By Patrick Everson
FOX Sports Gambling Writer
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Oddsmakers and bettors seemingly beg to differ. The Jags-Chargers game saw a significant Friday afternoon drop on the NFL Week 3 oddsboard, for both the point spread and the total. In other words, Herbert isn’t expected to take a snap Sunday.
It went pretty much just as veteran oddsmaker Rex Beyers predicted in a Thursday morning FOX Sports report.
“The line and total won’t close anywhere near where they are now, 7 and 47.5,” Beyers said then. “The spread will be 3 points higher or 3 points lower, maybe 4, depending on if Herbert plays.”
Indeed, by the time the dust settled Friday afternoon, the Chargers dropped from a consensus 7-point favorite down to -3. That all happened in the span of about 45 minutes, even with no official word on Herbert’s status as he works through a rib injury. About an hour later came Herbert’s formal designation of questionable. While some sharp bettors likely beat the news and made bets on Jaguars +7/+6/+5 etc., oddsmakers were definitely on top of the situation.
“We got ahead of the move and the [questionable] tag,” said Neil Fitzroy, risk manager/oddsmaker at The SuperBook. “We took a Jags bet at +4 from a respected player. We’re currently at Chargers -3 (-120). He hasn’t been ruled out yet. But if he is, [the line] should go down another point or so.”
Likewise, WynnBet dropped from Chargers -7 to -6, then to -5, in just six minutes. About a half-hour later, LA dipped straight to -3.5, before stabilizing at -3 (-120).
“It looks like Herbert isn’t going to go, so we moved accordingly,” WynnBet trader Andy Morrissey said. “The total crashed Under as well.”
After opening at 47 and sitting at 47.5 since Wednesday morning, the total made a precipitous drop this afternoon. It initially dipped 1.5 points to 46, then steadily made its way down to the current 42.5 at WynnBet.
Looking into the Futures
Assuming Herbert’s injury is minor and causes no more than a one-week absence, bookmakers held firm on the Chargers’ Super Bowl odds. Los Angeles was +1600 earlier this week at BetMGM and remains +1600 today.
However, Herbert’s NFL MVP odds have slipped over the past week at BetMGM. Herbert opened +1400 months ago and, after Week 1, was the +750 third choice, trailing only Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes.
On Tuesday, BetMGM had Herbert, the +1000 co-third choice, tied with rapidly rising Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts. However, Herbert has now slid to the +1400 fifth choice.
Allen leads the NFL MVP odds pack at a tidy +280, followed by Mahomes (+450), Hurts (+900) and Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (+1100).
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He previously worked for Covers and is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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