Most Valuable Positions to Sports Bettors

When you're handicapping sports, it's important to know the status of key position players. Photo Courtesy:  Andy Ihnatko
When you’re handicapping sports, it’s important to know the status of key position players.
Photo Courtesy: Andy Ihnatko


Every sport has its star spot. From quarterbacks in football to point guards in hoops, there’s always one position that has a major impact on how a game plays out – and how the betting odds trickle down. If you’re handicapping sports and see one of these key position players could be doubtful, tread lightly. Here’s why:

Football: Quarterback
No position in football has a bigger impact on the game and the spread as the QB. They handle the ball on every possession, even if they’re just handing it off and they’re asked to make key plays at least once a game. If a team is missing an established starter, with a proven track record of winning, there could be as much as a touchdown swing to the spread. Backup QBs often limit what the offense can do and crumble under the pressure if the game is close. Not the hands you want your wager in.

Basketball: Point guard
The point guard is the floor general for many basketball teams. They handle the ball, dictate the pace of the game, and facilitate the offense. A steady guard can create scoring chances and make the shot when the offense breaks down. This has an even bigger impact in college basketball, compared to the NBA, due to a longer shot clock and lack of elite talent – when compared to the pros. Without the starter in the lineup, offenses lose their rhythm and that can lead to turnovers, which can quickly translate into easy buckets the other way.

Hockey: Goaltender
A hot goaltender can steal wins when a team isn’t finding the back of the net. Having a steady presence in the crease keeps teams in games and takes pressure off the offense to produce all the time. However, when a team loses their No. 1 netminder, things can fall apart quickly. Teams can shift their game plan to protect a backup goalie, taking the focus off offense. And backups are often not ready for the work load of a true No. 1, so these guys can wear down if the starter is out for an extended period, eventually giving value to the Over.

Baseball: Catcher
No position in sports has more impact on the odds than starting pitchers, but the guy on the other end of those throws is also very important. While pitchers dictate the daily moneyline odds, they aren’t every day players. Catchers, on the other hand, are key in calling a game and managing base runners while also expected to produce at the plate. A veteran catcher can help carry a struggling staff, but if they’re not there to be that calming influence behind home plate, the wheels can come off the bus quickly. Never underestimate a good catcher’s value to the moneyline or the total.