Shockwaves were sent through the NFL world and sportsbooks alike last Saturday night, when Indianapolis Colts star quarterback Andrew Luck announced he was retiring. Luck, the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft back in 2012, is only 29 years old and just won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award after leading the Colts to the playoffs one year after missing the entire season due to injury. Last season, he threw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns with only 15 interceptions. But the physical and emotional toll of a number of injuries led him to decide that now was the best time to walk away from the game. While Luck’s surprising decision certainly will cause immense ripple effects throughout the NFL, it also sent shockwaves through the entire sports betting landscape as well.
When news broke Saturday night that Luck would be retiring, most sportsbooks around the world immediately removed all wager selections that involved the Colts and/or Luck. This included the Colts’ odds to win the Super Bowl, the AFC and the AFC South division, as well as the team’s Week 1 lines for its game against the San Diego Chargers. In addition, most sportsbooks that were offering futures bets on Luck winning the league MVP award and other props such as total yards thrown for the season were removed as well.
When big news in sports breaks, the initial reaction from most sportsbooks is to remove all wagers being offered so that they have time to absorb the news and analyze it. While that is being done, they don’t want savvy bettors to take advantage of the market by betting on another team to win the AFC South division, for example. In this realm, the sportsbooks are mitigating possible big losses by simply not offering betting lines on anything related to the Colts until the dust settles and everyone figures out the impact of the news.