Last night one of the biggest in-season National Football League trades in the league’s history went down when the Cleveland Browns sent last year’s number one pick Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for next year’s first round selection. This trade gives the Colts an immediate upgrade at running back while the Browns are essentially going ‘all-in’ for a franchise quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Many will look at this trade like the Browns have cashed in their 2013 season and perhaps they have but the Cleveland front office and coaching staff clearly believe that Brandon Weeden is not the guy going forward to play quarterback.
With two first-round picks in the ’14 draft, the Browns will more than likely have their choice of Tajh Boyd, Teddy Bridgewater and possibly Johnny Manziel if he comes out early as a third-year sophomore.
With this trade in mind, how does it affect your wagering on the National Football League?
That requires a little bit of breakdown and here it is. By adding Richardson to the backfield, the Colts now have a legitimate running threat behind quarterback Andrew Luck. Vic Ballard was recently lost for the season with a knee injury and while Ahmad Bradshaw is a worthy fill-in, his presence won’t keep defensive coordinators awake at night.
Enter Richardson who isn’t exactly a speed merchant, but rather, is a guy who can get and create yards and can move the sticks. If he is successful early in games at running the ball then that will set up Luck in play-action. To this point, Luck has not really been fortunate enough to have a running back who can compliment him as well Richardson can.
No longer will teams be able to just sit back and play pass defense against the second-year QB from Stanford. Defenses will be forced to respect the run threat from the Colts which will make passing lanes bigger.
If you’re betting the Colts over the next few weeks, keep an eye on a number of things. First, look at the over. With the addition of Richardson, the over comes into play a little more. Depending upon the opponent, pay attention to the spread. Leads for the Colts will mean heavier doses of Richardson late in ball games.
With Luck not having to throw it as often, that could mean less scoring opportunities.
What does the trade mean if you’re betting the Browns? Well, first of all, why are you betting the Browns? No, I’m kidding…. The Browns’ offense under Norv Turner was expected to be significantly better than in recent seasons and perhaps it still might. With Richardson gone from the backfield that will put a greater emphasis on throwing which we know Turner likes to do.
Don’t forget too that Cleveland announced today that 3rd stringer Brian Hoyer will start at QB on Sunday in place of injured Brandon Weeden. Why Jason Campbell didn’t get the nod is a question, but considering how poor he looked in relief of Weeden this past Sunday, there is probably your answer.
Cleveland’s offense was anemic with Richardson so we should expect it to be worse right? Not so fast my friend. There is no concern now about having to get the former number one pick the ball, so Turner can run the offense more wide-open and with more of a speed back rather than a power one.
Obviously, paying attention to the opponent of the Browns is extremely important each week but considering the Browns have already thrown in a towel of sorts on this season, what do they have to lose?
Bet wisely my friends.