It was the retirement heard around the NFL world. In a shocking bit of news, Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts and one of the five (and arguably three) most talented in the game right now decided to hang up his cleats on the eve of the season.
At just 29 years old at a time when quarterbacks are playing into their late 30s and early 40s, his decision has no precedent.
What’s more, the Colts took a huge step forward last season and were a sexy pick to win it all this season. And part of that reason was the huge investment Colts GM Chris Ballard made on his offensive line last season and their ascension to become one of the best in the game.
The problem however is that for much of Luck’s career, they had one of the worst lines in the game and that meant he often had to play superhero to help bail out the team. And he paid the price for it. Now facing another long-term injury to his calf/ankle he decided it was time to walk away.
And already, the impact in Las Vegas has been that of a mini-tidal wave.
According to the director of the Golden Nugget sportsbook, Tony Miller “it just changes so much. When it broke, we took down just about everything. Odds to make the playoffs, season wins, division odds, conference odds, just about everything you can bet on them.”
The Colts week one opponent, the Los Angeles Chargers have already move from -3.5 up to 8-point home favorites as a result of the news.
But the bigger news is in the futures game. Indianapolis went from being the favorites to win the AFC South at -140 to the longest of shots at +500. They now trail Houston (+120), Jacksonville (+265) and Tennessee (+350).
And that impact on the other teams is part of the story as well, because before Luck’s retirement, Tennessee was for example a +600 to win the division.
The Colts have fallen to +2200 to win the AFC and were tied for fourth favorites at +800 before then. The Patriots, Chiefs and Browns all become more expensive favorites as a result of Luck’s retirement.
Now people are going to need to ask if the Colts are all of a sudden one of the juiciest underdog stories of the season. Luck’s replacement Jacoby Brissett is thought of as one of the best backups in the league. And the Colts are now one of the most complete teams in the league, stacked at pretty much every position.
What’s more, because Luck has missed the entire preseason already, Brissett has been taking first team reps for weeks and that preparation to be the starter will only ramp up from here.
He’s 27 years old and got to apprentice in Frank Reich’s offense last year, watching how Luck’s game took off.
For a visionary gambler, especially for the Colts to win the AFC South, there is now some great value in picking the underdogs.
Meanwhile as Westgate’s sportsbook executive director John Murray said, the way Luck’s retirement is affecting the odds this close to the start of the season is monumental. In the history of sports betting, “there’s just no comparison.”