General manager Chris Ballard jumped into action right from the beginning of the NFL free agency period.
He landed leaders on both sides of the ball in DeForest Buckner and Phillip Rivers.
Ballard´s aggressive start got Indianapolis Colts fans excited about their playoff chances.
Las Vegas bookmakers took notice, too.
Indianapolis quickly rose from the middle of the pack to a top third ranking.
At the beginning of this week, BetMGM offered 25/1 (+2500) odds on the Colts.
That might not sound impressive at first glance.
But it is the best in the AFC South and makes the Colts a projected top-five AFC contender.
It is tied for the 12th-best odds in the NFL overall.
Follow the Bouncing Ball
For those of you unfamiliar with futures betting, they allow fans to wager on teams based on current factors.
Those factors change as the year and the season goes along.
Bookmakers offer odds that rise and fall based on those factors.
Fans could have gotten 30/1 odds before Philip Rivers signed with the Colts.
If the Colts draft well or sign another significant free agent, the oddsmakers could move the needle down.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) October 7, 2019
Of course, it works the other way around, too.
Last season, betting sites offered 15/1 odds that the Colts and Andrew Luck would win the Super Bowl.
On opening day, bets on the Jacoby Brissett-led Colts were offered at 30/1.
Other teams´ fortunes can affect the Colts´ odds, too.
BetMGM offered the Colts at 23/1 at the end of March.
Tennessee and Houston are among the teams who improved their odds since then.
By sitting still, Indianapolis´ odds shifted slightly downward.
Thinking About Betting on Your Colts?
ColtsNation.com does not promote illegal gambling.
But if you live in an area where betting is permitted, there are advantages and disadvantages to betting now.
As explained earlier, odds are affected by changing factors.
Free-agent signings, trades, and injuries are among those factors.
But a seismic shift in betting odds is set to occur immediately after the upcoming NFL Draft.
Placing a bet before or after the draft is a gamble in itself.
Without a first-round pick, Indianapolis´ roster is not likely to improve as dramatically as a team like Miami.
(Miami has three first-round picks.)
Chris Ballard could have a trick up his sleeve.
But draft day trades also happen and can radically change the landscape.
For example, Tennessee could trade up in the draft.
The Titans sit just behind the Colts in betting projections.
But if they pick up Isaiah Simmons, Tennessee could knock Indianapolis from the top of the AFC South.
With the wild card teams expected to come from other divisions, Indy´s betting odds could plummet.
You might still have faith in Phillip Rivers.
But you could get better odds, and a bigger payday, if you wait.
Or… maybe not.
That´s Why They Call it Betting
Indianapolis offers some solid and consistent factors that book-makers like.
Stable leadership and an innovative head coach can offset some personnel dilemmas.
But the addition of a premier wide receiver is an easy way to improve their Super Bowl odds.
The folks who set the betting lines will look at the entire NFL draft and adjust odds accordingly.
Super Bowl 55 Odds:
Odds: Opening Current
Chiefs 6/1 4/1
Ravens 7/1 8/1
49ers 8/1 7/1
Saints 11/1 14/1
Patriots 14/1 20/1
Steelers 15/1 28/1 pic.twitter.com/RxMcHjtswu
— Vegas Insiders (@vegas_insiders) April 8, 2020
Then they will set to work monitoring developments and evaluating rumors well into the season.
Professional bettors have their own systems to outsmart the odds-makers.
Most of them don´t work.
And as we saw with last season´s surprise retirement announcement,
Everything can change in a minute.
That´s why so many great fans like to talk about the odds,
But remain content to follow the Indianapolis Colts without risking personal funds.NEXT: Nick Hardwick On Rivers: "He's The Toughest Human Being That I've Been Around"