Jameis Winston doesn't practice again Thursday, but Saints-Vikings line doesn't move

When we see quarterbacks go down to injury, the point spreads move.

When Dak Prescott went down for the Dallas Cowboys, the spread on their next game shifted 10 points. Mac Jones' injury for the New England Patriots caused a movement for this week's game against the Green Bay Packers from +6.5 last week to +9.5.

How much is Jameis Winston worth to the spread for the New Orleans Saints-Minnesota Vikings game? Not much.

Winston didn't practice for the second straight day ahead of the Saints' game in London against the Vikings due to back and ankle injuries. Andy Dalton took the first-team reps. Winston could still play, but it's trending toward him sitting. Often, players who don't practice at all on Wednesday or Thursday end up not playing.

And the line at BetMGM didn't move. It has been steady at Vikings -2.5 for a couple days. In other words, oddsmakers don't think there's much difference between Winston and Dalton.

Jameis Winston misses practice again

There was a shift. The odds to bet on the Vikings -2.5 went from -110 to -115. Not much.

The line was Vikings -3 earlier in the week but it went down a bit. The Winston injury news didn't affect anything.

Winston has not been playing well to start the season. Other than a rally in the fourth quarter of Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, the Saints offense hasn't been good. Over the past two games Winston has thrown two touchdowns and five interceptions. He has reverted to the Winston who made too many critical mistakes during his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Winston could still end up playing, especially if he can practice on Friday. Maybe Vikings bettors want him to play.

Jameis Winston has missed both Saints practices this week. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Jameis Winston has missed both Saints practices this week. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Andy Dalton would go if Winston sits

One reason the line didn't move with Winston missing another day of practice is that Dalton is a reasonable backup.

Dalton isn't the same player who was solid with the Cincinnati Bengals for the majority of his career, making three Pro Bowls. He'll turn 35 years old late next month. But he's not a bad backup. With the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears the past two seasons, his teams are 7-8 in his starts. He's not a great option but a lot of teams have a much worse backup situation than the Saints.

The Saints likely would also use Taysom Hill more frequently in his role as a mostly running quarterback. If nothing else, that's a tough element to defend.

The offense will look different with Dalton and Hill than it would with Winston. That might not be a bad thing. Oddsmakers don't think it's a negative.