How Andrew Luck's Retirement Impacted Sports Betting

By , RADIO.COM Sports

It happened during College Football Week Zero. I received a text shortly after cashing my Miami-Florida first-half under ticket. No, it wasn’t my girlfriend calling me a degenerate.

Ex-Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement on Saturday, and sportsbooks around the country reacted by taking Indianapolis’ futures and win totals off the board.

Once they reopened, the Westgate SuperBook shifted its Super Bowl odds from 12-1 to 60-1 while Caesars Palace dropped its win totals from 9.5 to 7. FanDuel Sportsbook made the most dramatic dent in that department, shifting them down to 6 before they rose to 6.5 on Sunday.

The Colts’ odds to win the AFC South shot up to +500 at that book, pinning them behind the Texans (+130), Jaguars (+270) and Titans (+310). Although no refunds will come from those wagers, Westgate did so for anyone who invested in Luck winning the NFL MVP award.

He was priced (+800) right behind Patrick Mahomes (+500) — good for the second-shortest odds. Aaron Rodgers (+900), Carson Wentz (+900), Baker Mayfield (10-1), Drew Brees (12-1) and Deshaun Watson (12-1) are the current favorites tailing last year’s MVP.

Nevertheless, the most intriguing noise came via Indianapolis’ Week 1 matchup in Los Angeles.

It opened as a three-point dog against the Chargers in April, and the line moved to -3.5 after the news was released about Luck’s high-ankle injury. Following Luck’s retirement, CG Technology posted the Chargers as high as a 9.5-point favorite before it dipped to 7 at most books.

Considering now-Colts starting QB Jacoby Brissett posted a mere 6.6 yards per attempt while starting in place of Luck (shoulder) in 2017, there was some market overreaction. Keep in mind, Indianapolis acquired Brissett one week before its season opener and plugged him in behind an offensive line that ranked dead-last in sack rate allowed (10.31 percent).

The Colts boasted the lowest sack percentage allowed (2.86 percent) last season, and they’ve upgraded at multiple skill positions since Brissett’s first go-around in Indianapolis. Not only did tight end Eric Ebron post a career-high in receiving yards (750) and touchdowns (13) in 2018, but the Colts also reeled in wide receivers Devin Funchess and Paris Campbell (second-round pick) in the offseason.

Indianapolis even revamped its defense (defensive end Justin Houston, rookie pass rusher Ben Banogu) after allowing the 11th-fewest points per drive (1.87 PPP) last season. It returns all 11 starters, too.

I’ve already invested in Indianapolis +7.5, but I’d feel comfortable betting it down to +7 with Chargers safety Derwin James (foot surgery) out. Despite the Chargers’ sound defense, Brissett will be able to keep this one within a touchdown. Take advantage of bettors’ quick triggers.