heels all the time with the current COVID landscape,” WynnBet senior lead trader Matt Lindeman said. “While we’re taking bets and moving lines, our sharp customers are hunting for the latest piece of injury information that can provide them with a huge edge. This leads to some lopsided decisions where we will need a team missing key players.

“We’ve tried mitigating our risk by keeping limits lower. But more often than not, we’re still in an unpleasant position.”

John Murray, executive director of The SuperBook, noted it’s a chess game right now.

“It’s been challenging for both the bettors and those on this side of the counter,” Murray told Props.

As of 5 p.m. ET, every book Props,com contacted had taken all three games off the board.

NFL Week 15 Betting Not Slowing Down

Philadelphia quarterback #1 Jalen Hurts audibles the play at the line of scrimmage in a 2021 home game.
Image Credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

While COVID is definitely disrupting the schedule, it’s not keeping bettors from firing on the NFL Week 15 odds market. As Lindeman noted, customers are looking for an advantage, real or perceived. WynnBet trader Sawyer Johnson said the action is steady as ever.

“In terms of the total number of bets and overall handle, it is pretty comparable to a standard NFL week,” Johnson said. “But when you break down the types of bets, it is certainly different than most weeks. A lot of our action has been a result of COVID news.”

The SuperBook’s Murray echoed that sentiment.

“I haven’t seen any impact on handle. A lot of bets from arbitrage players, playing our number to a book that was slow to move,” Murray said.

Know Your House Rules

An overall look at the MGM Grand Detroit sports betting & entertainment venue called BetMGM Sports Lounge at its casino in Detroit, Michigan on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
Image Credit: Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC

With all these scheduling moves, it’s important to know how sportsbooks handle such situations.

“I want to emphasize that you should know the rules at your shop when you place a bet,” Murray said. “There may be a lot of postponements and cancellations coming.”

For the NFL, The SuperBook’s rule is that all bets are action, as long as the game is played within eight days of the originally scheduled date. WynnBet has a similar rule, but a shorter window: “Abandoned or postponed games are void unless rearranged and played in the same weekly schedule.” So in the instance of an NFL schedule, a game would have to be played somewhere in the Thursday-through-Wednesday window, prior to the following week’s Thursday night game.

That’s currently the case for the three postponed games — Raiders-Browns now being played Monday, and Washington-Eagles/Seahawks-Rams now scheduled for Tuesday. So all WynnBet customers who wagered on those games have live bets for the moment.

At BetMGM, any postponed game remains action as long it’s played within one week of the originally scheduled date and location. Caesars Sportsbook said bets remain action if the game is played within seven days of the originally scheduled date.

At Station Sportsbooks, operating solely in Las Vegas, the house rule is significantly different. If a game is not played on the originally scheduled date, it’s no action and a refund for the customer.