Did the Vikings Super Bowl Odds Improve After Acquiring Sam Bradford?

After losing starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the 2016 season due to a severe knee injury, many analysts expected that the Minnesota Vikings would look to acquire a veteran signal caller in free agency to provide depth at the position. Although Bridgewater had never been considered an upper echelon quarterback, he had quietly developed into one of the league’s most efficient passers. With veteran journeyman Shaun Hill expected to start, the Vikings moved from -3.5 to -1 at the Westgate Superbook while their win total dropped from 9.5 to 8.

On Saturday morning, the Vikings created head waves by acquiring former number one overall pick Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft along with a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018.

It wasn’t entirely surprising to see the Eagles trade away Bradford. After all, Bradford had reportedly requested a trade back in April after the team signed free agent Chase Daniel and acquired the number two overall pick in the NFL Draft, which they used to select South Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. However, the consensus was that the Vikings overpaid for Bradford in order to keep their playoff hopes alive this season.

Over his injury-plagued career, Bradford has completed 1,378 of 2,292 passes (60.1%) for 14,790 yards with a 78:52 touchdown to interception ratio. Those are reasonable stats, but Bradford’s teams have consistently failed to win and cover. In 63 career starts, Bradford has gone just 25-37-1 straight up (40.3%) and 31-32 ATS. Those numbers are far worse than the incumbent starter, Shaun Hill, who has gone 16-18 straight up (47.1%) and 22-12 ATS (64.7%). In fact, Bradford has never posted a winning record in his six-year career.

Despite these past struggles, oddsmakers believe that Bradford’s acquisition will greatly bolster Minnesota’s postseason prospects. It’s still unclear whether Bradford or Hill will be named the Week 1 starter, but the Vikings win total at the Westgate Superbook bounced back to 9.5 while their Week 1 line moved from -1 to -2.

The table below displays the Vikings futures at BetOnline before and after the Bradford trade.

Odds to Win Before Trade After Trade
Super Bowl +2800 +2000
NFC Championship +1600 +1000
NFC North +400 N/A

BetOnline hasn’t re-opened odds for the NFC North winner, but the other futures have all bounced back to the same odds available before Bridgewater’s injury. Based on my research from earlier this summer, that seems like an overreaction by the books.

After speaking with several prominent oddsmakers, I found that Teddy Bridgewater is considered a Tier 4 quarterback which means he’s worth 2-4 points to the spread depending on the opponent. Conversely, they viewed Sam Bradford as a Tier 6 quarterback (worth 0-1 points) with some arguing that there was no discernable drop-off to presumptive backup Chase Daniel. However, it was interesting to see that Daniel is not expected to be the opening game starter.

On Sunday afternoon, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson announced that rookie Carson Wentz will make the start Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. This decision was surprising since Wentz played just one preseason game before suffering a hairline rib fracture. It’s also interesting because there will likely be four quarterbacks making their NFL debut on Sunday with Wentz joining Trevor Siemian (DEN), Dak Prescott (DAL) and Jared Goff (LA).

With Wentz earning the opening day nod, the Eagles dropped from -6 to -4, while the total dropped from 43 to 41 across the sports betting marketplace. There was also a major shakeup to the Offensive Rookie of the Year odds.

The Eagles appear to be embracing a rebuilding effort, which is noteworthy since they traded their 2017 first-round pick to the Browns in order to acquire Wentz. It’s worth pointing out that the Eagles odds of finishing with the worst regular season record actually moved from 16/1 to 8/1 at 5Dimes, which ranks behind just San Francisco (+550) and Cleveland (+350).

It also bears mentioning that Philly’s win total at the Westgate Superbook remained unchanged at 6.5, however, the juice flipped from -150 on the over to -150 on the under.

The table below displays the Eagles futures at BetOnline before and after the trade.

Odds to Win Before Trade After Trade
Super Bowl +8000 +10000
NFC Championship +5000 +6600
NFC East +550 +650

Considering that the Eagles signed Chase Daniel to a three-year, $21 million contract over the summer, it’s fairly surprising that the career backup won’t be given the opportunity to start. There’s no doubt in my mind that Daniel is the better quarterback right now, but Wentz clearly the new face of the franchise and represents the future of the team.

We will continue to monitor these lines and trends, and it will be interesting to see whether Sam Bradford is named the Week 1 starter. For the latest odds, betting trends, injury updates and more, bettors can check out our free NFL odds page.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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