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Richard Sherman rips NFL injury reports as simply for setting gambling odds

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I do love when Richard Sherman preaches on NFL hypocrisy.

Super Bowl LI Proposition Bets At The Westgate Las Vegas Race & Sports SuperBook Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers released their Week 3 injury report Wednesday afternoon, announcing Eric Reid and Reuben Foster would be out for Thursday Night Football. The announcement was not surprising given their respective knee and ankle injuries.

The list also included Eli Harold, George Kittle, Jaquiski Tartt, and Jimmie Ward as questionable. We know with near certainty that Kittle and Ward will play. Tartt is very likely to play, and I’m not entirely sure what’s up with Harold.

The injury report is viewed as a general explanation of where things stand, but it is actually there to help oddsmakers set their lines. A lot of injuries won’t swing a line particularly drastically, but a left tackle here or a cornerback there can potentially nudge the line a little bit.

Last week, the Seattle Seahawks sat cornerback Richard Sherman for two practices, and listed him as questionable for the game. In reality, there was virtually no doubt he would play in the game. Earlier this week, Sherman ripped the injury reports for the hypocrisy involved. This from Seahawks beat writer Bob Condotta

“I guess from what I understand the rules is for the gamblers, for Vegas, to make sure the odds and everything are what they are supposed to be, which is apparently what the league is concerned about when talking about injuries and things like that,” Sherman said. “So maybe somebody should look into that, because I thought we weren’t a gambling league and we were against all those things. But our injury report is specifically to make sure the gamblers get their odds right.”

Someone followed up by mentioning that fantasy football likely plays a role as well, Sherman offered this gem.

“Fantasy football, oh my God,” he said. “They are almost as bad as the gamblers.”

I know Richard Sherman rubs plenty of 49ers fans the wrong way, but when he offers up opinions like this, I can’t help but love the man. The NFL has publicly pushed back on gambling regularly. They are part of the lawsuit to prevent New Jersey from instituting sports gambling, and not a year goes by that we don’t hear some tisk-tisk comment from a league representative about the perils of gambling.

Just so you know, that’s all bullshit. The NFL’s rise in popular started with gambling, and took off even further with fantasy football. There is a certain amount of skill associated with fantasy football, especially given the season-long nature of it, but there is an element of chance to that. And daily fantasy football? The primary skill there is whether or not you can put together the algorithms to implement hundreds of lineups. And we see the league happy to get in bed with DFS.

I think most of you are aware that I enjoy the occasional wager. When I go to Las Vegas, I’ll hit the tables and get sports wagers in on occasion. I have $10 on a 75-to-1 prop that Carlos Hyde will win the NFL rushing title this year. Needless to say, I’m going to be curious how much he ends on the injury report!

Given the spread of online gambling, this idea that sports books in Las Vegas are some nefarious thing is kind of a joke. Game-fixing is certainly not entirely out of the realm of the possible any more, but the size of player salaries coupled with the spread of online gambling lowers the chances of that considerably. Plenty of players could find themselves in hock to bookies and stuck in a bad position, but fixing an NFL game takes more than one player (I suppose unless it’s the quarterback). It’s just more NFL hypocrisy at work, and I do enjoy when Richard Sherman calls it out.