The art of breaking news has become a big deal in the sports media world. Names like Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport have become household names for NFL fans because of their ability to get breaking news out there quickly. We value their Twitter accounts greatly.
While those guys are usually first to report on breaking news, they've actually been beaten to the punch twice in the last week by an unexpected source: the betting market.
Betting market had the Carr scoop
When the betting lines for Week 17 were released, the Las Vegas Raiders were 6-point underdogs against the San Francisco 49ers. The total was at 45 points. The Raiders haven't been very good from a win-loss perspective, but they play mostly close games. They have some dangerous weapons on offense to score some points.
The line stayed there until midday on Wednesday. Suddenly. seemingly for no reason, the line came off the board and was no longer available to be bet on. A few minutes later, the line was reposted with the Raiders as a 10-point underdog. The total dropped 3.5-points down to 41.5.
Of course, the only position in football that warrants that kind of sharp line movement would be the quarterback. Anyone who was dialed into the betting market knew that some kind of news was coming about Derek Carr.
About an hour later, the insiders reported that Las Vegas was benching Carr in favor of Jarrett Stidham. Carr hasn't been great this season, but he's still much better than Stidham showed in his previous NFL appearances. Obviously, someone out there had access to the information and caused a reaction in the betting market.
The Carr situation isn't the first time we've seen this happen in the last week. Last week, the betting market started going wild and moving the betting line and total in the Philadelphia Eagles game against the Dallas Cowboys. About half an hour after the line moved five points in favor of Dallas, it was announced that Jalen Hurts was unlikely to play for Philadelphia.
Information is key
The easiest way to gain an edge over the oddsmakers is to have access to information. Obviously, that's much easier said than done.
The NFL is unique and is actually very helpful to bettors. Teams are required to release specific injury reports three times a week and can get in trouble if they aren't truthful in their reporting. Additionally, teams only play one game a week. On top of that, there aren't many positions outside of quarterback that actually make much of an impact on the betting market.
In other sports, quick access to information can get you an edge on the books. For example, if LeBron James is going to miss a game due to injury or rest, the betting line will move quickly. In hockey, if a team starts their backup goaltender, that information could be massively helpful. The same thing can be said about a baseball pitcher being on a pitch count.
However, with the way things are going now, it seems like oddsmakers know this information before the rest of world. If the betting market makes a massive move, expect some big news to drop shortly. If a betting line makes absolutely no sense, there might be some important news coming.
Information is key, and there's always someone out there that knows something. We've seen that firsthand in back-to-back weeks in the NFL.