1. Derek Carr has a fracture in his back
There’s a handful of NFL injuries to consider this week, but Derek Carr’s back injury might be the most important. EJ Manuel, despite looking serviceable in relief of Carr against Denver, has done little in his career to prove he’s a starting-caliber QB (76.9 career passer rating; 58.6 career completion-percentage).
Oakland opened as a four-point favorite for their Week 5 home game against the Baltimore Ravens. That line is likely to move, but if you can find a site where it’s still available, there’s value there. We all saw what this Raider offense was without Carr last year. He is the centrepiece, the straw that stirs the drink, and whatever other cliche you want to use. They wouldn’t have parked that money barge in his marina (also made out of money) if he wasn’t, and with him out the team is bound to regress. Don’t expect Manuel to be a significant improvement on the Matt McGloin/Connor Cook experiment that ended Oakland’s 2016 season.
Betting Tip: The Baltimore Ravens vs EJ Manuel? You see where this is going.
2. Also, another team without a featured offensive player is favored
Also notable: the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook tore his ACL against the Lions. Minnesota is a road favorite (-3.5) against Chicago, and without Cook, the Vikings are left with Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray. Does that sound eerily reminiscent of the McKinnon/Matt Asiata duo that powered the Vikes to a pedestrian 4.0 yards per carry last year? It should.
Cook doesn’t have the sample size of Derek Carr, but he was averaging close to five yards per carry behind an upgraded-but-still-not-great Viking offensive line. The Florida State product had already silenced anyone who thought the team made a mistake by trading up to draft him in the second round. An ACL tear is maybe the most difficult injury for a running back to return from, and it’s an unfortunate turn in the young back’s career. But bettors don’t have the luxury of dwelling on the tragedy when injuries hit; you have to put emotions aside and reassess, cold and calculated.
Betting Tip: Road favorite without a star player? Minnesota is a great fade in Week 5.