It looks like the Indianapolis Colts may be hoping the recent trend involving veteran quarterbacks remains true for at least one more year.
Two seasons ago, Tampa Bay acquired Tom Brady and went on to win Super Bowl 45. Last season, the Rams traded for Matthew Stafford and won Super Bowl 46. This offseason, adding Russell Wilson to the roster vaulted the Denver Broncos up Super Bowl odds boards. The same is true for the Cleveland Browns after trading for Deshaun Watson.
It also happened for the Colts after trading for Matt Ryan this week. Their odds to win the Super Bowl, the AFC, and the AFC South all improved at Indiana sportsbooks. So, are the Colts the next team to trade for a quarterback and win the Super Bowl the same season?
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What A Difference A QB (like Matt Ryan) Makes
Acquiring Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2021 season was supposed to make the Colts contenders again, but that did not work out. It’s not that Wentz was a bad quarterback, but he made mistakes and didn’t add much to the offense. That was evident when they traded him to Washington and their odds to win in 2022 did not budge at most sportsbooks despite not having a legit starting quarterback on the roster.
With a top-notch offensive line, a star running back, and an excellent defense, the tools are certainly in place. The only thing missing was a quarterback that you could trust to steer the ship and make plays. Rather than roll the dice on Sam Ehlinger or a rookie, the Colts traded for Ryan — a proven commodity.
Ryan gives the Colts a veteran leader and an accomplished player at the most important position. So, it was understandable when the trade had an immediate impact on betting odds:
- Before the trade for Ryan, Caesars Indiana had the Colts at +3000 to win Super Bowl 57. After the trade, the odds were +2500.
- The Colts’ AFC Championship odds went from +1600 to +1300.
- Their AFC South odds went from +150 to +125 and on Wednesday morning moved again to +115.
- DraftKings Indiana had the Colts at +3500 to win Super Bowl 57 before the trade for Ryan. After the trade, those odds moved to +2500 and then to +2000 on Wednesday morning.
- The Colts’ AFC South odds improved to +120, which is tied with the Titans for best odds in the division.
Indianapolis Colts Betting Analysis
Assuming Ryan can assimilate to the offense, and there is no reason to think doing so will be an issue, the Colts will be better in 2022. Many of the pieces are there. The offensive line is excellent, RB Jonathan Taylor is a star, and the defense is solid. However, the offensive line is not a great pass-blocking unit. It ranked 20th according to ESPN analytics and 30th according to PFF.
Mobility is not one of Ryan’s strengths, and with passing blocking not being one of the offensive line’s strengths, the passing game could struggle next season. Outside of Michael Pittman Jr., Ryan does not have much to work with in the Colts’ wide receiver room.
However, the passing attack is not the only questionable aspect of their game. The architect of the defense, Matt Eberflus, has moved on. Whenever there is a change at the coordinator position, there is a chance the unit takes a step back as it learns a new system. That may not be an issue with a veteran defensive coordinator and former head coach, Gus Bradley, now in the role, but it could be.
What does that mean for sports bettors? The Colts are a strong dark horse candidate to win Super Bowl 57 and the AFC. If you trust GM Chris Ballard to make the right moves in the draft and believe in Matty Ice, then take the Colts now because their odds are only going to get shorter.