Bets during Baseball Season 

Indiana Sports Betting Hurt by Carson Wentz Trade?

The Indianapolis Colts traded quarterback Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders Wednesday for a second-round and two third-round draft picks in compensation. 

Wentz appeared in all 17 games for the Colts last year, throwing for 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. His tenure ultimately ended on a sour note by failing to win one of the team’s final two games, either one of which would have granted them a playoff berth. This includes a week-18 debacle against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

Indiana sports betting relies heavily on the Colts to drive its  handle, so with the recent shakeup at quarterback, it is fair to say that the state’s betting numbers are going to be impacted to an extent.

Indiana Sports Betting 

Indiana sports betting finished 2021 with a $3.8 billion handle, a 116.4% increase from the $1.8 billion it accumulated in 2020. This is a trend that has been seen all throughout the United States as sports betting’s visibility continues to grow and states and institutions push for further legalization and cooperation.

The biggest betting draws in Indiana are the Colts, Indiana Pacers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Indiana Hoosiers, and Purdue Boilermakers. Although Indiana was the first state to ban daily fantasy sports at the collegiate level, it offers lines, including prop bets, on college sports.

The Hoosier State was the ninth to legalize sports gambling after a 2018 court decision reversed a rule that had restricted gambling to Nevada; it was also a pioneer in the Midwest betting industry and has helped drive interest and innovation in the area. BetMGM, BetWay, Bet Rivers, Caesars, FanDuel, PointsBet, and Unibet have all launched sportsbooks in Indiana and have helped drive constantly-improving betting numbers.

The Colts’ Impact on Indiana Bettors

It is no secret that fans will usually, sometimes even irrationally, bet on their teams, especially when they are good; by trading away Carson Wentz, the Colts have somewhat relegated themselves to mediocrity for at least the 2022 season, barring any massive new deal that lands a QB in Indy.

This is a fairly fruitless free-agent pool for quarterbacks, and the NFL draft does not contain any sure-fire prospects. Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, and Sam Howell seem to be the favorites at the top of the board but none are viewed as true franchise-changers.

The quarterback is the most important position in football and can sometimes single-handedly determine a team’s outcome in a game or season, so now that it looks like Indy will be undermatched at the position, there is a strong chance that more casual bettors back out of the gambling space until their team sorts out its QB room.

Indiana’s final four months of 2021 (which coincided with football season) produced its four largest monthly handles to date, totaling $1.74 billion, or an average of $435.8 million per month. The explosion of Indiana sports betting and new opportunities could help continue the trend, but it will be interesting to see how next year’s numbers compare if the Colts have a disappointing season

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