Are the Indianapolis Colts Actually the Best Super Bowl Value Bet?
The Indianapolis Colts made the odd decision of taking star quarterback Andrew Luck off the PUP list to start the 2017 season. Had Luck stayed put, he wouldn’t have been available for the first six games, but the Colts could have used that extra roster spot.
As it turns out, Luck hasn’t played yet and only began practicing on his own a week ago. In fact, Luck isn’t even practicing on back to back days as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury he suffered last year.
While Luck’s slow progress has been annoying for Colts fans, Indianapolis is surprisingly still very much alive in this young NFL season.
Colts Hanging On
Third-stringer Jacoby Brissett has stepped up for the Colts in the wake of a disastrous week one performance by top backup, Scott Tolzien.
Tolzien wasn’t even passable in a brutal loss to the Los Angeles Rams, but the Colts have since gone 2-2 under Brissett, who has emerged as a viable dual-threat quarterback.
Brissett is far from the answer for the Colts, of course. Still, he’s played a big hand in keeping Indy afloat when they could have easily begun the season with an 0-5 start.
There hasn’t been anything special about this Colts offense, but Brissett has done enough to keep the Colts in three tight games and also helped them win two. That’s amounted to two overtime games, with Indy’s only two bad losses coming in blowout fashion against the Rams and Seattle Seahawks.
Brissett is far from the only reason the Colts have stayed alive to this point. The return of stud cornerback Vontae Davis has aided Indy’s underrated defense, which ranks near the middle of the league in terms of pass rush (11 sacks) and has forced 11 total turnovers.
Help From Division
The obvious question is just how long this can go on. It could bleed into week six, where the Colts take on the rival Titans in Tennessee. The Titans are fresh off of two straight defeats, as they couldn’t get past a shaky Miami Dolphins team in week five and got smoked (57-14) by the Houston Texans the week before.
On paper, the Titans still look like the better squad and this week they’ll be at home, where most NFL betting sites love them as the favorite going into their Monday Night Football clash. However, quarterback Marcus Mariota has been banged up and with the Titans not playing great and sitting at 2-3, it’s fair to wonder if they can even handle the Colts right now.
Taking down the Titans this week still might be a reach. However, ahead of that game, the Colts are 2-3 in a division where the 3-2 Jacksonville Jaguars look like the “best” team. The 2-3 Houston Texans are going to work with a rookie quarterback and just lost star pass rusher J.J. Watt for the year to a broken leg.
Suffice to say, if there was ever a year to jump back on Indy’s Super Bowl bandwagon, it could be 2017 if/when Luck gets back into the lineup.
Super Bowl Sleepers?
The Colts aren’t even locks to win the AFC South as things stand. Bovada gives them +800 odds to win their division and without Luck that’s probably being kind.
But what if Luck comes back and is the same guy that got this team to the playoffs with an 11-5 record in each of his first three seasons? On paper, this Colts team suddenly goes from looking like one of the worst bets in the league to one of the best value bets.
Bovada and other top NFL betting sites obviously have to exercise caution here and so do we as bettors. However, if everything breaks just right, the Colts could have a maturing defense and a healthy Luck in a bad division as the second half of the season approaches.
Suddenly, Indy’s +10000 Super Bowl 52 odds at Bovada start looking rather interesting.
A lot needs to happen for us to get serious about the Colts. First, taking down the Titans and showing there is some serious fight in the face of another solid playoff contender could convince bettors that Indy may have something here.
That could prove the defense is legit and that this offense can move the ball and score even with a band-aid solution under center. If that’s the case, inserting a star passer like Luck could very well push this team to the top of their division.
Once Luck gets back into a groove and the Colts start displaying a balanced attack with a Chuck Pagano defense that (gasp!) actually defends, bettors could have some serious value to work with here.
Betting on the Colts
The problem? It’s still a little far-fetched and if we’re really going to take advantage of it, we need to place our bets before the momentum hits. If the Colts win this week or even if they can keep things afloat over the next couple weeks, they will be alive for the division when Luck returns.
Those assumptions, in no particular order, are that Luck will be back, that he’ll be the same player, that Pagano’s defense will only get better and that Indy will stay alive until Luck returns.
None of that is guaranteed, but the reality is the Colts are at least a threat in the AFC South with Luck under center. At some point, that’s going to happen. We can start considering them at +800 for the division right now and if we start catching wind that his return is coming sooner than later, we might just want to toss some cash on the Colts as the ultimate Super Bowl flier bet, as well.