This has been the most eventful NFL offseason in recent memory, with several big-name players being traded to different teams. Russell Wilson kicked off the activity last week with his trade to the Broncos, and since Davante Adams, Deshaun Watson, Amari Cooper, Khalil Mack, and Matt Ryan have all been on the move. From a sports betting perspective, quarterback trades will always be the most impactful in shifting the odds market. The trades of Watson and Ryan to the Browns and Colts respectively saw those teams’ futures odds move significantly.
Cleveland Browns Acquire Deshaun Watson
OFFICIAL: We have acquired 3-time Pro Bowl QB Deshaun Watson in a trade with the Texans
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 20, 2022
On Friday, the Browns announced they had traded a massive package for former Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson including three first-round picks, a third-round pick, and a fourth-round pick. They also gave him a massive five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed extension. Watson is still facing several sexual assault lawsuits that have yet to be fully resolved, and the Browns faced significant backlash from their fans for making the trade. However, there’s no denying that adding Watson makes this team Super Bowl competitive.
The reaction from sportsbooks was largely positive as the expectations are high for the Browns this season. On DraftKings Sportsbook, the Browns are now listed as +175 favorites to win the AFC North, giving them an implied probability of 36.36%. Cleveland is also listed at +850 to win the AFC, tied with the Chargers and behind the Bills, Chiefs, and Broncos. They also have the tenth-highest odds to win the Super Bowl. Some will view the odds as an over-reaction, particularly if Watson misses significant time this season due to an impending suspension.
Indianapolis Colts Acquire Matt Ryan
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) March 21, 2022
The Falcons had been one of the top names in the race to trade for Deshaun Watson, and after the Browns finalized their deal, it was unclear whether the team would return Matt Ryan as their starter. Instead, they decided to move Ryan to the Colts for a third-round pick to reshuffle the roster as they look to build a stronger foundation for future competition. Ryan is the Colts’ fifth starting quarterback in as many years, but he’s arguably their best player at the position since Andrew Luck retired.
The reaction from sportsbooks was strong following the Matt Ryan trade as the Colts are now listed at +120 to win the AFC South on DraftKings Sportsbook, just behind the Titans at +110. That gives them an implied probability of 45.45% to win the division, and the Jaguars (+650) and Texans (+2200) sit far behind. The Colts are also listed at +1200 to win the AFC, tied with the Titans and just behind the Bengals and Ravens. Indianapolis is listed at +2500 to win the Super Bowl this season.
Will More Quarterback Trades Shake Up the Odds Market?
While the significant dominoes have fallen after the Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson trades, and Matt Ryan fills the need for one of the more competitive rosters missing a quarterback, we likely aren’t done seeing league-shifting transactions at the position. Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo are still expected to be traded, and when they are, the odds markets could change significantly once again. This NFL season feels wide open, and with so many massive offseason moves, it’s been exciting to watch the futures markets continue to evolve.