The Tom Brady hand injury that cropped up ahead of the Jaguars-Patriots game this weekend (stream the AFC Championship Game here on CBSSports.com Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET) has caused plenty of consternation with Pats fans ahead of New England's seventh-straight AFC title game appearance. There Jacksonville , but a Brady hand injury would drastically alter the way people perceive this game.
If you don't believe me, just ask Las Vegas. The Patriots opened as a 9-point favorite in this game, despite the Jags taking down the Steelers 45-42 in Pittsburgh. The line fluctuated to Pats -8.5 overnight, then jumped all the way up to Pats -9.5 in some spots, before settling in at an even nine in most places.
Then the Brady injury happened.
At first no one really seemed to care that he was pushing back his standard Wednesday media availability. The Patriots do odd stuff with Brady and the media all the time. Then we found out why:. Cue the mild panic.
Tom Brady is with our medical staff and will not be available to the media today.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 17, 2018
Even after that it felt like some typical injury report shenanigans from the Pats; Brady has been listed with a shoulder injury for roughly the last 14 years on a week-to-week basis. Now all of a sudden he's got a hand injury before the AFC Championship Game? OK, sure.
Turns out, someone ran into Brady and he actually did hurt his hand. It will be extremely cold in New England and there may or may not be a glove -- or two gloves?? -- in play. The panic escalated pretty quickly at that point and Vegas responded accordingly. Suddenly a very calm line became very volatile, with multiple sportsbooks moving the Patriots down to 7.5-point favorites.
That's from Sportsbook.ag. And at Pinnacle, the line moved down to 7.5 as well. In certain spots you can even find the Patriots -7, although typically the juice is -115 or more, meaning you have to bet $115 to win $100, etc.
At BookMaker.eu, the Patriots even came off the board for a little while. The site confirmed to CBSSports.com that they took it off for "due diligence" reasons based around the Brady injury and were going to hold off on reposting the money line until there was further confirmation about Brady's status.
"We were taking pretty steady action on Jacksonville so we pulled it and adjusted down to -7. We fully expect Brady to play, but if he's really banged up the offensive gameplan could be altered," BookMaker.eu spokesman Scott Cooley told CBSSports.com. "And if somehow he doesn't play, it's going to be mayhem. At this stage of the season and considering the opponent, Brady is worth 7-8 points to the spread. If this is a ho-hum regular season game, we're looking at 5-6 points."
He's not wrong: can you imagine Brady being ruled out somehow? That's not happening, but man it would be bananas if Sunday afternoon roles around and the Pats list him as inactive -- which would mean starting Brian Hoyer -- and there is a "Jaguars +7" or Jaguars +275 ML" wager sitting out there. It would be gobbled up and the books would be facing major exposure.
Bill Belichick, as you might guess,.
Asked if Tom Brady could be a game-time decision, Patriots coach Bill Belichick responds: "Today is Friday." And he's not lying. It is Friday.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 19, 2018
How will Brady’s injury impact the game-planning process?— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) January 19, 2018
BB: “I don’t know.”
Asked about trading Jimmy Garoppolo in the middle of this season when Brady is suddenly injured with two games left to play, Belichick mumbled something about being focused on Jacksonville. There was some glaring.
This isn't necessarily new territory for the Patriots. Brady has been injured before, including the 2008 Super Bowl, which you might remember because it involved the Patriots being undefeated, Brady being in a walking boot (TMZ spotted him!) and the Giants upsetting New England.
Very different circumstances -- outside of the Tom Coughlin factor anyway -- obviously, but it's still very concerning that Brady is injured this late in the week. Pats fans would certainly agree and so would a number of different sportsbooks who have a number of wagers on the Jaguars pending.