As legalized sports betting becomes more and more kosher around the United States, sportsbooks are getting more creative with their NFL betting options.
The “player’s next NFL team” market has really exploded over the last couple weeks. These markets allow you to place a wager on which team a given player will play his next snap for in the 2021 season.
FOX Bet has live markets for Sam Darnold, Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, Aaron Jones, Von Miller, Dak Prescott, Allen Robinson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Deshaun Watson, JJ Watt and Russell Wilson.
“The next team markets have been popular for the past few years,” FOX Bet content integration specialist Jacob Blangsted-Barnor told NESN. “Up until this season, however, we were only allowed to do free agents. Now that we are live in Colorado, we’re able to do all players there. We have much more freedom to post odds for interesting markets such as Carson Wentz or Deshaun Watson, players who are still under contract.
“It’s really a market driven by the news and the odds are driven by how much we hear in the media,” Blangsted-Barnor added. “The beautiful thing about this type of market for a customer is that there are no fancy models or stats that can help you. We know as much as the customer does, so it’s a case of reacting to news and trying to work out what are legit reports compared to smokescreens.”
It was fascinating to watch the betting odds shift for Wentz’s market. Last week, he was favored to play his next snap for the Chicago Bears at -150 odds. You had to risk $150 to win $100 and collect $250.
The Bears started to get cold feet earlier this week, so the Indianapolis Colts moved to the odds-on favorite to land Wentz at +110. By Wednesday morning, the Colts’ odds skyrocketed to -1200.
By Thursday morning, the trade was official.
“The big swing in the Wentz to the Colts market was driven by three things,” Blangsted-Barnor explained. “First, we saw some big bets coming in. When you see big bets on odds that are under +100 on a market like this, it’s generally an indicator that news has broken somewhere. Second, there were some decent reports that the Bears had pulled out of the running. Finally, we saw a number of other bookies shorten their odds, which gave us an indication that they were also potentially seeing big bets.”
Bookmakers are usually thinking three steps ahead. And while they’re constantly maneuvering their NFL betting odds, rumors like the Wentz ones affect multiple betting markets. Not only did FOX Bet move the meter on Wentz to the Colts, but they had to adjust their AFC and Super Bowl future odds on Indianapolis to get ahead of the curve.
“We knew the Colts had to add a quarterback, so there wasn’t this huge move once they got one,” Blangsted-Barnor said. “We weren’t pricing them as if Jacob Eason or Jacoby Brissett was going to start. We didn’t quite need to get ahead of the move as much as if Deshaun Watson goes to the Denver Broncos. Wentz is probably in that middle ground of quarterback they could’ve added anyway. Then the Eagles markets basically stayed the same. We had (Jalen) Hurts as QB1 ever since the report surfaced that Philadelphia planned to trade Wentz.”
J.J. Watt could be the next big player domino to fall. The Cleveland Browns are a -138 favorite to land Watt’s services. After the Browns, FOX Bet has the Green Bay Packers (+280), Pittsburgh Steelers (+333), Buffalo Bills (+500), Baltimore Ravens (+800), Tennessee Titans (+800) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1000).
The New England Patriots are 13-to-1 to be Watt’s next team.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is the biggest domino left to fall. Watson is actually favored to remain in Houston (+188) at this very moment, but these odds could change on a dime. The Denver Broncos are currently second at +225, followed by the Carolina Panthers (+375), Miami Dolphins (+450), New York Jets (+550) and San Francisco 49ers (+700). The Patriots check in at +1300.
The topic of where Watson will play in 2021 is the blooming onion of the NFL offseason.
“It’s the golden question!” Blangsted-Barnor cracked. “This is a tough one. We think there’s a possibility that Houston holds strong and simply refuses to trade him. The big question then is does he hold out or does he cave in and play? The Texans maintain that they will not be trading him, but it could be a smokescreen to get someone to overpay.
“We have the Texans as a +188 favorite, but that’s still a near 65 percent chance he winds up somewhere else. We saw money for Denver recently, which is why we moved them to +225. Carolina is in the mix too after reports that they were in for Matthew Stafford. They clearly want to upgrade from Teddy Bridgewater.”
These “next team” markets are super fluid. If you’re looking to get involved, you must do your best to balance player preference and team fit while also betting the right team at the right price. And don’t wait to see the newest rumor on the ticker of your television screen.
By that point, you’re already too late.