What Were the Most Impactful NFL Offseason Moves?
The NFL season is still months away but it’s been a busy off-season with a number of key players changing teams. After many successful years in New England, Wes Welker will be catching passes from Peyton Manning in Denver. The Dolphins finally added a deep threat to their passing game with the addition of Mike Wallace. The Super Bowl champion Ravens made Joe Flacco the league’s highest paid player and added an elite pass rusher by signing Elvis Dumervil, but the heart of their defense is gone with Ray Lewis’ retirement and Ed Reed’s departure.
Those aren’t the only Pro Bowl defenders with new digs next season, as the Jets dealt Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Bucs for a first round pick. But which of these acquisitions has made the biggest impact on the futures market?
The table below compares the movement in Bovada’s future market from directly after the Super Bowl (February 11th) to the present.
|Team||2/11/13 Futures||Current Futures|
|San Francisco 49ers||+700||+600|
|New England Patriots||+750||+850|
|Green Bay Packers||+1000||+1200|
|New Orleans Saints||+1600||+1800|
|New York Giants||+2000||+2200|
|St. Louis Rams||+5000||+4000|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+5000||+5000|
|San Diego Chargers||+3500||+5000|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+6000||+5000|
|New York Jets||+4000||+10000|
New England Patriots
Even before this week’s shocking murder charges against TE Aaron Hernandez, it had been a rocky off-season for the hoodie and company. Wes Welker left for Denver, Rob Gronkowski underwent back surgery (the fifth surgery in his short career), Brandon Lloyd was released while Deion Branch and Danny Woodhead were given their walking papers.
This potentially leaves New England without their top five receivers from last season — although the addition of Danny Amendola should help to ease the burden. But does it even matter who’s on the receiving end when the passes are coming from Tom Brady? According to oddsmakers, apparently not.
New England was 15/2 to win the Super Bowl back in mid-February and those have slipped minimally to 17/2. Despite all the turmoil surrounding the team, the Patriots are still have the fourth best odds of taking home the Lombardi Trophy in 2014.
New York Jets
After a tumultuous 2012-13 season in which the Jets won just five games, it seemed like a given that NY would begin their rebuilding efforts. They quickly confirmed that suspicion by dealing away All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, cutting veterans like Bart Scott and Calvin Pace, and drafting a potential franchise quarterback in former West Virginia signal caller Geno Smith.
This franchise-changing youth movement has greatly altered the futures at Bovada with New York moving from +4,000 to +10,000 — the largest change of any team.
While the Jets have been the biggest loser according to futures, the Arizona Cardinals were not far behind. After being listed at 66/1 to win it all in the weeks following the Super Bowl, the Cards have fallen to 125/1 — the third worst odds in football. Deciphering why this huge change occurred is not easy to pinpoint.
After struggling to find a competent starter at QB last season, Arizona traded a 6th round pick to the Raiders for Carson Palmer. The Cards did lose a number of key defensive players including Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson, but with the addition of rookie Tyrann “Honey Badger” Matthieu to a secondary including former LSU teammate Patrick Peterson, the secondary seems like the least of Arizona’s concerns.
The biggest concern for the Cardinals would probably be the continued improvement of their NFC West rivals as the Seahawks were able to add an explosive playmaker in Percy Harvin while the 49ers landed another target for Colin Kaepernick in the form of Anquan Boldin.
While most teams saw their future price increasing, the ‘Hawks are one of few teams to see their price drop considerably. After Russell Wilson led the team to an improbable 11-5 record and a playoff berth, the team looks poised to take the next step towards greatness. The addition of former Vikings WR Percy Harvin gives Seattle the explosive receiver the team desperately craved while providing additional value in the run and return game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Seahawks made a number of solid under-the-radar moves to improve an already stout D. Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams not only make them younger up front, but also improve the pass rush dramatically — specifically with Avril coming off the edge and Bennett in the inside.
After opening with 12/1 odds to win the 2014 Super Bowl, the ‘Hawks now have the third-best odds at 8/1.
The Bears, who opened the NFL off-season with 20/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, have dropped all the way to 33/1 over the past four months. Although the loss of Brian Urlacher undoubtedly hurts, there are a number of other factors in play. Cornerback D.J Moore signed with the Panthers while receiver Johnny Knox abruptly retired, leaving the team with limited depth at both positions.
In an earlier blog post, we analyzed the NFL season win totals for all 32 teams, and it’s interesting to see how those rankings compare to the current future prices at Bovada. While our analysis concluded that the Raiders were the worst team in football, the future prices would indicate that the Jaguars hold that dubious honor.
But who do you like to win the Super Bowl this season? Which teams are being undervalued by oddsmakers? Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below, and remember to check in with our NFL betting trends for all of the latest public betting data.
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