Andrew Luck’s return to the Indianapolis Colts has provided a conundrum for betting markets. He’s clearly expected to bring the blue horseshoe back to immediate respectability. Yet, the Colts are still registering as a distant longshot to win the AFC Championship or Super Bowl.
William Hill currently has the Colts’ “Regular Season Win” total at 6.5, with a high money line of -165 if you want to bet the Over. That money line means the Colts are 62% to clear 6.5 wins. So, pencil in seven as a best expectation. This is the NFL. Anything near .500 puts you in the Wildcard hunt! (Note: if you’re skeptical about the 2018 Colts, you can bet Under 6.5 wins and get a nice, juicy return of 145).
But, Indy isn’t priced like a playoff threat in futures prices.
35/1 to win AFC (fifth worst of 16)
100/1 to win Super Bowl (only 4 worse of 32)
Indianapolis might as well be the Cleveland Browns (win total of 5.5 with Over priced at -150) or New York Jets (win total of 5.5 with Over priced at -145) in terms of the postseason.
Why? Brutal division!
AFC South Regular Season Win Totals
Jacksonville: 9 (Over -135)
Houston: 8.5 (Over -150)
Tennessee: 8 (Over -120)
Indianapolis: 6.5 (Over -165)
Jaguars are 57% to clear nine wins. Texans are 60% to clear 8.5 wins. Titans are 54.5% to clear eight wins. Plenty of room for the Colts to regain respectability but not really matter come January.
As you watch Monday Night’s Baltimore/Indianapolis game on ESPN, consider opportunities for betting value on the board. Playing in a brutal division might make 6.5 victories a tough hurdle to clear. Should Indy “Under 6.5” be such a big underdog? On the other hand, having the quality to make the playoffs out of a brutal division means 100/1 is way too long to win the Super Bowl.
Andrew Luck’s true impact is still a big question mark. Betting markets are at their most vulnerable when trying to price question marks.