There aren’t many people in the NFL who can make Vegas dramatically shift a line based on whether or not they play in a single game. Most of them are quarterbacks. But a few aren’t, like Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The Pats were already pretty big underdogs after Tom Brady was ruled out (they were favored by one point in Arizona with Brady playing). No Brady, and just about everyone was on the Cards to win this game and cover the spread.
But when rumors started popping up about Gronk not being on the team plane out west and potentially not playing, the line started to shift even more.
Arizona was favored by 6 points on Friday afternoon and by the time the Patriots officially ruled out Gronk on Friday night, the line was already up to 7.
That’s “just” a point, but it can’t be overstated how big that point is. Money is pouring in on the Cardinals and has been for a while — 79 percent of the money is on the Cards, according to Vegas Insider.
And the difference between minus-6 and minus-7, even with the randomness of extra points increasing in recent years, is massive. Three and seven are the magic numbers, and to move a line to -7 it’s going to take a lot for Vegas.
Gronk, the best non-quarterback offensive weapon in the NFL, is exactly the sort of thing that will cause such a huge swing.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Here’s the huge effect Rob Gronkowski’s injury had on the Patriots-Cardinals line