Andrew Luck Sucks: Colts Headed Towards Disappointing Season
by Robert Ferringo - 7/16/2013
(Note: This article appears in this year’s Doc’s Sports Journal. You can purchase a copy of Doc’s Journal HERE or you can receive a complimentary copy by signing up for a full season football package HERE.)
I am already spending the money I will make this fall betting against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
I’m a professional handicapper and a gambler. My tolerance for hype and media-driven propaganda is low. I trade in information. I need facts. I need data. And I use this knowledge to make projections and predictions that keep me ahead of the general betting public, whose wagering is inexorably influenced by inane, ESPN drivel about “who is the best quarterback in the NFL” or “whether The Next Big Thing is actually The Best Thing EVER”!
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I firmly believe Andrew Luck to be the most overrated player in the NFL. As such, the Indianapolis Colts enter the 2013 season as one of the most overvalued teams in the NFL.
I know this belief runs counter to the prepackaged narrative that Luck is the Next Great Quarterback and the Colts are a team on the rise. Theywere one of the league’s biggest surprises and best stories of last season, rebounding from a 2-14 debacle in 2011 to 11-5 and a postseason berth in 2012. It was an epic turnaround and Luck received the lion’s share of the credit.
The problem is, he didn’t deserve it.
I watched every snap of Indianapolis’ season, and I can assure you the Colts won in spite of Luck as much as they won because of him. In time he could become a good NFL quarterback. But spreads and odds are set for the teams in the here and now, not several years from now. Potential is a dangerous, dirty business in gambling. And many bettors have found themselves broken, busted shells of human beings because they fell for the allure of Potential of Production.
Luck may have potential. But right now his production is no better than a mediocre NFL quarterback’s.
Luck was the No. 26-rated passer in the NFL last year with a 76.5 rating. That was behind noted losers like Blaine Gabbert (77.4) and Mike Vick (78.1) and well behind other suspect signal callers like Carson Palmer (85.3), Ryan Fitzpatrick (83.3) and Christian Ponder (81.2).
Luck also ranked No. 31 in completion percentage, behind Mark Sanchez, Jake Locker and Brandon Weeden. Luck connected on 50 percent or less of his passes in his final five regular season games and went just 28-for-54 (51.9 percent) in Indy’s playoff loss to Baltimore.
And Luck posted these numbers while playing 12 of 17 games against teams ranked in the bottom half of the league in pass defense.
Besides woeful accuracy, Luck also displayed suspect decision-making throughout 2012. He threw 18 interceptions and had nine fumbles during the regular season. That’s an average of nearly two turnovers per game, and those numbers are red flags considering how decisive turnover margin can be.
The retort from Luck fanatics: “He threw the ball 627 times! He is going to have a lot of interceptions!” But that’s the difference between paper handicapping and actual handicapping. His numbers don’t reflect just how poorly he played in games. And I can assure you that no one in the NFL had opponents drop as many interceptions as Luck in 2012. It was stunning to watch. Truly.
Several other factorscontributed to Indianapolis’ 2012 success. One of the best organizations in the NFL, they were already primed for a bounce-back year after Peyton Manning’s neck and the lockout sabotaged 2011.Bruce Arians deserved to be the NFL Coach of the Year, and the offensive mastermind was brilliant in how he handled his rookie signal caller. Mix in the emotional rally around Chuck Pagano, Reggie Wayne’s phenomenal year, and an absurd 7-0 record in games decided by four points or less, and there were a lot of other things at work for Indy.
And here is the dirty secret of Indy’s success: it came against one of the easiest schedules in the NFL.
Indianapolis faced just four playoff teams, and one of them, Houston, was resting its starters. Including the Wild Card game, and ignoring that Week 17 result, Luck and the Colts went just 2-4 straight up and against the spread against teams that finished above .500. They were 9-2 ATS against the rest of the league.
Things will not go as smoothly for Luck and the Colts this year. And they are definitely a team I am looking to bet against early and often for several reasons.
First, the Colts will play a much more difficult schedule. After opening with two home games, they play four of six on the road. That includes West Coast trips versus NFC Champion San Francisco and San Diego. And the two home games in that stretch are against Super Bowl contenders Seattle and Denver. The Colts also have another tricky four-road-games-in-six-weeks stint from Nov. 3 (at Houston) to Dec. 8 (at Cincinnati).
Not only do the Colts face better competition, but the timing of the games also works against them. The Colts have several nationally televised games on Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights. These high-profile affairs not only zap a team emotionally but also force clubs to come back and play on short weeks.
Second, the Colts won’t be able to lean on the emotion that they generated from the Pagano situation. They simply won’t. Emotion does not carry over from year-to-year, and that extra bit of magic won’t be there when they need it.
Third, teams will have tape on Luck and the Colts. Defenses will adjust. That’s part of the reason his stats took a nosedive in the second half of last season. And now that coordinators have had a full offseason to probe his game for weakness – compounded by the fact that Arians is no longer with the team – Luck will be much more vulnerable.
Fourth, the Colts have several statistical indicators that point to a severe regression after winning 11 games in 2012. Indianapolis was actually outscored by 30 points last year and outgained by nearly 200 yards. They beat their Pythagorean Wins by an incredible 3.8 victories, an astronomical number that means they have an 82 percent chance of a worse record this season. Their record in close games, their performance against the sportsooks, and several other advanced metrics all suggest a steep drop-off at the window in 2013.
Finally, the Colts will be a team to bet against because they are now shackled with weight of expectations. Just as defenses adjust, so do oddsmakers. And the books adjust quickly to players and teams that receive as much media copulation as Luck and the Colts have.
We have seen this phenomenon with NFL teams plenty of times before. This year it is Luck and the Colts’ turn. Theywent 11-5 ATS last year, tying them for the most ATS wins in the NFL, and that won’t happen again. They are one of the most overrated commodities in the NFL market, and you can stay ahead of the curve by betting big on them to come back to reality.
Indy’s luck will run out. Just remember who said it first.
Robert Ferringo is a lead writer for Doc’s Sports and one of the best handicappers in the country. Robert has posted two of three winning football seasons and five of six profitable NFL seasons. His 2013 football packages are up and available and you can sign up today to put The Ferringo Method to work for you. In fact, Doc’s is so confident that you’ll love Robert’s service that we’re willing to give you $60 absolutely free to use towards the purchase of his plays. Click here for your free $60 credit.
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