Covid Protocols for NFL and NCAAF Win Totals and Futures

How Sports Books Are Handling Postponements

Unlike last season, when college football teams across the country canceled and postponed games because of COVID outbreaks within their rosters on a weekly basis, the current expectation is that the NCAA will recommend that games are played as originally scheduled this year. If that isn’t possible for one school due to COVID issues, then the game won’t be postponed but rather result in a forfeit.

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Big XII Football

In the event that a team is suffering from COVID issues and doesn’t have enough healthy players to take the field, that team will be expected to forfeit, according to Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor and other Big 12 AD’s.

“We are probably not going to have the ability to not play games this season,” Taylor said Wednesday at Big 12 Media Days at AT&T Stadium.

“If you don’t play it on time, you will have to forfeit. We haven’t finalized that yet as a league, but that is where our thinking is at as athletic directors. We don’t have room. Last year, we had breaks in our schedule on purpose. This year, we won’t have the ability to make up those games.”

SEC Football

The commissioner of the SEC suggested Monday that schools in his conference unable to play scheduled games this season because of coronavirus outbreaks might have to forfeit those contests, rather than have them pushed back in the calendar, as was frequently the case last year.

“You hope not to have disruption, but ‘Hope is not a plan’ is the great cliche,” Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “We still have roster minimums that exist, just like last year. What I’ve identified for consideration among our membership is we remove those roster minimums and you’re expected to play as scheduled. That means your team needs to be healthy to compete, and if not, that game won’t be rescheduled.

And thus, to dispose of the game, the ‘forfeit’ word comes up at this point. Only six of the SEC’s 14 football teams have reached a target of 80 percent vaccination, Sankey revealed.

“That number needs to grow, and grow rapidly,” he said. “We have learned how to manage through a COVID environment, but we do not yet have control of a COVID environment. ”Only six of the SEC’s 14 football teams have reached a target of 80 percent vaccination, Sankey revealed.

“That number needs to grow, and grow rapidly,” he said. “We have learned how to manage through a COVID environment, but we do not yet have control of a COVID environment.”

“We know nothing is perfect,” he said, “but the availability and the efficacy of the covid-19 vaccines are an important and incredible product of science. It’s not a political football.”

As Sankey noted, he does not have the power to unilaterally impose a rule such as mandatory forfeits if a school can’t field a team amid an outbreak. That would have to get a sign-off from the conference’s athletic directors. He pointed out, however, that the SEC has not “built in the kind of time we did last year, particularly at the end of the season, to accommodate disruption.”

Sankey said that unless SEC schools revise their schedules with contingency plans similar to those of last year, their teams “have to be fully prepared to play their season as scheduled.”

“Which is why embedded in my remarks is the vaccination motivation,” he added.

SEC teams that reach an 85 percent vaccination threshold no longer have to test their players as often and are not required to wear masks indoors at athletic facilities. In addition, vaccinated players who are asymptomatic won’t be subject to the same levels of contact tracing and quarantining that sidelined swaths of rosters at times after a relative handful of positive tests.

Sankey’s remarks echoed comments last week from Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who said at his conference’s media days: “We certainly are going to do everything we can to encourage vaccination. I think it’s very shortsighted to not get vaccinations.”

NFL COVID Policy

Given that the NFL has said rescheduling games will not be an option this season should a team have an outbreak — the opposite of last season’s approach — Irvin said from a strictly competitive standpoint, getting fully vaccinated gives a team an advantage over a team that does not.

“Somebody in that damn locker room [should say], ‘Hey man, we’re going to have a chance, are you vaccinated?’” Irvin said. “Let’s go through this because this could be a two-week healthy dude missing games, and in this league, this ain’t the NBA. In this league that could be it for you. The right person misses two weeks, that’s it.”

Sports Betting Policies

Notes below are courtesy of Jim Barnes from the Las Vegas Review Journal:

The majority of regulated US sports books are not factoring forfeits into their season win totals. If a team is forced to forfeit a game and not play its complete season (17 regular season games in the NFL; 12 regular season games for most college teams), season win total bets for that team will be refunded regardless if they’ve already clinched the over or under on that total.

The lone notable exception to that policy is Circa Sports, which operates in Nevada, Colorado and Iowa. Forfeits will be counted in the NFL win totals market. As always, be sure to familiarize yourself with the house rules at your sports book so that you know how these issues will be handled.

NFL 2021 Season Notes

Did you keep up with the coaching carrousel during the offseason? Here’s what you may have missed…

  • Former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith has replaced Dan Quinn and Raheem Morris in Atlanta.
  • The Detroit Lions have hired Dan Campbell, who will be getting his second run as a head coach after a brief interim stint in Miami in 2015.
  • Urban Meyer finally made the jump to the NFL replacing Doug Marrone in Jacksonville.
  • Former Rams’ defensive coordinator Brandon Staley is staying in Los Angeles, but as the new head coach of the Chargers.
  • Former San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will get his first head coaching gig with the New York Jets.
  • Offensive mind Nick Sirianni has replaced Doug Pederson with the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Houston’s David Culley Culley is the oldest (65 years old) first-time head coach in NFL history.

NFL Point Spreads for the Entire Season

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has also released their opening point spreads for every game of the 2021-22 NFL season. That’s right: Point spreads AND totals for all 272 regular-season games. In the game that everyone has circled, the Buccaneers have opened as a -3.5 road favorite at New England in Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro in Week 4. Other notable point spreads for the 2021-22 NFL season:

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars have opened as 3-point road favorites in Houston in Week 1, but Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence have been installed as small home underdogs in their home debut: Denver -1.5 at Jacksonville in Week 2.
  • Speaking of Houston: The Texans have opened as a double-digit underdog in five games this season: +13.5 at Cleveland; +14 at Buffalo; +11.5 at Indianapolis; +10.5 at Arizona; and +13.5 at San Francisco.
  • There are two games scheduled for London this year: Atlanta Falcons -3 vs New York Jets in Week 5, and Miami Dolphins -1.5 vs Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6.
  • This year’s Thanksgiving games feature Chicago as a 3-point road favorite at Detroit; Dallas as a -5.5 home favorite over the Raiders; and Buffalo as a -1.5 road favorite in New Orleans in the nightcap.

NFL Season Win Totals from Las Vegas

Last, but certainly not least: The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has also released their opening round of NFL regular season win totals for the 2021-22 season. The Kansas City Chiefs have opened with the highest win total on the board at 12.5 (-110 each way), followed by their Super Bowl counterparts from Tampa Bay at 11.5 (over -130 / under +110). Remember, the 2021-22 NFL season will be the first with 17 regular season games. With Deshaun Watson’s status in jeopardy, the Houston Texans have opened with the lowest total on the board at 4 wins (over EV / under -120).

WagerTalk’s Live Odds Screen

Since the conclusion of last season’s Super Bowl, WagerTalk has continued to improve and enhance our Live Odds screen. Bettors can view the up-to-the-minute odds from a variety of offshore and Vegas-based sports books. Color-coded alerts will let you know when and how a line has moved. Click on the individual cells to view a line history at each sports book. Interested in knowing what a point spread was on a previous game? Use the “archive” feature to find a previous matchup. View real-time odds on nearly every point spread market: Full games, first halves, first quarters, team totals and moneylines.

WagerTalk's Live Odds Screen

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NFL Opening Line Report

Join Sportsmemo’s Drew Martin and Teddy Covers for the Opening Line Report every Monday afternoon as we prepare for the 2021-22 NFL season. From division odds to regular season win totals to Super Bowl futures, Drew and Teddy are locked in for the NFL offseason betting market.

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